is the long-awaited new novel - a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan - from the award-winning, internationally best-selling author Haruki Murakami.
Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.
I find Murakami to be an intriguing author. He first came to my intention when I read the first volume of his trilogy, 1Q84, and this was very quickly followed with volume two and three. I had never read anything quite like it before and if you haven't read it then I highly recommend it.
I found this story equally fascinating. I love the way he uses language to create an aura around his characters. The language has a formality about it. The author clearly chooses his words very carefully and uses them to full effect. The novel has been translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel who seems to have done an excellent job.
Tsukuru is a reserved and detached figure stemming from the deliberate isolation inflicted upon him when his group of very close friends unexpectedly isolate him from the group. No explanation is given him and reading his story I could feel his pain and loneliness.
I am fast becoming a fan of this very skilled and intelligent author and I am very keen to sample more of his excellent writing. I highly recommend this book as it makes for an interesting and impressive read.
About the Author:
Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences.
Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened the coffeehouse 'Peter Cat' which was a jazz bar in the evening in Kokubunji, Tokyo with his wife.
Many of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: The Thieving Magpie (after Rossini's opera),Bird as Prophet (after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as The Prophet Bird), and The Bird-Catcher (a character in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute). Some of his novels take their titles from songs: Dance, Dance, Dance (after The Dells' song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune), Norwegian Wood(after The Beatles' song) and South of the Border, West of the Sun (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).