My protagonist is always missing something, and he’s searching for that missing thing. It’s like the Holy Grail, or Philip Marlowe.
You can’t have a detective unless something’s missing.
Right. When my protagonist misses something, he has to search for it. He’s like Odysseus. He experiences so many strange things in the course of his search …
In the course of trying to come home.
He has to survive those experiences, and in the end he finds what he was searching for. But he is not sure it’s the same thing. I think that’s the motif of my books. Where do those things come from? I don’t know. It fits me. It’s the driving power of my stories: missing and searching and finding. And disappointment, a kind of new awareness of the world.
Excerpt from an interview on “The Art of Fiction” at The Paris Review with Haruki Murakami