It was just a year ago when fans of acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami were lining up in queues to get a copy of his full-length novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. On Friday of this week, his hardcore fans, also known as Harukists, once again waited for the stroke of midnight to be some of the first to have a copy of his latest collection of short stories entitled Onna no Inai Otokotachi or “Men Without Women”.
Some bookshops opened at midnight to welcome Murakami’s fans in anticipation of repeating last year’s buying frenzy. The newest 285-page collection is a compilation of five short stories that have already been published in magazines, plus one newly written story. This is his first short story collection since 2005’s Tokyo Kitanshu. Even though the rough English translation of the title is the same as a story collection by another famed writer, Ernest Hemingway, Murakami clarifies in the preface that this is not an exact translation is not an accurate representation of what he wanted to say. A spokesman for his publisher Bungeishunju Ltd. said that they haven’t chosen yet the official English-language title. Their initial print run for the collection was just at 200,000 copies but when it was clear from the pre-orders that it wasn’t going to be enough, they decided to add 100,000 more.
One of the stories in the collection, which was previously published in a magazine in December 2013, elicited a bit of controversy early this year. The town of Nakatombetsu complained about the less than favorable portrayal of their people as litterbugs in the story Drive My Car. Murakami has since then issued an apology to the townspeople in the Hokkaido town and promised to change the name of the place when his short story collection comes out. The new name of the town mentioned in the story is Kamijunitaki, which is not a real town in Japan.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]