1Q84 – by Haruki Murakami—a review

Yes, this is literary, so I gave it significant benefit of the doubt.

Yes, it got rave reviews; the only negative ones I read lamented the story was not in Murakami’s first person style and that the Little People wre not menacing, but almost risible.  Actually, the third negative one I read was by the New York Times.

Clocking in at 925 pages, with elements of science fiction, and maybe some religious intrigue. the book is a very simple love story set in an alternate universe of sorts that exists in the same space and time as the “real” world, with only certain ones living in the 1Q84 instead of ’84. (As detailed as Murakami is in the text, I would have liked some discussion on weather or tidal or anything the presence of a second massive object so close to Earth would have and how this world’s physical makeup is different.)

There are, without doubt, very interesting concepts: Air Chrysali being among the most interesting, but much more could have been made of them.

The promise of very odd religious concepts is never seriously explored.

The female lead is Aomame, who many call a serial killer.  But she is not.  She is an assassinand, and while her motives may be somewhat acceptable, more could have been done here.  In the first part of book one, she enters 1Q84 in a very interesting fashion.  Tengo, I am not really sure how he gets there.

Tengo, the male lead does a bit of ghost re-writing  on a book for a 17 year-old female escapee of the odd religious cult.

Murakami references Chekhov many times, as in, once a gun becomes present in a story, it must be fired. Well, there is a gun not fired and many more unresolved abnd unexplored matters in the book. Maybe Murakami was playing with us.

Ok, sure. this is  a simple love story.  I think.  But when Aomame and Tengo meet again after twenty years, there is a magical connection exhibited because that is what Murakami says was there.

It is a very long character sketch of three people or four and many of the ancillary characters are interesting, if unexplored.

The ending is unpredictable solely because it is an obvious premise that the reader will probably reject as too obvious many times.

But, in the end, too many loose ends and too many unexplained issues.  Maybe Murakami was writing life, which has no plot and is simpy loose ends.

Maybe if you read faster than I do, these things will not matter, but a friend of mine, who gave me the book, said she had to just finally skim over large sections of it, looking for the next thing to happen. I almost did when the third chapter of Tengo reading to his comatose father started.

Is the story about The Little People, who exist only in 1Q84 setting the place up to get Tengo and Aomame back together, who I think met in the reasl world?  Or are they getting them together to save the odd religion?

I can say the writing itself was generally good ( but sometimes, I think the translators got a little tired also).

Not one I will read a second time. I believe Mr. Murakami to have great talent.  I may give another of his books a shot (given to me by the same friend). But I will let this one rest awhile.

And I cannot explain all the  rave reviews I read.  The only thing of which I am jealous as a would-be writer is the book’s sales

One thought on “1Q84 – by Haruki Murakami—a review

  1. A balanced review. 985 pages is a lot, and requires a supreme talent to hold the reader. Well done for a valiant effort, and to the author for an audacious effort (by the sound of it).

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