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Murakami's 12th novel a hit in Japan

Japanese author Haruki Murakami's 12th novel has hit bookstores in Japan, and despite the notable paucity of details, fans and critics alike are praising the book.

books Updated: May 29, 2009 21:40 IST

The acclaimed novelist releases his twelfth novel to rave reviews from fans, critics.

Japanese author Haruki Murakami's 12th novel has hit bookstores in Japan, and despite the notable paucity of details, fans and critics alike are praising the book.

"It's amazing. People are craving his latest novel," said Takashi Machii, spokesman for the novel's publisher, Shinchosha.

In a unique marketing twist, many of the details for "1Q84," or 1984 in Japanese, have been kept shrouded in mystery, whetting the appetites of book lovers throughout the island nation.

"I don't care a bit," Said Murakami fan Michiyo Sato as she bought the 3,600 yen, or $38, book at one of a handful of stores selling it ahead of the nationwide rollout.

"The secrecy surrounding the work is making customers absolutely famished for this book," said Toshiaki Uchida, assistant manager Yaesu Book Center where The AP obtained a copy.

As in much of his works, "1Q84" is a complex and surreal narrative, tackling tricky subjects such as cult religion, violence, family ties and love as the two main characters search for each other throughout the sprawling novel.

Typical of the fiercely private novelist, who has shuttled between the United States and Japan throughout most of his professional life, the author did not make himself available for comment.

Aside from "1Q84," Murakami, who is said to have been inspired to write his first novel by a baseball game, has authored two books on the 1995 subway gas attack in Tokyo, as well as translations of works by Raymond Carver, John Irving and J.D. Salinger.

According to Shinchosha, it is unclear when the work will be translated into English.