He really came out of no where in 2006 to contend, at least in the bookmakers, for the Nobel. There was a strong push for him that spring, although push might be too strong, as someone has to be pushing. Supposedly the symposium I mention was to help increase his chances, but I think the other prizes he won were more important. That and the fact that he’s translated into a ridiculous number of languages.
I’m taking a Murakami vacation until his next book comes out. That vacation starts now.