New Novel, 13 April 2023

February 1, 2023 By murakamiclub

Announced today, Haruki Murakami’s new novel will be released in Japan on 13 April 2023.

The Release

The publisher, Shinchosha, delivered a concise release on 1 February 2023 at 00:00 (JST).

“On 13 April 2023, Shinchosha will publish Haruki Murakami’s new novel (1200 manuscript pages).

It will be the first entirely new piece published in six years since Killing Commendatore (Part 1: The Idea Made Visible; Part 2: The Shifting Metaphor), published in February 2017.

The novel will also be available as an e-book on the same day as Murakami’s new novels for the first time.”

Shinchosha, 1 February 2023

The Length

The publisher states the new novel will be 1200 pages long on Japanese manuscript paper.

These days, manuscript paper is rarely used because writers write on computers (and smartphones for some people).

Nevertheless, by convention, the length of a literary work is counted by the number of manuscript pages (20 letters x 20 lines = 400 letters/sheet).

Japanese manuscript paper (20×20)

In Murakami’s recent essay ‘Novelist as a Vocation’, he stated

When writing a novel, my rule is to produce roughly ten Japanese manuscript pages (the equivalent of sixteen hundred English words) every day. This works out to about two and a half pages on my computer, but I base my calculations on the old system out of habit.

Haruki Murakami, Novelist as a Vocation, p.95

As for the length of the novels, Norwegian Wood is about 900 manuscript pages, Book 1 and Book 2 of 1Q84 are 1984 pages (really?) in total, and Killing Commendatore is 2000.

As the new novel has been announced as long as 1200 pages, it would be about 60% of the length of Killing Commendatore, almost the same as Dance Dance Dance and 80% of Kafka on the Shore.

The title veiled

In the 1980s, Murakami wrote manuscripts by hand: his essay ‘Distant Drums (i.e. untranslated as of 2023)’, published in 1990, describes his time writing Norwegian Wood.

In October 1986, Murakami left Japan and began writing the novel in Greece, moved to Sicily and completed it in Rome.

On Saturday, 7 March 1987. Murakami woke up at 5.30 am in Rome, went for a quick run, wrote for 17 hours without rest, and then completed it just before midnight.

The following day, he started to rewrite the 900 pages by hand and finished on 26 March.

After further polishing, Murakami handed the manuscript to the Japanese editor at the Bologna Book Fair in early April.

The title “Norwegian Wood” was made two days before he went to Bologna. On 4 September 1987, Norwegian Wood was released in Japan.

Compared to those days, technology has become considerably more efficient, and publishers’ attitude towards Murakami has changed.

Nevertheless, it is not impossible that the title may not have been finalised at this point.

Well, we’ll have to wait and see the release on 13 April. And then, the translation will follow.