Mieko Kawakami at the NYT:
For decades, Haruki Murakami defined contemporary Japanese literature for the Anglophone reader. In such bona fide masterpieces as “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” and “A Wild Sheep Chase,” the author created a surreal world of talking sheep and lost cats, jazz bars and manic pixie dream girls.
But in the decades since the publication of those novels, Murakami’s tropes haven’t always aged well. In particular, his depictions of women have seemed, at least to some of us, troublingly thin. As his oeuvre kept proliferating, it sometimes felt as if the Murakami machine were eating up what limited oxygen there was for Japanese fiction in translation.
Thankfully, of late, a number of female writers have stepped out from the Murakami shadow and into English translation.