Harvill Secker, $29.99 pb, $45 hb, 637 pp, 9781787300194
There is a running joke in Japan that autumn doesn’t start each year until Haruki Murakami has lost the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most recently, in 2017, he lost to Kazuo Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but is now a British citizen. To date, two Japanese writers have been awarded the prize – Yasunari Kawabata (1968) and Kenzaburō Ōe (1994) – and many believe Murakami will be the next Japanese laureate. However, it won’t be this year, because the Nobel Prize for Literature has been postponed due to a sexual misconduct scandal, and while Murakami was one of four finalists for the substitute New Academy Prize, he has recently withdrawn from the prize stating that he wants ‘to concentrate on his writing, away from media attention’.