10 Common Themes Of Murakami Novels - And What They Mean

6. Food And Cooking

Kafka On The Shore Thumb

Alongside the numerous passages about music and art, Murakami's novels will spend just as much time talking about food that characters are eating. Whether it's detailed descriptions about dinner preparations, making a sandwich, or enjoying a late night snack at an eating establishment, these sections provide some of the most intimate moments in his writing. In fact, food is so commonplace in his work that entire websites are dedicated to giving the recipes or what his characters eat.

Despite these sections having little to do with the plot (in Dance Dance Dance, the story of a man searching for a former lover, we're told in detail what they eat each day), they're not irrelevant filler either.

Within the surreal worlds his characters enter, their simple eating habits help to keep them grounded and relatable as they endure experiences readers can only imagine. Likewise, cooking is also a way in which the characters can find normality within their situations through meditation.

What these characters eat can also further characterise them, too. The mundane protagonists eat basic, healthy meals; the sleazy Ushikawa (1Q84) gorges himself with junk food, and the immaculate Menshiki (Killing Commendatore) cooks an omelette to perfection.


Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Master's degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.