I just finished 1Q84 and already I've begun to notice strange peculiarities in the world around me. As I closed the book and stood up, I looked around...moreI just finished 1Q84 and already I've begun to notice strange peculiarities in the world around me. As I closed the book and stood up, I looked around my shabby apartment. Same walls, same badly painted walls, same James Dean poster, but something seemed off. Something infinitesimal. The walls seemed closer or were they further away? And James, wasn't there a cigarette clasped between your lips before? Now you're just staring off into space with that amazing, casual air of indifference. I shut my eyes and shake my head. It's just the residual effect of Murakami's prose, I tell myself. Nothing more. I went about the rest of my day as usual but late that night I fell into a restless sleep. I had the strangest dream...
I dreamt of him. You know... the one. The one I love. The one separated from me because of timing and distance and all the other inane trivialities that prevent us from taking the next logical step. In my dream he was reading 1Q84 as well. Well actually he was just finishing it, closing it with a self-satisfied thwack, for it is quite a tome. Then he just sat there, comtemplatively, his fingers steepled together in a pyramid under his chin. And suddenly I appeared there with him in my dream.
I, like, just walked in from off-stage and sat down on the floor in front of him cross-legged. Is it weird to appear in your own dream? I don't know if that's ever happened to me before. Anyways, we just talked all night about 1Q84, about Tengo and Aomame, the star-crossed, NO moon-crossed lovers. We talked about the people they knew and loved. Ayumi, Komatsu and Tengo's dad. Tengo's married older lover. The dowager that befriends and mentors Aomame and her stoic level-headed gay bodyguard Tamaru. We discussed Fuka-Eri and the strange cult, Sakigake, she escaped, and the stranger story she wrote that Tengo had been hired to ghostwrite: Air Chrysalis. How this story acts as a catalyst for the whole novel, it gets is moving. Ushikawa, Leader, Buzzcut and Ponytail, Tsubasa, Professor Ebisuno, and the three nurses that Tengo meets. How he compares them to the witches from Macbeth. And so many literary references, it's like Murakami is name dropping! Dickens, Proust and Chekov- to name a few.
And The Little People. How could we forget The Little People?! How they just appear strangely and build the elusive Air Chrysalis. The huge, womb-like, peanut-shaped, furry, glowing, egg thingy that materializes by their hands seemingly out of thin air. What does the Air Chrysalis represent? And how does it tie in with Sakigake and Fuka-Eri? And, utimately, what's inside it?
But more than anything, as I looked up into the eyes of the man I adored, we spoke of love. How this is above all A Love Story, and an unbelievably hopeful one at that. Because in 1Q84 true love exists and it matters, it makes a difference! It obliterates obstacles, it takes on a life of it's own. And the connections that we make, that we forge, they last. They live and breathe. They are not ephemeral, gossamer.
And then I just woke up, the dream dissolved as abruptly as it began.
Anyways after that I didn't really notice any changes in the world around me. James Dean looks normal to me now. But maybe I've just become accustomed to it all.
I don't know what Murakami is tapped into, I don't know where his talent, his inspiration comes from, but it never fails to move me. There's an ease and an elegance to his prose. And it is absolutely, magnificently beyond beautiful. He defies classification... I could go on and on. He's a world class writer and this is a world class book.(less)
This is a complex novel, one that required two reads for me. It tells two stories in alternating chapters. In the first we meet a mild-mannered data p...moreThis is a complex novel, one that required two reads for me. It tells two stories in alternating chapters. In the first we meet a mild-mannered data processor, only all his "processing" is done inside his head. See... he can do this thing, or he had this thing done to him that allows him to access both hemispheres of his brain simultaneously yet separately. He gets recruited for some top-secret government project led by some mad scientist type, who lives holed up in a cave (under a waterfall) with his buxom daughter. She is curious, virginal and perpetually attired in pink. Oh ya, and this mad scientist has this uncanny ability to remove sound. All the sound, all the sound in the world.
The second story involves another man. He has arrived in a new village. One entirely surrounded by high walls, really, really high walls. Unicorns graze and sleep in this peaceful hamlet. But in this town, mysteries abound. He is assigned a job. He is forced to give up his shadow and is put to work reading the old dreams out of unicorn skulls. The town inhabitants alter his eyes and sequester him to the "library" where all the skulls are kept. He meets a lovely assistant, he works hard, long hours in the dark. He becomes accustomed to it. All the while he is determined to have his shadow returned to him.
Are these two stories connected? And how? And these two men, are they the same person, two distinct people, or different aspects of one subconscious? Why do these two stories alternate? What does the shadow signify? And the unicorns? (Not to mention the skulls.) All these questions are what keep this novel going. And along the way you get the usual delightful Murakami musings. And Murakami's words, his prose, his verbage, the way he can turn a phrase... it all continues to STUN me, it FLOORS me and fascinates me. And this novel is no exception. Although I still haven't quite figured it out. Yet.(less)
I can't explain it! I want to inhale the pages of this book, grind them up, and snort them right up my nose! I want in placed directly in my brain, my...moreI can't explain it! I want to inhale the pages of this book, grind them up, and snort them right up my nose! I want in placed directly in my brain, my very Bloodstream! Murakami's words make me feel just like Nicole Kidman in that scene in Moulin Rouge where she is rolling around on that fur rug in her negligee, moaning and writhing in pleasure and saying 'Yes! Yes! Dirty words! More! More! Naughty words!' Although Murakami's words aren't so much naughty and dirty as they are prismatic and mysterious. I wish I could weave his sentences into a rug to roll around on. They're magical and mystical... they break my heart.(less)
How can I put into words the magnificence of this book?! I CAN'T! But I'll tell you what, I'm gonna find an old abandoned well and crawl to the bottom...moreHow can I put into words the magnificence of this book?! I CAN'T! But I'll tell you what, I'm gonna find an old abandoned well and crawl to the bottom, and then I'm gonna sit there for three days with nothing to eat and only water to drink and all I'm gonna do is think about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and how it is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, how I want to read it again right now, how it moved me to tears on numerous occasions, how it's evocative prose sucked me in and held me down... how I had to force myself to stop reading just so I could make it last.
And after that I will crawl out into the glaring sunlight and lay down in the tall grass. I will let the sunlight permeate my body and I will feel satisfied because I know that true beauty and true horror exist in this world simultaneously. And I know that the power of the written word still has the ability to take my breath away, to leave me reeling. This book gives me hope. (less)
i don't even know what to say about this book. it took my breath away and when it ended i could have kept reading for 500 more pages or more. it was e...morei don't even know what to say about this book. it took my breath away and when it ended i could have kept reading for 500 more pages or more. it was elusive, mysterious, fascinating, heartbreaking, strange and above all beautifully constructed. one of the best books i've read in a long time.(less)