The third feverishly expected volume of author Haruki Murakami's hit "1Q84" is released on Friday. Books 1 and 2, released together in May last year, sold nearly 2.5 million copies in Japanese.
"Shinchosha Publishing Co. printed 200,000 copies of Book 1 and 180,000 of Book 2 when the novel first went on sale, not nearly enough to cover the flood of orders that greeted the books' release, and many bookshops went quickly out of stock. In anticipation of a similarly enthusiastic response, Book 3 will have an initial run of 500,000 copies. 25,000 pre-orders already logged with Internet bookseller Amazon as of April 8, even 500,000 looks to be too few, and Shinchosha has already made plans for another 200,000-copy run."
"In these tough times for publishing, bookshops, too, rush to stock the hot sellers," says Yoshiaki Kiyota, president of Shuppan News Co., a publishing news outlet. "Reader expectation is high, and it's turned into a hungry market. This is happy news for the publishing industry," he continued, adding "1Q84 Book 3" is certain to become a runaway best seller." (Mainichi shimbun quotes)
"The title is a play on the Japanese pronunciation of the year 1984, writes anonymous author on the wikipedia page about the Japan's insider writer. The letter Q and the Japanese number 9 (typically romanized as "kyū," but as "kew" on the book's Japanese cover, shown at right) are homophones, which are often used in Japanese wordplay. This is a reference to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Before the book's release, one theory about the title's meaning suggested that it could be a reference to The True Story of Ah Q, a novella by Lu Xun, whose works are said to have influenced Murakami. The plot of the book makes clear, however, that the title is an allusion to Orwell's classic novel. One of the characters uses 1Q84 as the name of the parallel world into which she believes she has stumbled, noting that the Q stands for "question mark." One review described 1Q84 as a "complex and surreal narrative" which "shifts back and forth between tales of two characters, a man and a woman, who are searching for each other." It tackles themes of murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties and love."
Why Murakami's best-selling '1Q84' is worth the wait, the Japan Times wrote July 2009
"In "1Q84," the borders of Murakami's world and our own become less clear: Strangeness starts to seem familiar and the familiar starts to seem strange. This uncanniness leaves a lot of puzzles open for interpretation, yet vivid detail and sharp wit tether readers to "1Q84" as it reorients us to the violent circularity of 20th-century history. Murakami's fiction has grown increasingly relevant to our understanding of the world today, and this time his craft is more refined than ever."
Sources: wire news, mainichi, japan times, reporter's notes,