Arts & Entertainment

Murakami’s long-awaited new novel hits shelves in Japan

Tokyo, Apr 13 (EFE).- Fans have flocked to bookstores across Japan to grab a copy of internationally best-selling author Haruki Murakami’s first novel in six years, The City and its Uncertain Walls, as it hit shelves on Thursday.

Hundreds clapped and cheered as they gathered to purchase the book at a shop in the central Tokyo neighborhood of Shinjuku that opened after midnight, while other bookstores brought stalls outside to facilitate sales.

“It is the first long book in six years. I am a fan of Murakami and personally anticipated it and I trust that many other fans would too. We expect a good sales day,” Kengo Tomoda of Maruzen bookstore tells Efe.

The over 600 page novel, coming after Murakami’s 2017 novel Killing Commendatore, is the author’s first book to have simultaneous print and digital publishing.

There was already a small group of people lining up to buy the book at Maruzen bookstore at the time of opening, Tomoda says, expressing his happiness since it is becoming “difficult” nowadays to sell novels amid the growing competition with e-books.

Back in 1980, Murakami published a story in a literary magazine with the same title as the new book but labeled it a failure because it was in a “half-baked state,” according to his interviews with local media.

The new novel complements the original story by dividing it into three parts.

The first, told from a first-person point of view, is about the protagonist’s arrival in a walled city to find his true self.

The protagonist then returns to the real world in the second part and becomes a library director in a small town in Fukushima in northeastern Japan, where he lives a mysterious experience.

“Haruki Murakami is very famous in the world. When I knew there was a new novel hitting bookstores, I came to buy it,” Yukihiro Honsei, a Spanish-Japanese resident of Chiba city, says after purchasing his copy.

Some 300,000 copies of the first edition will be printed, the Shinchosha publishing firm confirms, with a copy costing 2,970 yen ($22).

Born in Kyoto in western Japan, the 74-year-old celebrated author wrote his first novel Hear the Wind Sing in 1979 and is known for Norwegian Wood (1987), Kafka on the Shore (2002), 1Q84 (2010), and Men Without Women (2014).

Murakami’s works have been translated into more than 50 languages and earned several awards, including Noma, Tanizaki, Hans Christian Andersen, Franz Kafka and the Jerusalem Prize, throughout his career.EFE


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