Best-selling and critically-acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami is set to publish his first short story collection in nine years. The Bungei Shunju publishing house announced this on Monday, saying this is targeted for release in Japan by April this year.
Entitled Onna no Inai Otokotachi (“Men Without Women,” in rough translation), this collection features five short stories that have already been previously published in various magazines, plus one new tale. One of the stories is the “controversial” novella, Drive my car—men without women, published in the long-running monthly magazine Bungeishunju last December. The story earned criticism from residents of Nakatonbetsu, a town in the northernmost island of Hokkaido. They felt offended when they were implied as being litterbugs when one of the characters in the story flicked a cigarette outside the car and another character says, “Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does.” Murakami has since then regretted that he has offended the residents and promised to change the name of the town when it will be published in the collection.
The Japanese author’s works have been widely read not only in his native country, but globally as well. His last novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, sold one million copies in its first week on sale in Japan and subsequent translations in German, Spanish and Dutch have topped bestseller lists in their respective countries. Last month, his UK publisher said that the English translation will be released in August this year.