As a teenager, Murakami had read “all the great authors” – Dostoevsky, Kafka, Flaubert, Dickens, Raymond Chandler. He spent his lunch money on pop and jazz records. He wanted a lifestyle that guaranteed maximum exposure to the warmth of Western books and music, so he opened a jazz club where the music was too loud for conversation and read books at the bar until his customers considered him anti-social.
And then there was an epiphany. “Yes, epiphany is the word,” he says.
It is, he says, the only truly weird thing that has ever happened to him. He was watching a baseball game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp one day in April 1978. A US player called Dave Hilton hit the first ball way out into left field. And at that extraordinary moment, Murakami realised he could write a novel.
I began reading 1Q84 a little over a year ago (I’m a slow reader, and admittedly horrible at starting books and not finishing them). I don’t have a long-form review of 1Q84 (other than you should go read it), but I think it’s worth picking up. So, I won’t claim to know or fully understand Murakami’s entire catalogue. But they are ensconced in beautiful and complex vistas I crave to visit and know. Parallels, strange events, pregnant mysteries and enigmatic characters that are his hallmarks — and they are fun.
I just love Murakami’s apocryphal “epiphany.” Not only is it an apt for the author, but it should be more widely known that Japanese Baseball is 100% more badass than the American League.
PS: this ultra-rare version of 1Q84 produced by the international imprint, Harvill Secker is absolutely stunning:
1Q84 used to be produced in three volumes, but now it is commonly bound as one. The iconic cover and jacket, was designed by Chip Kidd, the same creative genius who designed the infamous Jurassic Park jacket: