Murakami’s 1Q84

That’s “ichi-Q-hachi-yon”. The latest by Haruki Murakami 村上春樹 (Mandarin: cūn shàng chūn shù) has, much to my own disappointment, landed on my kitchen table. I say to my disappointment because he is one of my favourite writers, but the copy that we have is the Mandarin translation. As far as I know, there’s not yet an English one, and my Mandarin isn’t up to the kind of writing put out by Murakami.

Danwei recently wrote about the book, citing two full articles on the topic of translating Murakami’s work.

From the Danwei article:

Sina’s bestseller book lists said 1Q84 “sold 1.2 million copies in China and ‘almost took up the entire month'” for the month of May. As with What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (当我谈跑步时我谈些什么), there was controversy when the novel was translated by Shi Xiaowei (施小炜) rather than Lin Shaohua (林少华), Murakami’s mainland China translator for over 20 years.

Go have a read. Meanwhile I’ll be in the kitchen, longingly flipping through the pages, trying not to pick up spoilers from the Mandarin.

4 responses to “Murakami’s 1Q84”

  1. John B says:

    I haven’t read 施小炜’s translations, but I’ve never been particularly impressed with 林少华’s renderings. The original Japanese is written in a really sparse, lightweight way (much like Jay Rubin’s excellent English translations), to the point that I can actually muddle through it. I feel like 林少华’s translations are incredibly overwrought by comparison.

  2. Zrv says:

    Jay Rubin is doing the English translation of 1Q84; I saw him give a talk discussing it just a few weeks ago. Not sure of the publication date but I think it will be soon.

  3. Kellen says:

    John: That’s what I’ve heard from the native Mandarin speakers in the house. They’re big fans of Japanese in translation, the bookshelf full of 渡辺淳一 and 村上春樹, among others.

    Zrv: With any luck it will be out before I return to China. I’d rather pay a few dollars than 160RMB after import taxes.

  4. Dazhu says:

    I’m actually reading this book right now, the translation is really quite simple to read and light on the 成语. I’d suggest you give reading it a go, it’s a good read so far!

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