号外 – Q-Teen Eighty Four Early Release

What’s that book he’s got there…

earlyrelease1

Hmm…

earlyrelease2

Ohh…

earlyrelease3

Yes, the street date has been broken for 1Q84. (Do we call it “one kew eight four” or “q-teen eighty four” in English?) I saw a tweet about a possible early release and decided to drop by the closest bookstore after work. Sure enough, there were copies of Book 1 sitting next to the other new hardbacks. They didn’t have Book 2, which is probably fine since I won’t be needing it for another month or so.

Immediate first impressions:

– It was expensive. 1800 yen, or just about $18. Do hardcovers in the US cost $36?

– It’s massive. 554 pages to be exact. I believe Book 2 puts the combined length at over 1000 pages.

– It probably features chapters with alternating stories. I’ve really only read through the index, but this is made clear by some kanji after the chapter numbers. Can’t confirm this because I haven’t read anything yet. Also haven’t looked up the kanji.

– The chapter titles are Pynchon/Fariña-esque. Also similar to Wind-up Bird. They’re more phrase-like than noun-like. At one point they also refer to “readers” (読者), although this could very well be readers within the book and not me and you.

– It takes place between April and June. The months (4月ー6月) are on the cover. I believe Book 2 has a different set of months.

– It looks more dense than his past books. Big blocky paragraphs. Not so much dialogue and short phrasing as in old works.

– It smells like a book.

I read the first sentence already. It’s going to be hard for me to stop myself from reading the rest until Friday, but that’s what I’ll do. After I wake up and have breakfast, I’ll dive right in. See you Friday morning.

25 thoughts on “号外 – Q-Teen Eighty Four Early Release

  1. I’m with Thomas on this one, and I can back up the cost of hardcovers (long-time publishing industry “insider”). $18 is a great price for a ~500 page hardcover book, barring Harry Potter (which had some ridiculous sales projections so they could drop the price and still make a huge profit off the print run). Murakami probably commands a gigantic sales volume as well, which is why they can charge so little for a first-run book. I’m just looking through some of the books I sell every day and I see prices between $24.95 and $40 for single hardcovers under 500 pages.

    In other news, if you provide a link to Amazon for the Tsutsui book I would click and buy and make you some money…

  2. Yeah, I guess it’s a decent price. The only depressing thing is that in two weeks it’ll be available for half that at BookOFF. Japanese books, even first editions, retain very little value. Of Murakami’s Japanese versions, I think only his first novel has any value at all.

    Interesting note about Harry Potter. Economy of scale for the win.

  3. I’m a former Murakami fan, but still mildly interested in this latest offering.
    1,800 yen for half a book is definitely a ripoff, hardcover or no.
    I know nothing about this book, but let me venture a guess or two about it.
    Book 1:
    – some dude with no job or in a state of employment limbo encounters weird/attractive person, gets some odd assignment
    – nothing happens for several chapters
    – dude makes some pasta
    – nothing happens
    – dude listens to jazz and/or classical music
    – nothing happens
    – dude gets a phone call
    – based on the aforementioned encounter, dude begins some bizarre adventure in which he contemplates time, history, and evildoers. Waxes nostalgic, too.

    Book 2:
    – random nonsensical phenomena manifest themselves and have nothing to do with the adventure
    – dude goes on a journey to a remote part of Japan, like Hokkaido or Tohoku
    – dude has some secretly meaningful encounter
    – dude returns to his everyday life, but nothing’s the same
    – dude feels keen sense of loss for some reason
    – the end

  4. Tim,

    Why so jaded? Are you saying that reading HM’s latest will be a complete bore and full of tedium?

    Granted, After Dark wasn’t so special. I’ve read all of his translated books (except Underground, which is boring) and never found any of his fiction to be like ‘work’ to get through. Usually I get transported to a pleasant “setting” while reading.

  5. Pingback: Japanese flock to bookstores to purchase Haruki Murakami’s new novel | Japan Probe

  6. I want to read this — I’ll pay the 1,800 yen!

    When I first saw the title, I thought it would be pronounced Eye-Cue-Eighty-four, but that was just my failing eyesight…

  7. Pingback: 1Q84: Haruki Murakami writes a really long novel - The Afterword

  8. Murakami Haruki: Most overrated novelist in any language. I used to think it was just bad English-language translations, but I’ve finally realized that he has nothing to say. \Underground\ was his best book, probably because it comprised interviews he conducted with those involved with the attack at the Kasumigaseki station and therefore there was no room for him to name check pop tunes, pop brands, pop celebs. Let me make a suggestion to his handlers and marketing geniuses who have guided this odd career as consciously as any \idol\ or genetically modified crop: Sell his books exclusively at \combini\ like 7-Eleven, Lawson’s, Hot Spar, and the like. As a courtesy, the clerks can ask if you want it heated up in the microwave before you consume it like a postmodern o-bento. His spoken English also is iffy considering he lived in the US for quite a while. Maybe he should have gone out into the streets and talked to living, breathing people. Really, if you want to know the location of the \otaku\ phenomenon any cultural GPS will give you the coordinates of one, Murakami Haruki.

  9. Well in Japanese wouldn’t it be read as “Ichi Q Hachi Kyuu”? Kind of a.. play on syllables or something?

  10. In Japanese it’s “ichi kyuu hachi yon.” The play on words is that Q = kyuu = 9. On the cover they have it written “ichi-kew-hachi-yon.”

  11. Sen-kyuuhyaku-hachijuu-yon

    It’s a pun on 1984. Probably an Orwellian story.

    wtf do you get “kew” from?

  12. Pingback: Gonzalo Barr :: No Announced Plans to Translate New Murakami Novel "1Q84"

  13. Dawn: 4 is sometimes pronounced “shi,” but that’s usually when counting or in compounds. The cover of the book has “yon.”

    Jarvik: It’s definitely “ichi kew hachi yon,” as written on the cover. “Kew” is a perfectly good way to pronounce “kyuu,” and my guess is that the publisher thought more foreigners would be able to read it? I guess that’s also why they put Murakami’s name in English as well as “a novel.”

    I was just wondering how it will be read by most people in English. This book might need a completely different title in English, although I bet readers would be unhappy about that.

  14. I haven’t seen anyone suggest this, but I think “Nineteen Q-ty Four” gets the sound closest, and I can imagine some nice cover art with a doubled or shadowy “Q” looking like an “8”:
    1 9 Q 4
    Q

  15. Ha, nice Q placement.

    That’s pretty catchy. It will be really interesting to see what title the translator goes with. There is precedent for reworking titles…A Wild Sheep Chase is a pretty nice take on the Japanese title which really means “An Adventure Surrounding Sheep.”

    I guess you could also go for something like 19 Shady-4. “I won’t call this world 1984, I’ll call it 19 Shady-4.”

  16. Pingback: Justin Leach » Japanese flock to bookstores to purchase Haruki Murakami’s new novel

  17. Agreed with Jahan Noboru. Murakami Haruki is an over-rated monkey. Far more talented japanese writers lived before and will live after. He is like Bieber in music. A lucky asshole.

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