An excerpt from The Paris Review, No. 170
Interviewer: Did you think that book [Norwegian Wood] as an exercise in style, or did you have a specific story to tell that was best told realistically?
[Haruki] Murakami: I could have been a cult writer if I’d kept writing surrealistic novels. But I wanted to break into the mainstream, so I had to prove that I coulde write a realistic book. That’s why I wrote that book. It was a bestseller in Japan, and I expected that result.
Interview: So it was actually a strategic choice.
Murakami: That’s right. Norwegian Wood is very easy to read and easy to understand. Many people liked that book. They might then be interested in my other work; so it helps a lot.