Acclaimed author Haruki Murakami said in a rare public appearance that his latest novel, depicting the story of a man facing up to his bitter past, is a "new attempt" for him.

"There may be some people who feel I'm going backward from a literary perspective, but for me it's a new attempt," the 64-year-old told an audience of 500 people chosen by lottery for the event at Kyoto University on Monday.

His latest novel, "Shikisai o Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi" ("Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage"), released last month, revolves around a lonely 36-year-old man who was deeply hurt by his experiences in adolescence and visits old friends 16 years later.