When Shinchosha decided not to run a pre-marketing campaign for Haruki Murakami’s new and highly anticipated two-volume novel, the publishing house must have banked on the book creating its own hype. It worked. The void soon filled with publicity and media speculation about the book’s only available information: its title.

In the weeks leading up to the release of “1Q84,” Tokyo’s radio talk-show hosts and television personalities buzzed on and on about probable links to George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” (Confused? “1Q84” is a pun playing on the identical pronunciation of the Japanese number “nine” and the letter “Q.”)

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