Murakami's '1Q84' is Japan's best-selling book of 2009

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The Independent Culture

Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84, released in two parts with a third volume still to come, was the best-selling book in the 12 months through November 30, according to Japanese publications distributor Tohan Co. Japan Today reported the news, adding that 1Q84 was the first literary work to top the year's bestsellers since Tohan began compiling the data in 1990.

Murakami's first book to be published in five years, 1Q84 was released in two volumes in June 2009. Shinchosha Publishing Co., which published the volumes, reported selling 680,000 copies in the first few days, and said that since its release the first volume has sold 1.23 million copies and the second 1 million copies.

Murakami had refused to reveal the plot of 1Q84 before its release, following critics leaking details of his 2002 work Kafka on the Shore and according to him, ruining that book's novelty. The success of 1Q84, therefore, with buyers only sure of the book's title and author, speaks to Murakami's cult-like fame.

The third and final volume of 1Q84 will be published in Japan in summer 2010. An English edition of the first two volumes, translated by Jay Rubin, will be released in North America and the UK in September 2011, followed by Philip Gabriel's translation of the third volume.

Haruki Murakami's books have been translated into more than 40 languages. Murakami is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in modern literature.