Murakami’s Latest

For someone who regularly checks online for news of the latest Murakami book, I sure feel out of the loop on this one. Apparently The Rumpus posted an article about 1Q84 back in May of 2009. I suppose the reason it’s not gotten much hype over here, is because 1Q84 has only been released in Japanese thus far <sigh>. Apparently it’s being released in three parts – how utterly delectable!

Back in October, Conversational Reading posted that the English publication will start next September. Man that’s far.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Murakami’s work, you really should check it out. I’ve always found it difficult to describe his writing style because it’s so unique. That said, you will find some consistency in his work – he can’t write a book without having a mysterious female character, or the mention of food, jazz, cats or dogs! Simply sublime. If I’ve peaked your curiosity, I would suggest by starting with a book of his books short stories, such as The Elephant Vanishes or After the Quake. If you love those, go forth to your first novel! If I must choose only a few books, I would recommend:

Kafka on the Shore

South of the Border, West of the Sun

Norwegian Wood

But if you’ve got the time and inclination, read all of them!

I’d love to hear what you think.

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2 thoughts on “Murakami’s Latest

  1. As the wonderful person who told you about the book, I feel amply qualified to comment!! Now, I know you wouldn’t place the Wind Up Bird Chronicles at the top of your list, but surely it deserves a mention? It is Murakami’s great epic, and like 1Q84, was released as a series of books when first published in Japan.

    I do wonder, given the books you have chosen to highlight, if you are a fan of his work that is less fantastical in theme? The books you mention have an existential narrative and are certainly more ‘ordinary’, in that they broadly depart from his love of the meta-physical that is so present in the Chronicles and books like ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’. Incidentally, this is my favourite with ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ not far off.

    What little I have read about the plot of 1Q84 (I am trying to avoid knowing too much!), I think we are in store for a feast of surrealism.

    You are so right, a year is a tragically long time to wait indeed (about 6 weeks ago I thought it was this September – imagine my disappointment!)

    • I expected you to comment on this post! I hope you don’t limit your blog reading to my posts about Murakami :-p

      I think Wind-Up is his most well-known work, and I think it was the first book I read… but I”m not sure it’s as accessible as some of his other work. The titles that I mentioned were more about what I thought new readers should read first – an introduction to Murakami. When I recommend him (and I do because he’s my favorite ‘alive’ author), I always suggest that the reader start out with his short stories to see how they feel about his writing style. If they enjoy these, then I’m fairly confident that they will enjoy his novels. But, if they hate the short stories then I almost feel like there is no point to reading his novels. I would recommend Wind-Up, I just wouldn’t recommend it as a first read. I feel like Wind-Up might discourage some readers from the rest of his work.

      I actually loved Hard-Boiled but can’t say the same for Wild Sheep Chase. Perhaps you are more fantastical and I am more existential, I mean, look at my favorite book… Kafka on the Shore! I’ve read Wind-Up twice, and I think I enjoyed it more the second time, so perhaps a third reading is in store for me? I dream of the day when I can get a dog (as opposed to a cat) so I can name him Noboru Watanabe… 😀

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