Japanese post-modernist novelist Haruki Murakami, whose name tops a speculative shortlist for this year's Nobel Literature Prize seems to have a following in India.
British online website Ladbrokes has tipped the "Norwegian Wood" author Murakami, as a five-to-two favourite to win the Nobel in a list which also features Indian author Mahashweta Devi (100/1) as well as Indian orign authors Salman Rushdie (40/1) and Jhumpa Lahiri (100/1).
Even last year Marukami, Rushdie and Mahashweta Devi had been tipped to win the Prize eight million Swedish kronor (USD1.25 million), which ultimately went to Chinese author Mo Yan.
Professor Anita Khanna, Centre for Japanese Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) says, "The younger generation is very fond of Murakami's works. His books can also be located easily. For instance 'Kafka on the Shore' and 'Norwegian Wood' are books youth can connect with easily."
In his works, Murakami makes elaborate references to elements of the American pop culture like the Beatles, the jazz era, famous literary figure Jack Kerouac among others, which makes his work more accessible for a global reader.
Although his protagonists are greatly influenced by the West, they still remain outsiders, which say literary enthusiasts makes the 64-year-old Japanese author more accessible to the Indian reader.
The title of his 1987 novel "Norwegian Wood" is derived from a Beatles song, which remains a recurring theme in the book. Similarly, in "Sputnik Sweetheart"(1999), the character 'Sputnik' is mistaken for the 'Beatniks' of the 60s.
"Additionally, Murakami has also put up a realistic front with his collection of short stories "After the Quake" set in the backdrop on 1995 Kobe's earthquake. A recurring theme of premonition through cats in his books is very much a part of Japanese traditional work," says Professor Anita.
Arpitha Desai, a third year law student in Pune says she first stumbled upon Murakami in his 2002 novel "Kafka on the Shore", whose episodic plot underlines the ideas of Freudian oedipal complexes, longing, separation and raison d' etre.