Haruki Murakami's new novel becomes an instant bestseller in Japan(Read article summary)
"Murakami mania" has gripped Japan since the release of Haruki Murakami's new novel, 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage' at midnight on Friday. No English translation is yet planned.
After months of tight-lipped secrecy, â€śColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,â€ť a 370-page novel about loss and isolation, arrived to long lines, applause, and instant bestseller status in the island nation.
According to the UKâ€™s Guardian, â€śHundreds of Huraki Murakami devotees queu[ed] at midnight outside Tokyo bookshopsâ€¦. Newspapers and broadcasters rushed to post reviews of the book â€¦ [and] fans and journalists stayed up all night to get to grips with Murakamiâ€™s first major novel in three years.â€ť (The UKâ€™s Telegraph notes that one bookshop even temporarily renamed itself after Murakami to mark the novelâ€™s release.)Â
Different from the cult novelistâ€™s massive three-volume love story, â€ś1Q84,â€ť which made Murakami a global bestselling author and perennial Nobel Prize favorite, â€śColorlessâ€ť is a grimmer tale.
According to a review by Japanese paper Aashi Shimbun, the book tells â€śthe tale of a man who tries to overcome his sense of loss and isolation, which has accumulated in the dark part of his heart.â€ť In it, protagonist Tazaki reflects on his past. Rejected by his friends due to his familyâ€™s lack of status, Tazaki is lonely, emotionally scarred, and constantly reflects on death. When he meets a woman, he is inspired to explore his past and his feelings of rejection.
â€śTazaki feels as if he is an empty person who lacks color or personality â€“ living as a fugitive from his own life,â€ť writes Aashi Shimbun. That is emphasized by the fact that his four closest friends in school each had names that represented colors while Tazakiâ€™s name was â€ścolorless,â€ť lending the book its title.
Besides its stark departure from his previous book, the biggest surprise in â€śColorlessâ€ť is the way it came about.
â€śOne day I just felt like it, and I sat at my desk and started to write the first few lines of this story," Murakami said in quotations printed on the cover of the book. "Then for about half a year, I continued to write this story without knowing anything like what would happen, what type of people would appear and how long the story would be.â€ť
According to Reuters, the book is already a bestseller in Japan, with an initial release of 600,000 copies.Â
For now, Murakami fans in the US will have to wait â€“ or learn Japanese. Plans have not yet been released regarding English translations.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.