People Will Buy What They Want to Read

There’s a lot of talk out there about books and reading being endangered by changing tastes among people. And then there was “Harry Potter” with lines around the bookstore block and six-year-olds reading hardcovers as thick as a brick. And now there’s Haruki Murakami of Japan, a literary writer selling millions of books. Learn more about the reclusive superstar author in Stephanie Hegarty’s article from the BBC World Service on Murakami’s new novel, “1Q84,” is 1600 pages long.

The book is set in an alternate 1984 – the title plays on the Japanese pronunciation of Q, which is the same as of the number nine. Its two main characters, a male novelist and a female serial killer, exist in parallel universes but are searching for each other as the novel winds its way between their worlds.

Classic Murakami themes are here in the new novel – love and loneliness, alternative and surreal worlds, enigmatic characters and people who seem impassive but are stirred by deep emotions. Not for the first time, questions are raised about free will and cult religion.