On Haruki Murakami’s New Novel: Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage” Turned Extravaganza
“As they’re listening to a piano recording, Tsukuru realizes he’s heard it a number of times before. He doesn’t know the title. Nor who the composer is. It’s a quiet, mournful piece. A leisurely opening theme of strong single notes. Then a softer variation. He looks up from his book and asks Haida, ‘What’s this music?’” (p. 62)
“On something of an impulse one day, I sat down at my desk and wrote the first few lines of the story, not knowing what might develop, what kind of characters would appear, or how long it might become—basically not knowing anything about where the story would lead—and then I just kept on writing for the next six months. All I really understood at first was what the world looked like, from his limited perspective, to this one man named Tsukuru Tazaki. But it was fascinating to see that view change bit by bit from one day to the next, growing both deeper and broader, and in some senses it really touched my heart.”
Saku Masui (1967–) was born in Kobe and graduated from Kyoto University. In 1991 he joined The Nikkei, Japan’s leading economic daily, where he reported on business and stock market developments for a time before transferring to the cultural pages to take charge of book reviews and editorial duty for the serialized novels published in the paper. He left in 2004 to work for a publisher, and has since gone independent as a freelance writer and editor. He also teaches creative writing classes.