Haruki Murakami Returns

Filip Singer / Isifa / Getty

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami attends the 2006 Franz Kafka Award Ceremony in the Old Town Hall on October 30, 2006 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Haruki Murakami doesn't much go in for metaphors, but even he wouldn't deny the aptness and symbolism of the moment when he decided he would write his first novel. It was April 1978 and Murakami was in the stands at Tokyo's Meiji-Jingu Stadium, watching a baseball game, beer in hand. He was verging on 30, and nearly a decade into running a jazz café with his wife Yoko. A journeyman American batter named Dave Hilton came to the plate for the Yakult Swallows, stroked the first pitch into left field, and safely reached second base. As he watched the...

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