The English translation of 1Q84 has not yet been published, but Murakami’s new novel is set to be a literary sensation

Yesterday, the Guardian published an article about Haruki Murakami’s new novel. There is an insightful opinion from Jay Rubin, one of Murakami’s regular translators. What Mr. Rubin said about the Japanese author is entirely spot-on.

“Rubin also remarked on Murakami’s ability to convey the commonplace in an extraordinary way. “What I love,” he said, “is how he can describe eating yoghurt at midnight or the best way to cook a hamburger or someone pouring ketchup into a sock drawer. He is very down to earth, but also has passages that are very comically detailed.”

“And it is not because he is writing about Japan that people love him. I’m not sure his readers are interested in Japan. It is about the moment to moment sensation of being in his world. Inside his head.”

Some people have said that he has never given clear and satisfactory answers in most of his stories. To me, this is just the way he treats his readers without being condescending. People who read his books should come to their own understanding and it does not really matter whether or not we can completely grasp what he means in the stories. In fact, we don’t need to try very hard to read his books, but if we can stay with each moment from the beginning to the end, the reward will be amazing. It is like a journey that we have chosen to embark on. We may not comprehend all the things that we have seen throughout the entire adventure, but the experience is simply worthwhile.

It is irrelevant whether Haruki Murakami is the greatest living author or not, but in the world of literature, he is undoubtedly a superstar. That is what I said on Twitter yesterday.


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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (U.S. book trailer)

In the UK, the novel will be published in 2 volumes and have different covers from the US version. I would love to buy 1Q84 in one volume. However, I was not very impressed with one of Murakami’s novels which I bought from an American publisher. It was badly bound and unevenly cut. Hence I have pre-ordered the British version instead. The novel will also be published in Kindle format.

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HEADSHOT: A Crime Noir by Pen-ek Ratanaruang

HEADSHOT is based on a novel called “Rain Falling Up the Sky” by a well-known Thai writer, Win Lyovarin. Initially, the author did not intend to write it as a novel, but rather as a script for an indie movie forming part of a film noir project. For some reason, it did not materialise, so the writer decided to transform the script into a novel instead; or as he called it, a film noir novel.

Every element of the book was written according to the concept of early Hollywood film noir: there is an investigation, murder, sex, corruption, crime, bad cops, prostitutes, gangsters or hoodlums, mafia, hitmen and so on, as well as a sexy sinister beautiful woman. The author also interspersed the story line with black and white images. The novel could easily be called a book noir with images, or a gallery novel. It is unsurprising that the novel is replete with a movie atmosphere such as the way the story develops, the use of flashback and a narrator voice over etc.

The movie version directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang is scheduled to be in the cinema in Thailand on 3rd November.

More details in English about the movie can be found via

Note: WordPress would not allow me to link the web address to the website name above for some reason.

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Books and authors recommended by people from Twitter

  • Ben Okri – Famished Road recommended by @Vanalli
  • J. R. Ackerley – We Think The World of You recommended by @marksimpsonist
  • Carlos Castaneda recommended by @igorc166
  • Roberto Bolano, Dostoyevsky and Haruki Murakami recommended by @on_off_course
  • Tim Winton recommended by @Nganadeeleg
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Hoeg, Rupert Thomson and Ian McEwan recommended by @jezzabkk
  • Joseph Heller – Catch-22, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare and Heinrich Heine recommended by @Ryn_writes
  • Hoeg: Woman and the Ape, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, The Quiet Girl, Tales of the Night (shorts) recommended by @jezzabkk
  • Thomson: The Insult, Soft, Book of Revelation, Death of a Murderer recommended by @jezzabkk
  • Jim Crace’s ‘Being Dead’ and the Louis de Bernieres South American trilogy recommended by @jezzabkk
  • China Melville, Ballard and David Peace recommended by @on_off_course
  • Brendan Behan recommended by @PaulGarrigan
  • Brian Jacques, Roald Dahl and “Death By Blackhole” by Neil Degrasse Tyson recommended by @fishmyman
  • The short stories of Katherine Mansfield, the novels of Christopher Isherwood, and the essays of Roland Barthes recommended by @Notorious_QRG
  • Gore Vidal – Myra Breckenridge recommended by @argillaceousvis
  • Gore Vidal – The City & The Pillar recommended by the daddy of Metrosexuality and the author of “Metrosexy”, @marksimpsonist
  • The Amtrak War Series by Patrick Tilley recommended by @bangkokram
  • David Meerman-Scott recommended by @bangkokbugle
  • Thomas Mann, Dostojevski, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dan Brown and Grisham recommended by @BangkokDan

That’s it. I hope I have included all the books and the authors that were kindly and generously recommended by people who I asked on Twitter, apart from one person: @bangkokdave who is probably allergic to literature!   ^__^

And for me, it is pretty obvious which author and books I am going to recommend: Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The first book is the only novel that has made me cry. The second is probably his funniest and most playful novel and the third is his most awesome and metaphysical book which I have in three editions.


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Could you kindly tell me who your favourite author is?

I am thinking of broadening my literary perspective. I read many books of various genres anyway.  What I like to read, however, tends to be novels from revered and well respected authors. This makes me look like a literary snob, which to some extent, is an appropriate description of who I am. I am unapologetic for that. What I would like to do is to ask people to recommend a novel from one of their favourite novelists that is especially meaningful to them. I would appreciate it if you would share it with me. It would be a real boon to this unenlightened reader.


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I voted yesterday

This is the first time since living abroad that I have decided to vote in the Thai elections. Yesterday, I received the two voting cards and other pertinent documents from the Thai embassy here. The whole thing was pretty easy. First, I had to register to vote – a few months ago – via the the embassy’s website. Next, they responded to me via email to inform me that they had received my request to vote. Then, I just had to wait for them to sent me the voting cards etc.

To me, it does not matter if the party for which I voted wins the election or not. I just wanted to express my democratic right for once. If the party I don’t like wins the election, I will sincerely congratulate them. Everyone should accept the outcome whether they approve or not; otherwise the country will go back to the same chaotic cycle of Yellow and Red. Nobody likes corrupt politicians. But to address this problem, everyone should agree that it should be done within the democratic process. In a mature democratic society, everyone abides by the rule of law. That’s how society can move forward. We can have as many elections as we like, but when people don’t behave democratically and adhere to the law, democracy will be a dead loss.

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Kermode’s view on “The Hangover Part II”

I think Mr. Kermode was a bit harsh on the film. He needs to realise that this kind of movie was made for a certain type of audience. Those who like the film do not want to glean anything from it except for a cheap laugh although others might find nothing funny about it. If these moviegoers had to watch the competing movies that were shown in Cannes a few weeks ago, they might also have nothing nice to say about them. It is just a matter of different markets.

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