Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #WhoWereReadingWhenWereReadingMurakami #NetGalley
How did a loner destined for a niche domestic audience become one of the most famous writers alive? A rare look inside the making of the “Murakami Industry”—and a thought-provoking exploration of the role of translators and editors in the creation of global literary culture.
Thirty years ago, when Haruki Murakami’s works were first being translated, they were part of a series of pocket-size English-learning guides released only in Japan. Today his books can be read in fifty languages and have won prizes and sold millions of copies globally. How did a loner destined for a niche domestic audience become one of the most famous writers alive? This book tells one key part of the story. Its cast includes an expat trained in art history who never intended to become a translator; a Chinese American ex-academic who never planned to work as an editor; and other publishing professionals in New York, London, and Tokyo who together introduced a pop-inflected, unexpected Japanese voice to the wider literary world.
David Karashima synthesizes research, correspondence, and interviews with dozens of individuals—including Murakami himself—to examine how countless behind-the-scenes choices over the course of many years worked to build an internationally celebrated author’s persona and oeuvre. His careful look inside the making of the “Murakami Industry" uncovers larger questions: What role do translators and editors play in framing their writers’ texts? What does it mean to translate and edit “for a market”? How does Japanese culture get packaged and exported for the West?
"A lively account of the many people involved in bringing Haruki Murakami’s writings to English-speaking readers. . . . readers interested in Murakami will enjoy learning about the challenges and trade-offs involved in translation . . . A fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of publishing." —Kirkus Reviews
"An astonishingly thorough and illuminating look at the way that Murakami became recognized, and at all the people—translators in particular—who made it possible by the decisions they made. Karashima's book is a hands-on and very frank look at the social construction of a literary reputation." —Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World and Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
"Having touched hearts, a novel swims in the lives and minds of many people and spreads to new worlds. When translated into another language, it is reborn—a miracle that gives off the scent of actual people. The candid words in this book convey an unadulterated sense of the body heat behind a major literary current." —Sayaka Murata, author of Convenience Store Woman
"Karashima, a Japanese novelist and translator, has conducted a profound riff on the art of translation in considering the work of Haruki Murakami, and how it differs in English from its original publications in Japanese. Tracking the work of the major Murakami translators who have rendered his work into English, this book shows the way it is shaped, edited, and reformed by who is working on it . . . A must read for translators and fans of Murakami alike." —Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year