Monday, July 9, 2018

Polish Cover for Volume One of Killing Commendatore Released

The cover of the Polish translation of Killing Commendatore was just released. It features paint brushes, as the main character is a painter. The literal translation of the title is "The Death of Commendatore" because I couldn't come up with a graceful way to render "koroshi" (killing) in Polish. "Zabicie" (killing) sounded awkward, so that left me with "morderstwo" (murder), which seemed too morbid, or  "zabójstwo" (manslaughter), which sounded like discussing a criminal case. So I decided to go with "death," feeling unhappy about betraying the author,  but unable to help it. 

The book will be published by Muza in October. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Murakami Cover by Chip Kidd Released

Knopf has released the cover for the American edition of Killing Commendatore. The designer is Chip Kidd, who has designed other Murakami hard covers.
Here is the link to an article by Lila Shapiro about the cover on  She writes: "[W]hen readers walk into a bookstore and see a freshly printed hardcover copy of one of his U.S. editions, they often find themselves inexplicably drawn in by the gravitational force of an obscure astronomical entity." According to Shapiro, this is "mostly because of Murakami's writing" but also "because of the art of Chip Kidd." The article also quotes Kidd as saying that, "I'm translating what I think he's trying to get across. ... In that sense, it's very presumptuous on my part."

The article describes how this final cover design is in fact a second design. Without having read the book (as the English translation was not yet available), Kidd had first designed a different cover (pictured below).  However, Murakami asked him to rethink the design once the English version was made available to him. This was apparently the first time in their 25-year-long working relationship that he redesigned a cover at Murakami's request.

Below on the left is the image of the first draft, which seems much more disturbing than the final draft, perhaps because it refers more literally to the "killing" in the title. Kidd himself apparently realized that it was "too lurid." So he came up with a new design for the jacket, which apparently features a hole in the middle. Under the jacket the blue of the cover "gives way to dark night." Below on the right you can see the image under the jacket.  For more details on the potential meaning of the design and the designer, you can read the article here.

The novel will be out in English translation by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen on October 9th and can already be preordered on Amazon.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Turkish Translation of Hear the Wind Sing Is Out

The Turkish translation of Murakami's first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, originally scheduled to appear in December, came out in May. The publisher is Doğan Kitap and the translator Ali Volkan Erdemir, who is currently working on the Turkish translation of Killing Commendatore. Google Translate tells me that the title means "listen to the song of the wind." 

Here is a link to a very interesting interview with the translator (you can Google Translate), who kindly mentions this blog:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Serbian Translation of Killing Commendatore Came out on April 19

The Serbian translation of Volume I of Killing Commendatore appeared on April 19 from Geopoetika. The translator is Nataša Tomić. Nataša tells me that no specific date has been set for the release of Volume II yet.
Here is a link to the publisher's page and a brief description:


Also, the image of the British cover has been released on No sign of the American cover yet. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Fruit Dropped to the Ground by a Squirrel": Myanmar Translator of Killing Commendatore on Translating Through English

The Myanmar translation of Killing Commendatore came out in January. The translator's name is Ye Mya Lwin. Here is the picture of the cover and of the translator holding the book (Zon Pann/The Myanmar Times)

An article in Myanmar Times published on March 23 tells the story of the translator and of the publication of Japanese literature in Japan. Apparently, the following Murakami books are available in Burmese: Sputnik Sweetheart, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, What I talk about, when I talk about running, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, Pinball, 1973 and South of the Border, West of the Sun.

Ye Mya Lwin has translated over 70 books from Japanese, including Soseki's Botchan, books by Kawabata, and Burmese Harp by Michio Tateyama, which apparently became widely known in Myanmar. The article explains that Ye Mya Lwin couldn't find a published for Botchan, so he financed the publication himself in 1995 by selling his wife's gold chain!

He is quoted in the article as saying: 
“Books written by Asian writers can’t be perfectly translated by translators from the West because Asian culture totally differs from that of west. ... Direct translation [from Japanese to Burmese] is like eating a fresh fruit on a tree while translating a book already translated in English is like eating a fruit dropped to the ground by a squirrel.” 
On this last point, I could not agree more with Mr Ye!

You can read the whole article here.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

English Translation of Killing Commendatore in October? Volume One in Danish already in May!

The date for the publication of the English translation of Killing Commendatore keeps changing. I posted in January that it was to appear in September 2018. Later it changed on Amazon to November. Now both,, as well as the Random House page announced a new date for the publication of the English translation of Killing Commendatore: October 9. The book can already be preordered. Looking at these temporary covers, I can't help wondering why the title is not "Killing the Commendatore."

And here are the beautiful cover designs for the two volumes of the Danish translation by Mette Holm. Volume I is to appear from KLIM on May 24, and Volume II on October 18 of this year.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chinese Translation of Killing Commendatore Took Only 85 Days, Says Lin Shaohua, the Translator

The mainland Chinese translation of Killing Commendatore will be released on March 10 from Shanghai Translation Publishing. It is already possible to preorder the book -- and those who do will receive a free copy of a new edition of Norwegian Wood that was published in 2017 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the book's publication.

The initial print run is to be 700, 000 copies. Below is an image of the book, which, like the original Japanese version, will be published in two volumes. One wonders why the English title was put on the cover.

What makes the story of this translation amazing is the speed with which the translator, Lin Shaohua, completed the work. Lin has been translating Murakami for many years. Among his credits are Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973, Dance, Dance, Dance, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, All God's Children Can Dance, The End of the World and Hard-Boiled Wonderland, South of the Border, West of the Sun, A Wild Sheep Chase, After Dark, along with many essays, travelogues, etc. 

In an article found in the online journal Pengpai, Lin describes how he worked on the book. Apparently he took himself out to the countryside and, working every day armed only with a stack of paper and a ballpoint pen, managed to finish translating the 1050-page book in 85 days!  While I can see how this could be done -- Lin's pace works out to about 12.5 pages per day -- in my case, life often seems to get in the way of translating and I am only in the middle of Volume Two myself.  This is a case of true dedication. Lin said that, after he was done, his brain was fine but his hand hurt (and this is another amazing part -- a translator writing in longhand!), and the editor offered to send him some Chinese medicine. The article can be found here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

German Translation of Killing Commendatore out Today!

The German translation of the first volume of Killing Commendatore, Murakami's latest novel, came out today from Dumont. It is titled Die Ermordung des Commendatore and was translated by the excellent Ursula Gräfe. Lucky German readers!

The cover is beautiful; readers who are Facebook users can see what is hidden under the dust jacket here:


Sunday, January 7, 2018

English Translation of Killing Commendatore to Come Out on September 18th

Mette Holm, the Danish translator of Murakami, who always manages to stay on top of the all the Murakami news, let me know yesterday that the publication date of the English translation of Killing Commendatore was announced on The novel will be translated by Ted Goossen and Philip Gabriel and will be published in the UK by Harvill Secker. Presumably the American version by Knopf will appear on the same day. The book can already be preordered, but no cover image is available yet.

Here is a the screenshot from The book's appearance in September was also announced on Financial Times Book Preview 2018.

While the website does not specify this, one is led to assume that, as in the past, the original multi-volume work will appear in one volume in English.