Richard's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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Jul 03, 12

bookshelves: japanese-literature, fantasy, reviewed, 2012, lent-out-or-mia
Read in June, 2012

I bought this shortly after New Year's. I can tell you from what bookstore I bought it. I could point out approximately (but not exactly) the rack from which I selected it. I remember the person who accompanied me at the time. I don't know exactly what I was wearing—but it was probably a sweater of some sort with a t-shirt underneath, worn but serviceable dress pants and well polished brown or black shoes. I know that my clothes were fitting well, and were not too snug, because my recent efforts at losing weight had met with somewhat more than moderate success, even though I'd just come through the Christmas holidays. I don't remember what my friend was wearing but it was probably jeans, a t-shirt and a denim jacket. I could tell you a lot of my friend's back story, although he probably would not appreciate it, and in any case it is not relevant to the review, except indirectly. I don't remember whether there was music playing in the store, how many people were in the line up at the cashier, what the woman who took my money was wearing, or whether the bills I gave her were freshly minted or creased and crinkled. I do know that there was a significant discount on the book, which was a factor that contributed to my buying it.

If (in some sort of alternate reality version of our world) I lived in Japan and were enrolled in a creative writing course taught by a doppelganger of Mr. Murakami, I would no doubt flunk out. Spectacularly.
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Reading Progress

01/02/2012 page 14
2.0%
01/11/2012 page 27
3.0% 2 comments
05/22/2012 page 211
23.0% 4 comments
05/23/2012 page 240
26.0% 2 comments
05/24/2012 page 285
31.0% 9 comments
05/25/2012 page 314
34.0% 1 comment
05/26/2012 page 413
45.0% 1 comment
05/28/2012 page 550
59.0% 2 comments
05/30/2012 page 550
59.0% "This author has an endless fascination for recording the brand names of everything a character buys or wears!" 2 comments
05/31/2012 page 617
67.0% "There's a short humorous passage about the reading of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Apparently in order to succeed, you need to be in isolation with nothing else to do." 5 comments
06/02/2012 page 831
90.0% 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-46 of 46) (46 new)

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Daniel I just started this last night; seemed like a good way to open the new year in reading.


Richard Daniel wrote: "I just started this last night; seemed like a good way to open the new year in reading."

I've seen some interesting reviews of this so I wanted to try it as well. What I've noticed from reading just the first few pages is the meticulous detail with which the author describes everything!


Daniel Richard wrote: "Daniel wrote: "I just started this last night; seemed like a good way to open the new year in reading."

I've seen some interesting reviews of this so I wanted to try it as well. What I've notice..."


He does that, yes. He goes into the same kind of detail in "Wind-up Bird Chronicle;" by the fifth time he described exactly what the narrator was preparing for dinner, I was ready to skim any mention of culinary-related subjects for the remainder of the book.


Daniel How's this treating you? I'm about 100 pages deep and intrigued. I'm glad that I've decided to take my time with it, though, otherwise I would start getting antsy about the pacing.


Richard Daniel wrote: "How's this treating you? I'm about 100 pages deep and intrigued. I'm glad that I've decided to take my time with it, though, otherwise I would start getting antsy about the pacing."

I'm trying to finish up some other ones first before seriously tackling this. But if you are interested in a "buddy-read" I will try to catch up.


Daniel No pressure at all, I just like passing impressions back and forth during a read--especially during an epic one like this.


Richard Daniel wrote: "No pressure at all, I just like passing impressions back and forth during a read--especially during an epic one like this."

I don't comment every time I do a status update, but if I come across something really interesting, I will pass it by you.


message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus I hope you enjoy this. Make sure you crash through any barriers rather than let them crash you.

You need to get a run up and dive at it.


Richard My problem is that I always tackle too many books at the same time--and 2 of them are enormous. Some of them invariably get shoved to the back of the queue longer than they should.


message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus I normally only put one on my list, but I've got four on at the moment, because I can't decide.

I need a wedgie like the Goons.


message 11: by Colin (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes Ah! I must get to this!


message 12: by Richard (last edited Mar 19, 2012 06:53PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Richard So must I! I haven't opened it since mid-January! :( There is too much other fun stuff out there to read.


message 13: by Colin (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes I know! I have a pile building up in my bedroom. I can't help myself.


Richard LOL! The plight of the biblioholic!


message 15: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary I am definately a biblioholic!! I like that term. Stealing it!

So, I have this on my shelf..... great summer read, you think? I loved THE WIND UP BIRD CHRONICLES. My son actually had a copy of it,and I read his,and liked it so much I bought my own copy and 2 or 3 of his other novels. Then this one came out in Hardback. I was first in line. Then the 3 volume paperback edition is quite cool......decisions, decisions.


message 16: by Richard (last edited May 25, 2012 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Richard Gary wrote: "I am definitely a biblioholic!! I like that term. Stealing it!

So, I have this on my shelf..... great summer read, you think? I loved THE WIND UP BIRD CHRONICLES. My son actually had a copy of it,..."


Gary, I borrowed the term from Tom Raabe who wrote this book: Biblioholism, Revised Edition: The Literary Addiction (My edition is earlier I think.) I'm sure Raabe would be willing to have you use the term, as long as you also use the book to try to get your condition under control! :)

I'm not sure if I'd call 1Q84 a "great summer read," but it's definitely interesting.


Richard Friends, Thanks for your good opinion of this flippant little review!


Jonathan It was interesting, but so not my style. I had to quit and admit that the book had defeated me. And it wasn't a matter of translating culture it was just the fact that it was too bizarre.


message 19: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus The thing is to wear a helmet cam, and spend half of your waking life wearing it around and the other half transcribing it in real time.


trish Eating my simple snack of white popped corn and drinking my just-poured glass of pomegranate seltzer and scrutinizing my uneven, yet ample breasts, I realized that you had written the best review ever!


Richard trish wrote: "Eating my simple snack of white popped corn and drinking my just-poured glass of pomegranate seltzer and scrutinizing my uneven, yet ample breasts, I realized that you had written the best review ..."

Trish: Thank you so much! I can virtually taste your snack and see, er, the amused smile on your face. Can you see mine as I type this brief yet effusive reply?


message 22: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus I can't tell you what this thread has done to my asymmetrical prostate.


Richard Ian wrote: "I can't tell you what this thread has done to my asymmetrical prostate."

I am prostate with laughter.


Jonathan Ah so that's what you were doing on the floor...


Richard Jonathan wrote: "Ah so that's what you were doing on the floor..."

Yes, Ian just floors me with his comments sometimes.


Jonathan I guess that indicates there are few major flaws in those comments. Sometimes he may even blow the roof off the place.


message 27: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus Sorry, I've just returned from "Cosmopolis".


message 28: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus Jonathan wrote: "I guess that indicates there are few major flaws in those comments. Sometimes he may even blow the roof off the place."

I can be too off the wall for that.


message 29: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Ian wrote: "Sorry, I've just returned from "Cosmopolis"."


And? Your Verdict?


message 30: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Paganus I liked it, but it would be difficult to like if you didn't like the book. The Pattsy didn't really warm up until the last scenes.


message 31: by Andy (last edited Nov 14, 2012 01:23PM) (new)

Andy Richard, I don't know how to break this to you, but this IS an alternate reality version of your world. If you'd been paying attention to all the little details, you might have picked up on that. It's kinda interesting that the process also brought in your history, too... kinda like the inverse of the process of the shadow men in John Dies at the End when they disappear somebody.


Richard Andy wrote: "Richard, I don't know how to break this to you, but this IS an alternate reality version of your world. If you'd been paying attention to all the little details, you might have picked up on that. I..."

Whaa? 1Q84 is f-f-f-fiction? *Shudder*


Jonathan Richard wrote: "Andy wrote: "Richard, I don't know how to break this to you, but this IS an alternate reality version of your world. If you'd been paying attention to all the little details, you might have picked ..."

Oh, now that I know it's fiction I might give it another go :p


message 34: by Paula (new) - rated it 1 star

Paula Bravo! Except that you would get an Ain Mr.Murakami's class. I loved your review- I have to say it took me a minute before the light went on, very clever. So why 3 stars?


message 35: by Richard (last edited Nov 15, 2012 10:30AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Richard Paula wrote: "Bravo! Except that you would get an Ain Mr.Murakami's class. I loved your review- I have to say it took me a minute before the light went on, very clever. So why 3 stars?"

It took too long to read. And it had too many features which irritated, e.g. brand names and meticulous descriptions for anything a character, wore, ate, drove, shot or bought. Often a character would be given a name on what the author thought was a "need-to-know" basis, i.e. the dowager and Tengo's mistress are not given names until someone else happens to mention their names (in both cases when they are no longer "on stage"). The snarky comments about Proust were funny at first but got old quite fast. On a deeper level, the standards of morality used in the novel were ambiguous at best; if I go into too much detail I might drop spoilers. There may be a few more things, but I think you get the picture. In spite of all this, I did like the novel, but not quite enough to give it four or five stars.

Thank you for your kind appreciation of my tongue-in-cheek review.

Thanks to others as well for recent likes.


Maciek I've read several of his novels, and this is the one I disliked. Tedius beyond belief and overwrought with minutiae to the point of madness, I almost gave up but wanted to finish it - then I wished I had given up earlier! Most of my GR friends loved it. We're one of the few voices of dissent.


Richard Maciek wrote: "I've read several of his novels, and this is the one I disliked. Tedius beyond belief and overwrought with minutiae to the point of madness, I almost gave up but wanted to finish it - then I wished..."

Hurray for Maciek the Maverick! :)


Maciek :)


message 39: by Paula (new) - rated it 1 star

Paula Richard,
I didnt mean that 3 stars was insufficent, I meant that it was overly genreous. I think your reiew was the most entertaing thing about the book. Im just sorry I had to read(most of) the book before your review made sense ;) Thank you for taking the time to reply. I am sure I will catch you later as I feel your reviews, now that I "got" this one, are quite valuable.
PJ


message 40: by Richard (last edited Nov 20, 2012 08:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Richard Paula wrote: "Richard,
I didnt mean that 3 stars was insufficent, I meant that it was overly genreous. I think your reiew was the most entertaing thing about the book. Im just sorry I had to read(most of) the..."


Thank you, Paula! That's so kind!

According to the system, 3 stars means "liked it" and I did, because there were some good things about the book. The characterization of some of the minor characters was good, particularly Tengo's co-worker and the detective. Murakami also introduces elements of alternative reality in a subtle way so that at first you don't notice them, but later somehow you find it easy to suspend your disbelief. [EDIT: On second thought, maybe he wasn't that subtle, after all!]

But if I had known what I was in for before I started the book, would I have read it? Now THAT'S a hard one to answer!


message 41: by Andy (new)

Andy Richard wrote: "But if I had known what I was in for before I started the book, would I have read it? Now THAT'S a hard one to answer! "

So now that you know, would you recommend it? I've never read any of his work, but... I was going to say the name has popped up, but I think it was in your posts. (existence of a second moon, etc.) Would you recommend this book or one of his others?


Richard Andy wrote: "Richard wrote: "But if I had known what I was in for before I started the book, would I have read it? Now THAT'S a hard one to answer! "

So now that you know, would you recommend it? I've never re..."


I haven't read any of his other works, so unfortunately I can't compare. Like almost any other author, he has his devotees and his detractors. I don't want to deter anyone from reading it, but it takes some determination to get through. It has its good points and bad points. If you would like my advice, borrow it from somewhere, try the first 50-100 pages and see what you think.


Richard Hi Gary, Thanks for the unexpected Christmas present! You've bumped this up to 50 likes, which I think is a record for me! (But who's counting?)


Maciek Richard wrote: "Hi Gary, Thanks for the unexpected Christmas present! You've bumped this up to 50 likes, which I think is a record for me! (But who's counting?)"

Congratulations, Richard! You are becoming a celebrity!


Richard Maciek wrote: "Richard wrote: "Hi Gary, Thanks for the unexpected Christmas present! You've bumped this up to 50 likes, which I think is a record for me! (But who's counting?)"

Congratulations, Richard! You are ..."


Thank you, Maciek! :)


message 46: by Ram (new) - added it

Ram Kumar Wow! I'm ordering this book right now, Richard!


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