1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: a review

Friday, April 19, 2013

Title: 1Q84
Read: 2013

This 900-page sort of surreal epic fiction with two story lines that are narrated alternatively chapter per chapter is set on a Tokyo with two moons. 1Q84 is about a woman named Aomame, who ought to have entered an alternate reality she calls "1Q84", and Tengo, who ghostwrites a 17-year-old Fuka-Eri's novel, Air Chrysalis. The character of Ushikawa, a private investigator, was introduced in Book 3. I'll end it here that Aomame and Tengo are lovers, as I'm to keep this spoiler-free.

This is said yet Murakami's most ambitious work. Ambitious that it is 900 pages long, but other than that, Murakami is still Murakami in 1Q84. Pensieve protagonists, graphic descriptions of the smallest of things, otherworldly creatures called The Little People, and all things surreal and beyond a normal person's imagination is in 1Q84. Contrary to the majority of Murakami's books, 1Q84 was not written in first-person. It also didn't have the erotic style Murakami had put in his other novels such as Sputnik Sweetheart.

Considering what I have said above-mentioned, the ordinary reader will not appreciate this, and it is clear why.

I am aware that 1Q84 consists 80% of descriptions and bland paragraphs and 20% of the story. The climactic paragraphs are buried within the 80%, which makes the novel a very slow-paced read. But the slowness was the experience from 1Q84. Narrations that will take you somewhere else, then the next one, you are being pulled back to the reality -- back to the story line. Not to mention, I love how the plot has been formulated. It is easy to point out how well-thought it is.

I think most of those who tried to read Murakami fail to appreciate him as a writer because they can't understand him. Murakami is a surreal litterateur, his nature, his specialty which cuts him above the rest. Reading Murakami is not to understand but to get lost with it. And only then the reader will understand.

Noting that there are a lot of quotable passages to be found in 1Q84 than the rest of his works have, I think Murakami's style grew from apathy to empathy, and the ending vouches for that.

I am bummed how long it was though, and I still think Kafka on the Shore and Wind-Up Bird Chronicle were his bests under his surreal genre, but nonetheless 1Q84 was very enjoyable.

EASTER EGG (for those who do not know): The Japanese word for the number nine is "kyu", thus one-kyu-eight-four.

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