Friday, April 12, 2013

Murakami's agent informs that Bungei shunju published the Japanese edition yesterday to enormous media coverage. Due to overwhelming pre-orders they have already reprinted four times and are about to go into their fifth reprint today for a total print run of 600,000 copies, making this new novel from Haruki Murakami his biggest one to date.

The publisher has circulated the following press release:

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
(Forthcoming from Bungei Shunju Publishing, April, 2013. 369 pgs in original; estimated length in English translation, approx. 230 pages.)

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage marks a new direction in Murakami’s fiction: a return to the lyrical realism not seen since his 1987 novel Norwegian Wood, but set against the social realities of contemporary Japan.

Narrated in the third person, the novel centers on a devastating emotional betrayal and its consequences.  Tsukuru Tazaki belongs to a tight-knit group of five friends in high school—three boys and two girls who form a perfect circle they imagine will stay together forever.  But when Tsukuru returns home from college in Tokyo, he finds himself inexplicably rebuffed by the group.  Something has changed, but nobody, not even his closest friends, will tell him what.

Years later, Tsukuru, now a successful engineer, begins dating an older woman named Sara and confesses to her the shadow this betrayal has cast over his life.  Sara urges Tsukuru to tryto find his old group and to try to solve the mystery that has haunted him all these years: why did they suddenly turn on him?

On a quest to discover the truth, Tsukuru travels back to meet his old friends—with the exception of Shiro, the group’s most volatile and psychologically unstable member, who he learns was strangled to death in an unsolved murder six years ago.  As the dark truth about Shiro reveals itself, Tsukuru must confront the simmering emotional undercurrents that the group had suppressed in order to reach their ideal of perfect friendship.

Can love overcome isolation?  Is it possible to truly reach another person?  Can buried emotions ever really stay buried?  And will confronting the past allow Tsukuru to finally open himself up to the future?

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