1. Franz Kafka
Kafka had to be on top of the list considering Murakami himself hat tipped him with Kafka On The Shore. Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is perhaps the first-ever foray into magical realism and to get an insight into where Murakami gets his surreal style, this needs to be read.
Suggested books: The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle
2. Milan Kundera
There is something autumnal about his style of writing which is obvious from the titles of his books as well. Full of paradoxes and wisdom, there is an earnestness and honesty to his narration which is quite akin to Murakami’s. His portrayal of women however might just put you off.
Suggested books: Life is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being
3. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Another obvious choice which had to be on the list, the odds are that you must’ve read at least one of Marquez’s titles. Tales of the highest literary quality that entwine love, loss and magic. If that does not sound like Murakami, I don’t know what does!
Suggested books: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in Times of Cholera, Memoirs of my Melancholy Whores, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Of Love and Other Demons
4. Orhan Pahmuk
Let’s leave the politics out because that’s what makes him polarizing among readers. His books explore various genres including realism and modernism, his plots are skilfully constructed and his writing has a certain charm to it, not unlike Murakami’s.
Suggested books: Snow, My Name Is Red, A Strangeness In My Mind. The Museum of Innocence
5. Alice Hoffman
What Hoffman shares with Murakami is a certain grace that exudes in her writing. Only a master craftsman can string together words that carry so much depth with such relative ease. If you are to read just one book of hers, make sure it is The Red Garden.
Suggested books: Practical Magic, The Red Garden, Turtle Moon
6. Jorge Luis Borges
Another South American on the list, his writing has inspired the likes of Marquez and Umberto Eco. The reason he is on this list is because his writing, like Murakami’s, discusses the relationship between themes like consciousness and reality as well as time and eternity. Both the books mentioned here are collections of short stories.
Suggested books: Ficciones, El Aleph
7. Salman Rushdie
He challenges the status quo and the laws of reality. Unlike Murakami, his style of writing is not at all simple and will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you do get around to finishing one of his books, you’ll understand why he deserves to be on this list.
Suggested books: The Golden House , Midnight’s Children, Satanic Verses
8. Elizabeth Kostova
Her debut novel, The Historian, is about the legend of Dracula but it would be wrong to label it under horror. The word you’re looking for is eerie which is why she makes the cut. Also because she blends fact and fantasy with expertise and deals with obscure signs and hidden texts.
Suggested books: The Historian, The Swan Thieves
So many books, so little time.