Let's be honest - not a lot happens in these 400+ pages that make up 1q84 book 1. Some things the characters say are repeated a few times, which is sl...moreLet's be honest - not a lot happens in these 400+ pages that make up 1q84 book 1. Some things the characters say are repeated a few times, which is slightly problematic as character building and exposition is about all that happens here.
But I give it four stars anyway. Part of that is due to Jacques Westerhoven, who is an excellent translator and whose additional notes were really interesting and helpful. I'm usually not a big fan of footnotes, but in this case, it totally worked.
Most of it is due to the characters. Aomame, Ayumi and the Old Lady are absolutely kickass. I absolutely loved reading about them and their lives. So, you're a virgin until 26? Who cares! And now you occasionally just want to have sex? That's totally fine! Yay for sexual freedom and no judging!
Fukaeri is also super interesting. I really like what Murakami does with dyslexia when it comes to her character: it's always nice to see that people don't equate dyslexia with dumbness. Many teachers seem to do this, with bad consequences for the students involved.. my cousin and niece have hated school because of this reason. True, Fukaeri (or should I say Eri?) doesn't really attend school either, but at least it's clear it's not her fault, as she's really clever. You go Eri, four for you Eri. Maybe school systems will be changed soon that they can deal with dyslexia and similar problems more efficiently in the future.
Of course the whole sect plotline is creepy and worrisome, and one that I don't necessarily care about so much, but in that this is just a typical Murakami book for me: characters > plot.
And my, the female characters in this book are all fantastic. Can't wait for book 2.(less)
In truth, I mostly picked up this book because of all the illustrations. There were so many, and they are beautiful. But the book itself proved fun, t...moreIn truth, I mostly picked up this book because of all the illustrations. There were so many, and they are beautiful. But the book itself proved fun, too, talking about Walt Disney's life and the movies he made during his lifetime. The background information was interesting, and I learned a few new things about Disney and animation that I hadn't come across before.
I'd have given the book 5 stars, but the Dutch translation was a bit stiff, and sometimes the author seemed to lack a bit of depth in his text, just saying "this movie wasn't as good (as the first three)", but he failed to give clear reasonings.
On a more subjective note: I was surprised by him naming Pinocchio Walt's masterpiece, which I haven't really heard anyone say before. I had expected Fantasia to get that title.. but I suppose that's a reason for me to go watch Pinocchio again, haven't seen it in ages. I just remember not liking it, but maybe I should pay more attention the animation this time around.
In short: this is a quick read, and a concise history of the history of Walt Disney. Don't expect to really get to know Walt Disney however, little time is spent on his character, and he already is a mysterious, distant figure to begin with. But if you care about his movies, or the beginnings of Disneyland, this book serves quite well as an introduction.(less)
“The Housekeeper And The Professor” is a profound and lovely little book. It lacks an impressive plot, but makes up for it in the calmness it exudes,...more“The Housekeeper And The Professor” is a profound and lovely little book. It lacks an impressive plot, but makes up for it in the calmness it exudes, and its interesting characters. The fact that none of the characters have names doesn’t disrupt the plot in the slightest, and you get to know them very well still. The eccentric ex-mathematics professor with his 80-minute memory, his housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s son with a face shaped like a root.
The distinctiveness of this novel can be found in its references to mathematics and baseball. I’m unfamiliar with Japanese baseball, or baseball in general, but I learned some interesting facts, and it was interesting to find out the meaning baseball had for the professor. This professor, a great lover of mathematics, incorporates numbers into every aspect of his life. After a car crash, he lost the ability to commit new events to his long-term memory, and as such only remembers events from before the crash and of the past 80 minutes. To make up for it, he turns to his loved numbers. And the numbers so get a prominent spot in this novel. I always liked maths myself, and quite a bit of what was explained in this story are things we have discussed in class. All the same, the explanations are clear, and explained calmly, and lovingly. Reading about such love for the numbers really put my mind at ease. If you’re especially uninterested in mathematics, this might not be the right book for you. There are a lot of mathematical things discussed in the book. But if you’re only half-interested in mathematical formulas and the truth they incorporate, you might see yourself falling in love with the formulas right along with the professor’s housekeeper.
Of course there is a little story around this professor and his numbers: namely that of his housekeeper and her son, and how they get involved in his life, and learn to deal with the professor and his handicap. This bit of the story is about trial-and-error, about sympathies, and maturing, and is beautifully told.
The ending is a tiny bit sad, but fits with the overall tone of the book. Well worth a read.(less)
"Dat is het, zei je, helemaal niets stellen we voor, wat verbeelden we ons toch. We worden geraspt, uitgeveegd. Onze verhalen zijn allemaal hetzelfde,...more"Dat is het, zei je, helemaal niets stellen we voor, wat verbeelden we ons toch. We worden geraspt, uitgeveegd. Onze verhalen zijn allemaal hetzelfde, ze betekenen niets."
I wasn't completely taken in by Nooteboom's stories, but the writing was soothing, and the short stories Paula and Paula II close to brilliant. I think I should look into more of his books..(less)
This book was well on its way to getting four stars, but the last part was just creepy and strange. Despite all the signs that pointed to this ending,...moreThis book was well on its way to getting four stars, but the last part was just creepy and strange. Despite all the signs that pointed to this ending, I would've prefered seeing a different ending to this story, but I digress.
'Tongue' really seems to be about cooking. The main character is a cook, almost all she talks about is cooking, dishes, recipes, and ingredients. She calls being unable to enjoy food to be one of the human's worst illnesses. By her diagnosis, I would probably be quite ill, as I take very little enjoyment in my food. But I enjoyed most parts of this book all the same, since it spoke to me about loneliness. It's not overtly addressed in the novel, not as such. But you get the sense of absence, the strong sense of something lacking.
Maybe it's strange, but that's what I liked most about the book. If I hadn't felt the sudden action in the ending to be out of place (and creepy), I definitely would have rated the book higher. As it is now, I might still be persuaded to reread the book in later years (hopefully when I've found a sense of taste for food), but I do think I would ignore the ending. It just didn't fit well, for me.(less)