Dropping into the Fall season (12/2/14), a gift of a new Murakami for your readers! A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.
“All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.” On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. Once there, he is led to a special ‘reading room’ by a strange old man. The boy is imprisoned at the library and forced to memorize massive volumes of books. What will the boy do when he realizes that his captor intends to absorb his knowledge by eating his brain? With the help of a mysterious girl and a man dressed as a sheep, he hatches a plan to escape.
In keeping with its fantastical storyline, the 96-page book will be inventively packaged in a top-to-bottom wrap-around jacket and illustrated throughout with full-color art. The book has been designed by Chip Kidd, Knopf’s associate art director.
“Designing this book was different,” Kidd said, “because the story is so unlike anything Murakami has ever written. To recreate the concept of a boy trapped in a library, the book is contained in a paper vessel that literally confines the reader within the story, with a menacing green-eyed dog leering over every page. Rather than borrow from the visual tropes of an actual library (catalog cards, Dewey decimal codes, etc.) I wanted to suggest the idea of ephemera the boy might discover while held captive there. To generate the imagery, I borrowed from my own library of vintage Japanese graphics. Some of the original sources might surprise readers, but it’s best that they remain a mystery—to be marveled at, puzzled over, and treasured.”
The Strange Library was translated from the Japanese by Ted Goossen. The announced first printing is 75,000 copies.