Fans queue at midnight for new novel by Japan's Murakami

TOKYO Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:10pm IST

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami speaks during a ceremony where he was awarded the ''XXIII Premi Internacional Catalunya'' prize in Barcelona, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Generalitat de Catalunya/Handout

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami speaks during a ceremony where he was awarded the ''XXIII Premi Internacional Catalunya'' prize in Barcelona, June 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Generalitat de Catalunya/Handout

TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 100 people lined up at midnight at a Tokyo bookstore, eager to get their hands on the latest Haruki Murakami novel that went on sale on Friday, the first in three years by the global bestselling author and Nobel prize favorite.

The publisher is printing 600,000 copies of "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" to assuage the appetite of fans kept in the dark about the book's subject and storyline.

Murakami, who regularly tops bookmakers' lists as a favorite for the Nobel Literature Prize, confessed that much of the book had been a surprise even to himself.

"One day I just felt like it, and I sat at my desk and started to write the first few lines of this story," he 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."

Unlike the massive, three-volume love story "1Q84" that preceded it, the new 370-page book is about loss and survival, centering on a lonely 36-year-old man named Tsukuru Tazaki who loves train stations.

Fans waiting at a bookstore in central Tokyo, who cheered at the stroke of midnight when stacks of the book were revealed, passed time by speculating about the novel and what Murakami might have been thinking as he wrote it.

"After '1Q84' came out, we went through a huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. I think Murakami must have been impacted by that event and wrote what he felt," said Daiki Oka, a 20-year-old college student.

"We are going to stay up to read the book together and discuss it," added his friend, Ayumi Ishihara, 19.

The book was already ranking as a top-seller on websites in Japan, including the Japanese Amazon.com. Publisher Bungeishunju decided on a reprint of 100,000 copies on Friday, just hours after the book went on sale, raising the total to 600,000 copies.

"1Q84" was a best-seller in Japan when it was published between 2009 and 2010 and was subsequently translated into at least 35 languages. A spokesman for Bungeishunju said he did not yet know specific translation plans for the new book.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota, editing by Elaine Lies)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Mourning and memories in Garcia Marquez's languid hometown.  Full Article 

Film Festival

Film Festival

Sun, yachts and stars beckon visitors to Cannes.  Full Article 

Royal Tour

Royal Tour

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit beach in Sydney.  Video 

On Trial

On Trial

Singer Chris Brown's assault trial delayed to next week.  Full Article 

Accused Of Rape

Accused Of Rape

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer accused of drugging, raping teen.  Full Article 

Legal Case

Legal Case

Rihanna settles multimillion-dollar lawsuit with ex-accountants.  Full Article 

Richest Rappers

Richest Rappers

The wealthiest rappers according to Forbes.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage