Murakami & Magical Realism

Discover the truth that is too strange to believe in three of Murakami's most bizarre novels.

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“Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Together we will learn about the nuances of magical realism and see how Murakami's writing beautifully illustrates this genre. Magical Realism is a genre of literature in which fantastical, magical, and other-worldly occurrences are treated as not just possible, but realistic. In many of Murakami's novels, readers experience these magical elements as they are seamlessly integrated into the narrative. With one eye always on the story, this course explores the fantastic, the unbelievable, the beautiful, the uncanny, and the absurd to watch how meaning is made as all of these elements unite to create one compelling story after another. In addition to learning about the nuances in the genre of magical realism, this adult literature course also considers the various narrative devices and classic literary elements found in each novel.

Details & Important Dates

The reading is about 100 pages a week.

This Course Includes:

  • Core lessons on Magical Realism
  • Literature tutorials
  • Translation and language tutorials
  • Live bi-weekly discussions
  • Supplemental reading and resources
  • Weekly class discussions

If you love and celebrate the power of story in literature, but you want to do dig deeper into the theories and philosophies influencing each work, then this course is for you. Each lecture is designed to explain the nuances of magical realism and amplify your reading experience of the novel.


Each unit lasts one week. On Monday of each week, new lectures are made available that pertain to either magical realism or the current reading. These lectures are recorded and can be watched at each participant's convenience. At the end of each unit, students are invited to participate in a live discussion with other students from all over the world. Lectures and live discussions are punctuated by written discussions for students to engage with the material and other course participants throughout the week.

Understanding Realism Week 1
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Week 2
Defining Magical Realism
Week 3
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Week 4
Break Week 5
Magical Realism & Ontology
Week 6
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Week 7
Magical Realism & Epistemology
Week 8
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Week 9
Magical Realism & Linguistics Week 10
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Week 11
Break Week 12
Magical Realism & the Uncanny Week 13
Kafka on the Shore Week 14
Murakami on Magical Realism Week 15
Kafka on the Shore Week 16

Your Instructor

Jessica S. Manuel
Jessica S. Manuel

Jessica S. Manuel earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Critical Theory and a minor in Theological Studies from The Master's University. She went on to earn her M.A. in English (Literature) from San Francisco State University where she studied 19th-20th Century Literature with a special studies emphasis in Critical Theory. After examining the intersections of psychoanalysis and contemporary literature, she wrote her thesis on Haruki Murakami's use of the unconscious in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. After finishing her degree, she continued her education at University of California, San Diego where she studied Teaching Adult Learners and literature.

She continues to teach various courses in the areas of writing, rhetoric, literature, and reading at the college level. Two years ago, she began building a reading community at Book Oblivion that now offers a dynamic blog, engaging book club, and specialty courses that you cannot find anywhere else on the web.

When she is not teaching or reading, she enjoys the outdoors, running or playing softball, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course begins September 4, 2017 and lasts 16 weeks, including 2 week-long breaks in between novels.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Who is this course for?
This adult literature course is designed for the literature enthusiast who wants to learn more about the genre of magical realism. No prior knowledge of either magical realism or Haruki Murakami is expected. Some participants have read all of Murakami's works while others crack open their first Murakami novel with us. Participants will leave with a firmer grasp of this genre's imprint on the literary field while also considering some of the more unique narrative devices that Murakami employs in these three books. While those objectives sound a bit technical, I assure you we will enjoy every ounce of these stories and gain a great deal of insight through our weekly discussion boards and biweekly live chats. We have students enroll from all over the world. The community aspect of this course is a precious gift. Some participants love Murakami while others just want to learn more. The Reading Beyond Murakami course series as a whole is designed for adults who want to continue to learn from the convenience of their own homes. Most course participants are working professionals with graduate degrees who love to read, are innately curious about the evolution of ideas, and have a deep appreciation of literature.


The stand alone course for Murakami & Magical Realism is open for enrollment for a short time. Be sure to check out our Reading Beyond Murakami Lifetime Membership to get immediate access to all past courses and automatic enrollment in all new courses at 2017's introductory rate. There is an affordable payment plan option as well.

Register Today!