First editions of Haruki Murakami’s new novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Harvill Secker) will include a special sheet of stickers designed by Japanese illustrators.
The novel tells the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, whose life changed when his relationships with his high school friends were severed. Now in adulthood Tsukuru decides to reconnect with all of those friends to discover the reason behind their decision to reject him.
Creative director Suzanne Dean has designed a cover representing the five main characters in the book - Mr Red, Mr Blue, Miss White, Miss Black and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.
Tsukuru means "to make" or "to build", and the concept behind the stickers, commissioned by Dean from five Japanese illustrators, is to encourage the reader to decorate the novel themselves.
Dean said: “The meaning of Tsukuru’s name was a gift, a perfect match for the idea of including adult stickers for the reader to use to decorate the novel. My young son’s delight in using stickers everywhere started me thinking about this. I had seen stickers used on Royal Mail stamps, on CDs and, of course, in children's books, but I didn’t think they had been incorporated into adult fiction.
“I commissioned five Japanese illustrators, who were asked to read the novel with their allotted character in mind, and to create stickers that were coloured in a way that indicated their character.
“These illustrators brought a uniquely Japanese style and a knowledge of Japanese detail to the project.”
The author will be making a rare UK visit to coincide with publication. As well as appearing at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Murakami will also do a book signing at Waterstones Piccadilly on 30th August.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, will be available in hardback and e-book with a list price of £20 from 12th August.