A Storyteller Among Us

Eve Zimmerman, Haruki Murakami, and Koichi Hagimoto, associate professor of Spanish, on stage in Alumnae Hall.

Photo by Lisa Abitbol

Photo by Lisa Abitbol

Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall auditorium was packed as acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami gave the annual Cornille Lecture on April 27. Murakami was the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities for the spring semester. His presence on campus generated great excitement: The first night tickets were available, 430 Wellesley students registered for his lecture. Murakami’s work has been translated into more than 50 languages and includes the novels Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. His latest novel, The City and Its Uncertain Walls, came out in Japan in April and is expected to be released in the United States next year. Murakami said the basis for its plot comes from a work he wrote 40 years ago. Writing this book, he said, “made me realize how heavy the weight of 40 years can be.” Murakami discussed our world today, one that is just coming out of a global pandemic and where the war between Ukraine and Russia still rages, giving his novel timely significance. With war and danger in our world, he asked, will the sterile, walled world of his novel seem more enticing, both to the reader and the protagonist? To find out, Murakami said, you’ll have to read the book.

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