1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Genre: General Fiction/Scifi
11/Clearly no longer 40 THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Translated Book Book Bingo
“The role of a story was, in the broadest of terms, to transpose a single problem into another form. Depending on the nature and direction of the problem, a solution could be suggested in the narrative. Tengo would return to the real world with that suggestion in hand. It was like a piece of paper baring the indecipherable text of a magic spell. At times, it lacked coherance and served no immediate practical purpose. Someday he might be able to decipher the spell. That possibility warmed his heart from within.”
1Q84. 925 pages. About a week and 18 total clocked hours to read. This book was intense, highly complicated, complex, beautiful and baffling all rolled up into one. It takes place in a world like our own but not quite. Something happens and a parallel tangent fractures off. The story centralizes around Aomame, a woman hired to kill to abusive men, and Tengo, a mathematician turned ghost writer. Unbeknownst to them, they get caught in a web of someone else’s plot and like dew drops on a web, and slowly slide towards the center towards each other, drawn by impossible plot mechanisms.
Murakami introduces many complex themes in his writing. Religion. Social structure. Lonliness. Depression. Suicide. Strange sexual desires. Fantasical elements. Domestic abuse. And so on. I was driven by the plot devices and swept up in a giant wave of imagery as the story played before me.
“Although it was a story about the fantastical experiences of a girl placed in unusual circumstances, it also had something that called forth people’s natural sympathies. It probably aroused some subconcious something, which is why readers were pulled in and kept turning pages.”
90% of it came off like a book within a book. The story that Tengo is ghost writing begins to become real and he finds himself mysteriously attuned to the original writer, Fuki-Eri, and imagination becomes a reality. Aomame begins to notice discrepancies in the world around her and dubs the new world 1Q84, having felt like she’s left the orginal 1984 behind. (Yes, there’s alot of references to Orwell.)
“It is very difficult to logically explain the illogical.”
For the most part, this didn’t read like a translated novel. Whoever was in charge of that did a beautiful job. It flowed like water and Murakami is definitely master of the written word. I highly enjoyed the ride and will consider this my beast for the year. (Last year was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo).
I highly recommend him and his other works however, be warned that he’s not for everyone. Lonliness, highly proactive sexual themes, and strange instances are primary themes in his writing. (Kinda like a Japanese Chuck Palichunik?) This one was a bit disturbing with its sexual abuse exploits and casual sex. It added to the plot vs degrading it, but definitely not for YA readers.
I could probably rampage for another 800 or so words on this book, but I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone. 🙂 It was a fantastic, albeit beastly, read.
(I did fill 12 pages in my quote notebook while listening to LOTR soundtrack.)
It was also a love story that transcends parallel dimensions.
“We came into this world so that we could meet. We didn’t realize it ourselves, but that was the purpose of our coming here. We faced all kinds of complications – things that didn’t make sense, things that defied explanation. Weird things, gory things, sad things. And sometimes, even beautiful things. We were asked to make a vow and we did. We were forced to go through hard times, and we made it. We were able to accomplish the goal we came here to accomplish.”