Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I think it fair to say that 2011 has been a weak year for new fiction in the United States. However, the publishers at Knopf must be pleased: this literary famine has almost certainly heightened the anticipation for the English translation of Haruki Murakami's massive Japanese bestseller, 1Q84.

For those who want a teaser, the New Yorker has a rather lengthy excerpt, available here. (As I know I will be purchasing it, I am avoiding excerpts, plot summaries, and the like.)

I do find it a bit disconcerting to learn that the novel has two translators: Jay Rubin, for the first two parts, and Philip Gabriel, for the third. I suppose this was done in order to finish the 944-page translation in as timely a manner as possible. Happily, both are experienced as translators of Murakami. I can only hope that there will not be a noticeable break in style.

Otherwise, the question for me is whether to buy the hardcover (if so, pre-ordering may be wise) or the Kindle version. Certainly, it looks to be an attractive book, and one I would be happy to have lingering on my shelf. But, it is not going to be an easy book to carry on the subway.


  1. funny you bring this up... i've been watering in the mouth for this since amazon sent me a teaser letting me know it was coming out. i was just thinking about writing a post regarding the lack of strong fiction of late...

    books seldom reach the hype level of, say, music when it comes to new releases... but this is one i have had my eye on in very eager anticipation. can hardly wait!!

  2. Don't really keep up on new fiction anymore, but I've had this on my radar for a while now. Can't wait! I have group of authors whose books i'll buy in hardcover - there aren't many, but Murakami joined them with Kafka on the Shore. Intriguing title! I have no idea what it's about - like you, I avoid all hype and reviews of novels that i really want to read - but can't wait for this one. A-and it's going to be released right before my birthday!

    Speaking of Murakimi, have you read his What I talk about when I talk about running book? I particularly enjoyed the section where he went to Greece and ran the route of the original marathon (but, thankfully, didn't perish from the effort)

  3. Indeed! Reading this book is probably what motivated me to begin running and see if it was for me.

    Running in Greece is hard! As Murakami notes in the book, it is very hot in the morning, even before sunrise. However, it cools off blissfully in the evening. Somewhat the opposite of here.