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Murakami’s new book arrives shrouded in mystery, and weighing a ton

Haruki Murakami’s first novel in five years, a two-volume work called 1Q84, arrived in Japan’s bookstores today. The plot details of the work have been kept tightly under wraps by both the author and his publisher, though earlier this week, the combined page count was released: a whopping 1,055 pages. Despite their overwhelming size, the two volumes occupy the top two spots on Amazon Japan’s book rankings. The Millions comments on the potential for an English translation of the work:

Although I’ve yet to find confirmation of who is doing the English translation or when it will be released, English translations of Japanese text tend to be 1.5 to 2 times longer than the source text. In other words, you won’t want to drop this on your toe.

An article on CBC.ca mentions some of the current theories behind the novel’s strange and as yet unexplained title:

Critics are wondering if the title, translated as 1984 because the “Q” in Japanese has the same sound as “nine,” is a reference to George Orwell’s classic. It also may be a tribute to The True Story of Ah Q, a novella by Chinese writer Lu Xun, whose work is said to have influenced Murakami.

The initial print run of the work is 300,000 copies of the first volume and 280,000 copies of the second.