I got the day off on Friday, so barring extreme personal injury, the 1Q84 liveblog will start at approximately 7 AM JST.
Murakami had a couple interesting things to say in an interview in the Spring volume of the Japanese magazine monkey business (translations are my own):
When I write a new novel, I say to myself, “This time, I’ll try doing this or this differently,” and establish several specific assignments for myself in terms of techniques, and for Norwegian Wood that [having scenes with three people talking] was one of the assignments. (33)
Afterdark clearly had some new techniques. It will be fun to see what he does this time. He drops a few hints about the “comprehensive novel” (borrowing Rubin’s translation of 総合小説), which he seems to imply is forthcoming and not the soon-to-be released (*fanboy squeal*) 1Q84:
So I’ve given that kind of novel the designation “comprehensive novel” as a kind of temporary name. People have all sorts of concepts for the designation comprehensive novel, so it’s easy to be mistaken, but what I think of as a “comprehensive novel” is basically one that’s long…and heavy. (laughs) And it’s a novel where all sorts of people, from remarkable people to normal people, appear one after the other, and many different perspectives are overlapped organically. Something like that. If you do that, then naturally, you won’t be able to write it in the first person. So when I mentioned earlier that if you look in at the big picture, my fiction has shifted from first-person to third-person, that’s what I was talking about. And in the end, that’s [towards a comprehensive novel] where I want to be heading.
Lots of different stories appear and intertwine into one, and there’s a certain type of sordidness, strangeness, seriousness, a chaos-like condition that can’t be compressed into one, all of that with a world view as a backdrop. When all those conflicting factors pile up into something like a melting pot, that’s the comprehensive novel I think of. And pretty soon I’ll be over 60, so I might not be able to get there as quickly as Dostoyevsky [who wrote The Brothers Karamazov at 59], but I think I’d like to gradually produce my own kind of comprehensive novel.
But it’s really hard work. And now, I’ve been writing a new full-length novel continuously for the last two years – I started writing it right on Christmas two years ago – so for that whole time, I was getting up every day at some time between 2 and 4 in the morning and writing for four or five hours. During that period, I did take time off for vacation, but I think it was only about 10 to 20 days. Sitting there in front of my desk everyday for four to five hours straight, that was pretty tough. (56-57)
Two more days to kill.