Who We're Reading new arrival When We're Reading outlet sale Murakami online

Who We're Reading new arrival When We're Reading outlet sale Murakami online

Who We're Reading new arrival When We're Reading outlet sale Murakami online

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How did a loner destined for a niche domestic audience become one of the most famous writers alive? A "fascinating" look at the "business of bringing a best-selling novelist to a global audience" (The Atlantic)―and a “rigorous” exploration of the role of translators and editors in the creation of literary culture (The Paris Review).

Thirty years ago, when Haruki Murakami’s works were first being translated, they were part of a series of pocket-size English-learning guides released only in Japan. Today his books can be read in fifty languages and have won prizes and sold millions of copies globally. How did a loner destined for a niche domestic audience become one of the most famous writers alive? This book tells one key part of the story. Its cast includes an expat trained in art history who never intended to become a translator; a Chinese American ex-academic who never planned to work as an editor; and other publishing professionals in New York, London, and Tokyo who together introduced a pop-inflected, unexpected Japanese voice to the wider literary world.

David Karashima synthesizes research, correspondence, and interviews with dozens of individuals—including Murakami himself—to examine how countless behind-the-scenes choices over the course of many years worked to build an internationally celebrated author’s persona and oeuvre. His careful look inside the making of the “Murakami Industry" uncovers larger questions: What role do translators and editors play in framing their writers’ texts? What does it mean to translate and edit “for a market”? How does Japanese culture get packaged and exported for the West?

Review

Paperback Paris, 1 of 29 Works of Translated Literature That’ll Whisk You Away

"A slim but fascinating new treatise by David Karashima on the business of bringing the best-selling novelist to a global audience." ―Rowan Hisayo Buchanan,  The Atlantic

"Intriguing . . . What’s fun about this book is it doesn’t often speak directly about Murakami but writes around him with the people in the Murakami orbit. As we’re learning what his work means to them, we’re getting a clearer picture of who he is. It’s like painting a portrait solely with the negative space." ―Joseph Edwin Haeger,  The Big Smoke

"Impressively detailed . . .  Who We''re Reading When We''re Reading Murakami should be of great interest to fans of Murakami''s work as well as all those involved in any way in the publishing of translations, be they editors or translators (or authors whose works get translated into other languages) . . . a solid and impressively researched study, throwing an interesting light on publishing, translation, and the publishing of translations." ―M.A. Orthofer,  Complete Review

"In his new book  Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami, David Karashima, himself a writer and translator, lays bare the invisible structures that support the international career of someone like Murakami: the multiple translators, editors, and publicists that take his work and create it into the product that Western readers then consume . . . [Karashima] seems to linger too long on the back-and-forth, nitty-gritty background work of translating and editing Murakami’s books, but herein lies its brilliance: Karashima forces Western readers to reckon with long unquestioned myths about how translation works." ―Julia Shiotta,  Ploughshares

"David Karashima examines the emergence of Haruki Murakami as a global literary phenomenon, bringing together an incredible amount of information surrounding this towering figure of contemporary Japanese literature―including a conversation with the man himself―and putting his eye for detail to excellent use as he seeks to uncover everything that went into the establishment of the ''Murakami industry'' in the 1980s and 1990s . . . meticulous." ―David Boyd,  Asymptote

"Karashima’s own experience as an author and translator is hugely helpful here. He clearly understands how the publishing game works, and is able to make it accessible, at times even compelling . . . You might assume that Karashima’s approach would demystify the process, but instead he injects it with a real sense of excitement." ―Aoife Cantrill,  Asian Review of Books

"A profound riff on the art of translation in considering the work of Haruki Murakami, and how it differs in English from its original publications in Japanese. Tracking the work of the major Murakami translators who have rendered his work into English, this book shows the way it is shaped, edited, and reformed by who is working on it . . . A must read for translators and fans of Murakami alike." ― Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year

"For fans of Murakami’s work, this is a dream come true . . . [an] invaluable behind-the-scenes project." ―Jed Munson,  Full Stop

"A fascinating and clever play on translation . . . A love letter to Murakami and writing, David Karashima offers an unparalleled glimpse into the global publishing market with determination, humor, and understanding." —Melissa Ratcliff,  Paperback Paris, A Best Book of the Year 

"Fantastic . . . If you ever wanted to get a far better, and deeper, look at (and appreciation for) the translator and their work, this is the book for you . . . Fans of Murakami will remember why they love his books the way they do, and budding translators will be reminded of the importance of their work. This is one of the most original books about translation out there right now." ―Will Heath,  Books and Bao

"Murakami fans will particularly revel in Karashima’s comprehensive coverage, but anyone curious about the alchemy and sheer amount of work that goes into making a single author’s success will be entranced by this fascinating work." ― Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“When a work of fiction touches someone, it becomes contagious, swimming into new worlds through the lives and spirits of its readers; when a work of fiction is translated, it is reborn. There is something intensely human in this miraculous process, though that something is often lost in the larger currents that surround it. This book shows us, in all their warmth and sincerity, and through their own earnest words, the people who make translations possible.” ―Sayaka Murata, author of  Convenience Store Woman

"David Karashima’s  Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami is the most riveting book I’ve read in the last year. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s true. David has compiled and given cogent form to a kind of ''oral history'' of the core English translators and editors of Haruki Murakami’s work in the 80s and 90s . . . I’m grateful to Karashima for putting this book together. It’s a gem, and my only complaint is that it ends." —Craig Mod

About the Author

David Karashima has translated a range of contemporary Japanese authors into English, including Hitomi Kanehara, Hisaki Matsuura, and Shinji Ishi. He co-edited the anthology March Was Made of Yarn: Writers Respond to the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown and is co-editor of Pushkin Press’s Contemporary Japanese Novellas series and Stranger Press’s Keshiki Series. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
53 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Crazy Fox
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"I suppose it just means I''m always trying to escape myself"
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2021
Over the years, many of us have read with avid interest and enjoyment the novels and works of Murakami Haruki in English translation. How much thought did we give to the team of people who worked to create these books (strange surreal little products in a way) and deliver... See more
Over the years, many of us have read with avid interest and enjoyment the novels and works of Murakami Haruki in English translation. How much thought did we give to the team of people who worked to create these books (strange surreal little products in a way) and deliver them into our hands? You know, in exchange for a pinch of our discretionary income? Something about this trans-Pacific urban voice, cool & detached and yet sincere & searching seems to speak to us, but who else''s voice are we hearing on the line as well?

Whether you''ve ever wondered about such things or not, this snappy little volume sneaks a pensive peak behind the curtain on your behalf, painstakingly splicing together the multiple accounts and memories of translators, editors, agents, publishers, and others along with of course Murakami himself (even when these fragments don''t quite match up, in true Rashomon style) to weave a surprisingly engaging narrative of all the behind-the-scenes thought, care, and labor that went into transforming a well-regarded Japanese writer into an international literary figure of note--and of how the seat-of-the-pants process of translating and editing a text and then marketing it in a new cultural context inevitably refracts both the text itself and the impression & reputation of its author, rendering both in a new light not quite the same but not quite different.

Karashima is extremely adroit at crafting this account in such a manner that these kinds of weighty considerations suggest themselves as if naturally to the reader without getting explicitly hit over the head with them, so that meanwhile one finds oneself pleasantly leafing through this page-turner quickly, following along from Murakami''s first two somewhat obscure slender translations published only in Japan for English learners in the mid-1980''s up until about the turn of the century as "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" established him soundly and securely as a prominent author in the Anglophone world.

Obviously fans and aficionados of Murakami Haruki will find "Who We''re Reading" an intriguing and informative must-have title, but beyond that folks who have a habit of availing themselves of works in translation more generally will find ample food for thought here as well, and translators will nod along at much that rings true and much that provokes further reflection regarding their noble but complicated craft.
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Kirbz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great peek behind the curtain
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2020
Spoiler alert, I''m probably was not the target audience of the book. I was dragged into the premise of that one of my favorite books of Murakami''s (A Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World) that it had a lot of cut material. It made me want to read more to find out... See more
Spoiler alert, I''m probably was not the target audience of the book. I was dragged into the premise of that one of my favorite books of Murakami''s (A Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World) that it had a lot of cut material. It made me want to read more to find out why the editorial process was done the way it was (and that Jay Rubin''s translation of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle was not as cut as much). I always have been a Murakami fan, starting with Wind-up Bird Chronicle and working my way both backwards and forwards to whatever was available in English even though I have a BS in Japanese Studies.

David Karashima''s book highlights the struggle and the players that made Murakami known and famous in the West. It itself is a translation of a book Karashima published in Japan as well, this is a good book about the history of what it took to get Murakami off the ground, from his start at Kodansha International to his current home of Knopf/Vintage. It is not a complete history nor biography of Murakami, but a great weaving of the stories of all of the players behind Murakami''s success in the US (and UK) markets as well.

On what originally intrigued me in the first place, apparently Jay Rubin is working a new translation of A Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World at Murakami''s request, so we''ll see if it ever sees the light of day.

Check it out if you are a Murakami fan, and/or also do translation yourself. This is not a translation analysis of his first novels, but it does uncover some editing choices when talking about how the final result came to be to make Murakami''s ''voice'' shine.
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FrancescaItaliana
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Nobel Prize for Literature Committee Must Read
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2021
"Who We''re reading When We''re Reading Murakami" by David Karashima could easily become the first of a series of studies on translated literature. Think of Constance Garnett''s translations of Russian Literature or Gregory Rabassa''s translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and... See more
"Who We''re reading When We''re Reading Murakami" by David Karashima could easily become the first of a series of studies on translated literature. Think of Constance Garnett''s translations of Russian Literature or Gregory Rabassa''s translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and other books from the Spanish and Portuguese literature. Or the many translations of "The Tale of Genji," beginning with Arthur Waley''s translation. How accurate were the translations? What was left out, changed, or transformed into prose that turned out to be far better than in the original language?
Each year just before the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature is announced, Japanese fans of Haruki Murakami gather in hopes that he would win it. Now, with Karashima''s book unveiling and exposing the intricate details of how Murakami became so popular outside of Japan''s insular island nation, many might begin to realize the importance of the translator and the editing/publishing/publicizing machinery that makes a book succeed abroad, in another language and culture. In Murakami''s case, two translators and one editor play vital roles: Alfred Birnbaum and Jay Rubin, and Kodansha International''s editor Elmer Luke. Luke steered Murakami towards Knopf and the New Yorker, to Robert Gottlieb who became editor of both publications.
David Karashima''s book, besides writing a very readable, entertaining and scholarly work, is an expose'' on how Murakami became so well-known. There is that element of finesse and ruthlessness around his inner circle and the business acumen that Murakami possesses.
Why not give more credit to the translators, the author, who is himself a translator, suggests. After all, when we read a translated book, almost half the endeavor should be seen as written through the creative process of the translator, particularly in the case of translating Japanese into English.
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Veronica Cervera
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A different view of Murakami''s work
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2021
Excellent book and excellent idea.
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Debora Oden
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved it!
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2020
A great read for lovers of Murakami.
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Earl
5.0 out of 5 stars
Book on work and luck of a translation''s and author''s success
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2020
Who We''re Reading When We''re Reading Murakami by David Karashima is an interesting glimpse at both the work of translating as well as the making of Murakami as an international phenomenon. First, since I saw at least one review that read the book blurb from a... See more
Who We''re Reading When We''re Reading Murakami by David Karashima is an interesting glimpse at both the work of translating as well as the making of Murakami as an international phenomenon.

First, since I saw at least one review that read the book blurb from a very specific perspective and was thus disappointed, I want to clarify what this book is and isn''t. the blurb states clearly this is about the making of Murakami''s international fame, not a history of it. So, using my home country as an example, if one reads a book about the making of the US, there probably won''t be anything much covered after 1800. Same here, what kick-started the international acclaim was breaking into the US market, so that is what is covered here. To complain that the book does indeed do what it claims just because you misunderstood the blurb and wanted a different book is grossly misleading. Okay, so now we know how to read the book blurb...

This is a fascinating look behind the scenes at how an author becomes known outside the language in which he writes. In this case, it is someone whose fame took off once he was known, in part because of the work of bringing the work to a wider audience and in part because it happened early enough in his career that his growth could be followed by readers in other languages.

I have read several books over the last year or two about translating and the work of translation, mostly written from the perspective of the translator and written in broad terms even when referencing specific works. Those were very interesting and definitely, for me, set the stage for this book. Here we get details about translations of one author but with multiple translators offering insights. We also see just how much the economic side of the equation plays a role. At one point it is mentioned that, if the first foray into the US market had been ten years later, less money thus less attention would have been allocated. Would it have been as successful? Who knows, but it would certainly have had a different trajectory.

While having read Murakami will help to make this book far more interesting, I think readers who are less familiar with his work can still get a lot from it. The specifics of this author and his translations illustrates the range of things, from coincidences to finances to degree of input of the author, that goes into making literature of one culture or language accessible to others.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Nuha
3.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting Behind the Scenes of a Literary Giant
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2020
Thanks to Soft Skull Press and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader''s Copy! Now available! Clearheaded and precise, David Karashima''s Who We''re Reading When We''re Reading Murakami presents an often underdiscussed topic in translated international fiction.... See more
Thanks to Soft Skull Press and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader''s Copy!

Now available!

Clearheaded and precise, David Karashima''s Who We''re Reading When We''re Reading Murakami presents an often underdiscussed topic in translated international fiction. Hardly anyone who reads literary fiction can claim to not know the name Murakami or be immediately absorbed into his world of Japanese magical realism. However, Murakami, or rather the English translation of Murakami, is not who we think he is. By delving into the world of translators, publishers and editors, Karashima takes the reader into a behind the scenes journey of literary fiction, one that we as readers rarely have the chance to enter. It is fascinating to consider, for example, how the order of the novels published makes an impact on an author''s ability to break into the American market, how certain words and characters might be dramatically changed by the slight of the translator''s hand and the unknowing, long lasting impact it can have. Karashima makes the journey both accessible and entertaining, at times even drawing on a little bit of Murakami''s magic himself.
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Top reviews from other countries

ryan
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I found this quite boring - which is a crazy thing to say when discussing Murakami
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2021
I''m a fairly average Murakami fan, probably having read 8-10 of his books and a handful of short stories. however, what this book is a general tit-for-tat and back and forth of various narratives his translators and publishers have had integrating the writer into the West...See more
I''m a fairly average Murakami fan, probably having read 8-10 of his books and a handful of short stories. however, what this book is a general tit-for-tat and back and forth of various narratives his translators and publishers have had integrating the writer into the West over the years. While it has certainly given me more respect for the various translators out there and helped me spot what to expect from each ones work I found the general discourse between events a bit tiring and bland. But hey! if you want to read a book about Murakami''s translators this ones for you. If you want to read a book about Murakami''s life read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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Karan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic
Reviewed in Canada on November 1, 2020
Probably the finest piece on Murakami ever to be published in a popular edition (book came out in Japan over a year ago)
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