Monday, July 28

bibliophile [1Q84]

Here's a doozy.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Let's get this straight up front: it's "one-que-eighty-four", but I called it "eye-que-eighty-four" in my head for the two months it took me to read it because I'm a dummy. I will admit to taking a vacation break to read all three Divergents (oh Honduras, how I miss you), but this was only to read something more lighthearted for a week, and not to escape this compelling, if LONG, novel. Here's your blurb:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer...A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Apparently Murakami is quite famous, perhaps more so in Japan, where this book was a huge hit. This was certainly imaginative, I'll give him that- the entire thing is surreal, as if the idea truly came to him in his sleep. I made the mistake of reading reviews before writing my own, and found this to be the most valuable:  "A typical feature in his books is to present an idea, an object, a reference from one perspective, and then repeat it, often multiple times, from other perspectives. Only through these repeated narrow views does the reader begin to piece together the true import of what is being presented. This layering of perspectives, added to the unusual nature of what is being seen, is core to the world Murakami unveils to us in his fiction. The problem in this book is that the perspectives are over-layered and at some point lose their power." I suppose my takeaway would be this: his style of writing is interesting and worth experiencing, but perhaps I would get a taste on a shorter work, rather than embark on this 1,000 page trip which is, I agree, repetitive. It was certainly still worth reading, but I expect when I get around to picking up some of his other novels, I may like them better.

1 comment:

  1. What'd you think of the Divergents? I read the first one, didn't love it, and never bothered with the next two.

    For other teen dystopia reading though, I enjoyed Legend (although I haven't gotten a chance to read the rest of the series yet). I think it's also in the process of becoming a movie. Also, I want to read The Maze Runner before it becomes a movie.


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