Dear Rabbi, Is it permitted to read Haruki Murakami novels? He writes fantasy novels for adults which differ from most fantasy since it deals with not entering a magical world in the beginning and leaving at the end but rather with an Everyman having surreal experiences with parallel worlds, spirits, and human intermediaries between this world and a spiritual world throughout the books. The characters also usually have sex before marriage, have sex with married people, steal, murder, have abusive childhoods, abandon their family, and/or engage in homosexuality. It creeps me out and gives me bad dreams, but something about those books pulls me in and he’s a popular novelist. Is Murakami a bad man, and is it permitted to read his books as long as we consider it all fantasy? Why do you think he is popular?
Thank you for your question.
While I am not familiar with his books, nor with the author, from what you are describing, I would say to stick far away from those books. For a number of reasons, first of all, Jews, whether male or female, should not engage in reading books that contain romance which will arouse lustful thoughts. The parts of the books that have all sorts of romance and different types of sin, are not information that a Jew should be putting into his/her holy brain.
Secondly, these books can put all sorts of twisted ideas about spirituality, and beliefs that are not in line with our Jewish heritage and emuna. Once a person’s mind is infected with such thoughts it is hard to rid one’s mind of them, and a few minutes of weird and wild ideas can cause confusion for years. It is for these reasons that you should stick away from these books. there are many good Jewish novels, by many talented authors, that will keep you entertained thrilled and spellbound, that you do not have to look all the way until Japan for entertainment.
Thank you for your answer!
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