Bob Dylan may have won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, but the long-time favorite to take home the award, Japanese contemporary novelist Haruki Murakami, is getting all the attention on Twitter. If there is one tweet about Haruki Murakami that perfectly sums up in 140 characters how his fans are feeling about the committee's decision, it would be that of @PedestrianPoet. The morning of Oct. 13, @PedestrianPoet of Mumbai, India wrote, "Haruki Murakami will eventually become the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Literature Nobel." "Isn't he already?" one commenter responded to the tweet. Leave it to the Twitter-verse to find humor in breaking books news.
Murakami was considered the "default odds-on favorite" with a huge international reputation and a extremely well-respected cannon of literature. After being passed over so many times one might think the choice would be "obvious" — kind of like Leo being snubbed four times before finally taking home the Oscar. And the parallels continue. Both artists take risks in their work; DiCaprio with his history of daring roles and Murakami with his daring forays into magical realism. DiCaprio wasn't afraid to take on major personas from history such as J.Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes, as Murakami plays with major historical themes and philosophical issues throughout his over 25 years as a writer. And just like Leonardo DiCaprio won several Best Actor Golden Globes before his Oscar, Murakami has taken home a slew of international prizes and accolades as well (still gunning for that number one spot though!).
Like in the case of Joyce Carol Oates, Murakami's widespread acclaim is thought to have hurt his chances. The Nobel prize committee seems to like to choose unexpected or underrepresented candidates (though who really understands the Swedish Academy's thought process?). Is it possible that like Leo, Murakami has gotten just too big? He's too much of a movie star? Too expected?
Some fans seem to think so:
If Murakami is truly like Leo he will ultimately succeed, Twitter-user Le Panda Noir points out in his reply, "eventually winning it tho." So do not be disheartened Murakami fans! There's still hope for the esteemed best-selling author of after the quake and 1Q84. If he takes a page from Leo's playbook, all the novelist has to do to finally take home the prize is sleep in an animal carcass and fight a bear.
Better luck next year!