Two thousand and nine was a good year to be a Haruki Murakami fan. Seven years after writing his last epic novel, “Kafka on the Shore,” with only the bite-sized 2004 “afterdark” to tide over his readership, the author published the massive two-volume “1Q84.” Looking back now, it’s also clear that Murakami was in between two crests of his career.

In 1987, he went from a well-known niche author to a pop-culture rock star in Japan with the release of “Norwegian Wood.” With the novels that followed he then went on to gain global popularity, being translated into over 40 languages around the world, and settled into stardom abroad with a stint as a writer in residence at Princeton University and life as a literary recluse in Japan. With “1Q84,” publishers kept a tight seal on the content of the story to prevent the kind of leaks that occurred prior to the release of “Kafka on the Shore,” and the secrecy fueled curiosity about the book.

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