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Murakami sticker set to be included in U.S. first edition of new novel

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Random House creative director Suzanne Dean announced yesterday that first edition copies of Haruki Murakami’s new novel, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage", will include a set of stickers.

As described in the press release, the novel follows 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.

The concept behind the stickers, Dean explains, is inspired by Tsukuru – which means “to build” – and is meant to encourage readers to create a personalized book jacket.

Commissioned by Dean, five artists were assigned one of five main characters – Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, Miss White, Miss Black, and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki – and asked to read the novel with that character’s perspective in mind. The artists then developed stickers, ranging from swim goggles to convertibles, meant to represent the assigned character.

Reaction to the sticker set has varied. Many Murakami enthusiasts are eager for the collectible – the first of its kind intended for an adult audience. Others, including The Guardian, have denounced the stickers as a “ludicrous marketing initiative”.

Regardless of one’s perspective on marketing gimmicks, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" will likely add a thirteenth notch to Murakami’s literary belt. The novel was first released to a Japanese audience in April 2013 to immediate commercial success, selling more than 1 million copies in its first week.

"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" is slated for release in the United States by A.A. Knopf on August 12.