And other reading pleasures

Sally Allen

Sally Allen
Connecticut, USA
December 31
Human Female
Why yes, I'd love some.
In my life, I have won an inheritance and lost it. I have travelled through time and to the other side of the world. I have solved murders, experienced storybook romances, and discovered alternate universes. Which is to say: In my life, I have read. Academic tomes and romance novels, murder mysteries and classic literary fiction. Newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and lots of product labels (but rarely user manuals). Along the way, I earned a PhD and drank a lot of coffee.

OCTOBER 24, 2011 12:40PM

Haruki Murakami's IQ84 Almost Here

Rate: 3 Flag

 Credit: Google Images

The English translation of Haruki Murakami’s IQ84 finally hits U.S. bookstores tomorrow. Originally published in three volumes between 2009 and 2010 in Murakami's native Japan, the novel sold out on its first day and reached one million sales within its first month of publication. Here in the U.S., it will be released in a single, 944-page volume.  

I first discovered Murakami--who is known for incorporating surreal elements and exploring loneliness, ennui, and loss--about five years ago when I picked up his Kafka on the Shore. The novel is massive in scale, depth, and size. It's hypnotic power absorbed me so thoroughly that I wanted to disappear into the book, possibly forever. I've since read as many of his books as I could find, but Karka on the Shore remains my favorite. Whether IQ84 will change that remains to be seen, but either way, I'm looking forward to the journey.

If you live in the New York area and are a Murakami fan, consider celebrating the event at (and supporting) Word, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn.

They’re hosting a Read-a-Thon and midnight release party at 10:30 p.m. tonight. Wine, donuts, and ‘a small number of super-limited-edition signed copies of 1Q84’ will be available. A raffle will determine the winners, who will receive their copies at midnight.

Participants are invited to read their favorite passage from any of Murakami books. Word asks that participants email their selection to in advance so as to avoid duplicate passages.

Also, attendees are required to pre-order and pre-pay for their copy of 1Q84, which they can do online.

For Murakami fans and those not yet acquainted with his work, here are some links to recent articles:

Alex Hoyt interviews Murakami translator Phillip Gabriel in “How Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84’ was translated into English” posted today at The Atlantic. Visual included.

A few weeks ago, Jason Boog suggested five tips for writers who want to know “How to Write Like Haruki Murakami.”

BBC News Magazine’s Stephanie Hegarty wrote a fantastically thorough piece on Murakami and his rise to international acclaim, “Haruki Murakami: How a Japanese writer conquered the world.” If you don’t know anything about him, this article provides a great introduction.

A favorable review by The Telegraph’s Anthony Cummins is available here: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

William Ambler wrote an unfavorable review for The Huffington Post: “1Q84: I’m not a fan.”


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you make me feel guilty for not having finished a book - reading or writing! in three months!
Uh oh! That is sooo not the intent! May I suggest that you instead wonder whether I have any other hobbies (I don't). Isn't that kind of sad?! ;)
Sally, Murakami is a compelling writer. He handles his themes of love and loneliness so well. I often wonder if he has been so deeply hurt by love that he now leads the life of a recluse. I am told that the translation of this new book is 1,600 pages.

- thank you for this, Sally. I look forward to your review of this latest book.
Thanks, as always, for your kind words, Cathering, and also for pointing out the length discrepancy. I should have specified that '944 pages' refers to Amazon's product description of the hardcover, English edition that's being released tomorrow. The question of the book's length has been a bit confusing, though, and I wonder if it's because the book came out in three volumes in Japan and two in England. One thing I'm pretty sure of: reviewing his novel, whether almost 1,000 or 1,600, will be a daunting task!
I like Murakami but am not a HUGE fan. But I always, always love when people get excited about a book coming out!
Seeing people get excited about books is definitely the best part, Alysa! The read-a-thon sound so fun!
I'm more excited about the release of IQ84 than I've ever been about any book (or movie, or other form of entertainment). I've loved Murakami for a long time. He's my favorite living writer, replacing Margaret Atwood after I couldn't get into her latest novel and she was less than personable at a reading/signing. I'm sure she was tired, but she refused to make eye contact with any of her fans and when they gushed to her or merely spoke to her politely, she ignored them. It was odd. I still think she's brilliant, but it colored my perception of her. I hope Murakami's not secretly a tool.
That made me laugh, Lisa--thank you! And I hope he's not a tool too. But I'm sorry you had such a disappointing experience with Atwood. That sucks!

I love Murakami too. With Kafka on the Shore, I felt like I was in an altered state of consciousness while reading the book. It was hard to transition back to the real world between reading sessions! All the buzz around IQ84 makes me so curious to see if that happens to me again. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book after you read it!
I'm in the middle of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World right now, because it's the only Murakami novel I hadn't yet read. I couldn't get into it before, but now I'm loving it. All his books transport you to another reality, and it's hard to shake it when you turn the last page. If you haven't read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, you must, immediately! It depressed the heck out of me, but I read it while I was on the couch for five weeks with a broken ankle so I was in a pit of despair anyway.
I loved The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, though it did depress me as well. I have not, however, read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, so I'll be adding that to my reading list! But I'll probably read IQ84 first. Do you have a favorite of his novels, from the ones you've read?
I don't know if I have a favorite, honestly. I love them all. I remember really loving Sputnik Sweetheart for some reason, but I'd have to reread it to remember what I loved. I'm horrible for forgetting books when I've finished them. I won't be starting 1Q84 for a while, but I have my copy! Have you read his running memoir? I loved it, because I love running, and the fact that he does ultramarathons and such just makes me love him more.
I did read his running book! I loved his voice and persona on the page, and it was neat 'getting to know him' through nonfiction. But for some reason, I couldn't totally get into it. I'm not a runner, but I'm not convinced that was the problem--he did have a larger idea that could apply beyond the specific. Maybe I'll try reading it again later to see if I have a different response. :)