- Martha Hutzel
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami: "Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria." (Book Summary)
If you like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, then you may like these selections:
Bharati Mukherjee's entire collection:
Wife, Desirable Daughters, Leave It to Me, and The Holder of the World.
All are excellent reads, dealing with Indian immigrants to the US, what they must go through to assimilate, or not, as the case may be, cultural differences and mysteries. Desirable Daughters is her best as far as place, character development and narrative.
The Tales of the Otori trilogy:
The first is Across the Nightingale Floor, then Grass for His Pillow and the final is Brilliance of the Moon. They are set in feudal Japan (or possibly a similar, fictitious country) during the time of the Samurai, when warlords ruled the countryside and battles for territory and women raged. The library owns the first two on audio as well as in print and they were fascinating to listen to, partly because the right reader was chosen.
Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha is another title you may enjoy. He has done such a fabulous job that the story unfolds as if you are inside the personal diary of a famous and beautiful geisha from Japan, just before modernization. However, it is fiction, based on his interviews with a real (retired) geisha.
Sujata Massey has written an award-winning mystery series that starts with The Bride's Kimono. I have not read this series, but I want to! The reviews are very good, describing the titles as romantic suspense, full of multicultural details and attitudes of East versus West, sly, sexy, and sophisticated.
Kazuo Ishiguro's books, The Remains of the Day and When we Were Orphans are both evocative of multicultural attitudes, places and events. Both are really good books, clearly written and full of rich detail.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is a bit of a tome, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Set in India in the latter part of the 20th century it portrays the constant struggle for survival in contemporary India. Full of fascinating characters and events.
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy is similar to the above, but not as long or involved. Fewer characters, but still fascinating a story of life in India.
The Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri is the best collection of short stories I have read in a long time. Also, her novel, The Namesake received well-deserved, excellent reviews. It deals with cross-cultural differences between Indian and American families.