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Well-known contemporary Japanese author and likely Nobel Prize candidate Haruki Murakami, will release a new book this April, according to his publisher. It will be his first book in three years since his mammoth 1Q84, which was originally released as a trilogy in Japan.
Details are scarce about the plot, but considering Murakami reuses the same themes in all his books, (to the point where the New York Times Book Review put together a “Haruki Murakami Bingo”) basic plot points can be pieced together. The main character will most likely be middle aged, enjoy drinking beer, feel alienated and lonely, and have an interest in old records. Cats will also make an appearance, as will teenage girls. Despite recycling similar themes and plots, Murakami has a large fanbase–1Q84 sold millions of copies worldwide.
It has been suggested that Murakami’s new work could be an expansion of the 1Q84 series. Murakami has said, “A fourth volume featuring an older ‘Tengo’ may come out…who knows.” Tengo starred as the male lead in the book. “What I can say now is there are stories before (volume 1) and after (volume 3).”
It is unclear if Murakami aims to write a new book or simply a few short stories, something he has done before. The title story in his collection Blind Woman, Sleeping Willow focuses on the protagonist of his novel, Norwegian Wood, several years after the events of that book.
It is highly likely that this upcoming book will be much shorter than 1Q84, given that the trilogy took him five years to pen.
Murakami’s varied influences may help explain his popularity with western readers compared to other Japanese authors. He spends his time reading writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, Philip K. Dick, and Truman Capote, and also translated their works into Japanese. Most recently, during the composition of this current work, he translated Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.
Although no translation has been commissioned yet, Murakami’s popularity makes it almost certain that one will appear eventually. However, fans who cannot read Japanese will probably have to wait two or three years to read it, the average time it takes translators to bring his works into English. In the meantime, bored readers can read through Murakami’s long list of other books: ten novels, three short story collections, two non-fiction works, and two out-of-print novellas (the first two stories he ever wrote). His most well-known works include Norwegian Wood, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Image Courtesy : Haruki Murakami