1Q84, will be published in English translation this October. The novel appeared in two volumes in April 2009 and May 2010 in Japan, but will be published as a single thousand-page volume in English.
And there was much rejoicing. It's been more than four years since his last English-translation novel After Dark came out. As the Guardian puts it, "Harry Potter-style late-night bookshop openings may be pushing it, but such is the passion of Murakami's loyal readers that publication will certainly be an event."
And I'm excited too. But here's what's strange. I've never read Murakami. He's the one writer I think for whom my fascination is most disproportionate to the amount of actual time I've spent reading him. I know several people who count The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle among their favorite novels of all time. And people I ask about Murakami, to a person, absolutely rave about Kafka On the Shore. And both of those novels have been on my shelf for years, sadly untouched.
Why haven't I read him? I don't know, I honestly don't. It's a riddle as enigmatic as some of Murakami's plots (apparently). Maybe it's something to do with the anticipation being sweeter than the actual anticipated. Maybe it has something to do with my hesitancy toward books in translation. Maybe it's just that I'm an idiot. The LA Times blog, in its announcement about 1Q84 says that Murakami has "an avid following of readers who crave smart and challenging literature." I like smart literature. I like to be challenged. So not having read Murakami seems like a rather glaring omission.
So, I need your help, Murakami fans, of which I know there are many. Make the case for HMur. Why should I stop what I'm doing right this second and go grab one of his novels? Which should I start with, as you have my word that I'll read at least one of his novels before 1Q84 is published?