It speaks volumes that Book Festival director Nick Barley comes on to introduce this event, dubbing it the probable highlight of his career with the festival. Such is the reputation of Haruki Murakami.
The event is dedicated to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, starting with a tale from John Mullan, who yesterday bought a coffee in London; the server pointed at his book, gasping “Murakami!” and proclaimed that she loved him. It’s life imitating Murakami, he laughs, a world of coincidences.
The book is written in his preferred first person narrative. “I tried a couple of times to use third person, but every time I felt uncomfortable,” explains Murakami. “I was looking down, but I wanted to stand on the same level as my characters.”