New Haruki Murakami novel goes on sale in Japan

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The new volume of Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84 went on sale in Japan early Friday, with eager fans of the country's best-known modern writer queuing in cold rain to grab copies of the latest instalment.

The third volume in the popular series by the cult author was released across Japan with book stores opening early for avid readers.

About 20 people braved unseasonable cold weather and rain to queue outside a central Tokyo bookstore that opened two hours earlier than usual at 7:00 am to cope with demand.

"I have read all the Murakami novels. I'm addicted to him," said Kiyoshi Takahashi, a 52-year-old financial company manager, at another Tokyo store.

Natsuko Nomura, a 33-year-old marketing official, said Murakami's novels were so inspiring that they help her "reset" the way she sees the world.

"I was waiting for the third installation. I'm glad I finally have it."

The first two volumes, released last May, were instant bestsellers and have so far sold 2.44 million copies in Japan, according to Shinchosha Publishing. The novel has since been translated into Korean and Chinese.

The publisher initially planned to print half-a-million copies of the third volume but decided to print an extra 200,000 copies this month after seeing high levels of advance orders, the company said.

Murakami, 61, a former Tokyo jazz bar owner often mentioned as a Nobel literature prize contender, has struck a global chord with his sensitive tales of the absurdity and loneliness of modern life.

His novels, which have drawn international acclaim and been translated into almost 40 languages, include the titles "Norwegian Wood," "Kafka on the Shore" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle."

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