Friday, September 11, 2015

New Murakami Essay Collection Published Today


A collection of essays by Murakami Haruki titled Shokugyō to shite no shōsetsuka (A Novelist by Profession) hit the bookstores today under an arrangement aimed to combat the growing online sales figures by vendors like Amazon.co.jp and to bring customers back to large and small neighborhood bookstores.

Kinokuniya, the large bookstore chain, apparently has bought 90,000 copies of the 100,000-copy first print run of the collection.  They plan to sell about half the books in their bookstores and distribute the rest to other bookstores, leaving few to be sold online. Kinokuniya is taking a risk, since under the current agreement it will not be able to return unsold copies to the publisher. However, given that the author is Murakami Haruki, they are probably not too concerned about possible losses.

You can read more about this story on the Japan Times page (in English) here or on the Mainichi Shinbun page here, or watch a video (in Japanese) here or here.

Some essays in the collection have been previously published in Shibata Motoyuki's literary magazine, Monkey, but the book also includes "150 pages" of new material. Here is the table of contents copied from the page of the publisher, Switch.

目次

第一回 小説家は寛容な人種なのか
第二回 小説家になった頃
第三回 文学賞について
第四回 オリジナリティーについて
第五回 さて、何を書けばいいのか?
第六回 時間を味方につける──長編小説を書くこと
第七回 どこまでも個人的でフィジカルな営み
第八回 学校について
第九回 どんな人物を登場させようか?
第十回 誰のために書くのか?
第十一回 海外へ出て行く。新しいフロンティア
第十二回 物語があるところ・河合隼雄先生の思い出
あとがき

I have just looked through my issues of Monkey and found the first six essays, which would mean that the remaining six are new, unless I am mistaken.


On the publisher's page, we also we find the following promise:

いま、世界が渇望する稀有な作家──

村上春樹が考える、すべてのテーマが、ここにある。

自伝的なエピソードも豊かに、待望の長編エッセイが、

遂に発刊!

Which in free translation means:
"It contains all the topics that Haruki Murakami, the unique, universally loved writer, thinks about. This long-awaited essay collection, full of autobiographical episodes, has finally been published!"




As it is a book of essays, and not a novel, this collection will probably not cause a translation-rights-buying frenzy, but I am sure it will be published in many languages.

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