More exciting than Margaret Thatcher’s funeral or the threat of nuclear war with North Korea, Haruki Murakami’s latest novel was released today. The event brought all-night queues to bookshops in Japan and surprised the hell out of me because I had no idea there was a book in the offing.
The novel is called Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, but given that it was published today and that my Japanese reading skills encompass menus in restaurants but not much more sophisticated than that, I can’t say much about it.
I glean that the novel is about loss and isolation and seems closer to the early novels rather than the post-modernist monoliths of The Wind up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore or 1Q84.
So, classic Murakami but without the cat-murdering Johnny Walker types or showers of fish, by the sounds of it.
The way in which it was written is also pure Murakami, a writer known for his improvisational approach. A quote on the cover tells us: “One day I just felt like it, and I sat at my desk and started to write the first few lines of this story. 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.”
The publishers are not saying anything about an English-language release, though there is sure to be one, but the precedents are that it’s going to be a couple of years before Murakami’s many non-Japanese fans are going to get to read it.