Murakami Haruki’s new book 1Q84, his 12th long novel, went on sale today (technically yesterday, Friday 29th). Shinchosha was completely secretive about the story before it was published and didn’t even give any hints on the novel’s official site, just that it was more or less connected to Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore which are all in my personal top 5 of the greatest Haruki books ever written. (A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance would be the remaining two titles on that list.)
Now Shinchosha offers a lot more information on the novel which is published in two hardcover volumes (1,890 yen each). The Japanese reading of the novel’s titel, ichi-kyuu-hachi-yon, probably makes it easier to guess that it stands for the year 1984. Whereas Orwell’s 1984, written in 1949, was science fiction in the sense that it presented a possible future, Murakami’s 1Q84 is supposedly a novel about the past as it could have been, depicting some sort of parallel world to the “real” 1984 as it might have happened but, as fiction, didn’t. (Not that 1984 wasn’t a year that hasn’t been extensively written about in the Murakami universe.)
There’s also a Japanese Wikipedia page for the book now, with a short plot summary and character introductions (which I’m trying hard not to read to avoid spoilers), and amazon.co.jp already has a few customer reviews up whereas last night there were none. (I hope no one was crazy enough to read the whole 1000+ pages in one day o_O) Currently there are 6 reviews for book one, 5 of which gave the book 5 stars. Argh, anticipation~ Can’t wait till my books get here!