Lo's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 31, 11

Recommended for: Not many people
Read in December, 2011

There's a lot I would like to say about this book, bear with me.

For me, fiction is defined as the willful suspension of disbelief into a realm/world/place where elements of reality are still accurately maintained. In this sense, fiction allows one to distort certain ideas/things to draw attention to other more important themes. For instance, the Redwall series uses talking animals to emphasize the ideals of bravery, family, love, etc.

1Q84 fails as a fiction novel for me; Murakami chooses to distort certain elements, but in the end, he distorts so much he loses touch with the "real" element of his story. The overt theme to novel is the romance between Tengo and Aomame. However, Murakami loses focus over and over again, leaving this romance to be dull, barren, and unbelievable.

One could pose the counter argument that Murakami intentionally did not want to make this romance believable - that they were two real characters put into a supernatural world and when they come out of it, the 'real' elements resume. Yet, I find this difficult to accept - the reality of this novel is then encompassed by about 50 pages of a 1250 page novel (on my kindle) and contains Aomame going down an emergency exit and Tengo and her having (well, spoiler that you'll see coming from the beginning unless you'd thought they'd die) sex. Bleh, it's just unfathomable for me, and this novel has left me feeling cheated of a decent work of fiction.

For the other counter argument that should be brought up - that the reality aspect of the novel is contained in the characters interaction or the setting, none of that is believable or well described. The character interactions are bizarre (which can be chalked up to that this is fiction) and the setting is poorly depicted (they're on a train or in an apartment). None of it was realistic or believable for me - Twilight was almost a better fictional piece (at least Bella's crush was a realistic female aspect) (I also realize that last statement was harsh, sorry 1Q84 fans).

I wish I would rewrite this book like Tengo did for Fuka-eri. This book should have never been 1259 pages; 400 would have sufficed perfectly well to convey this story. Instead, Murakami drags us through long stories, repetitive segments, unnecessary/unrelated tangents, and excessive (yet somehow not that descriptive) detail. There were parts were it was almost painful for me to read - I kind of wanted to throw my kindle against the wall . In all honesty (which I realize takes away some of my integrity as a reader), I began skimming the useless passages about half way through the book, and I didn't feel like I had any less of a grasp on the storyline than I did from the first half (indicator of sloppy writing).

Positive wise, there is a really compelling storyline in 1Q84, but it's just hopelessly bogged down by the tedium of Murakami's writing style. He's a great parallel to his beautiful character Fuka-Eri - he has this fantastic creative and imaginative ideas, but he just does not communicate them effectively. I would enjoy recounting the summary of this book to someone else, but I wouldn't go as far as to recommend it. This book is definitely a low three star and because I am a sucker for happy endings, it was bumped up from a 2.

Who would I recommend this book to? Well, Murakami fans (I don't know how this book has over a 4 star average, but it must appeal to someone) for starters. Maybe to someone who enjoys purely supernatural fictional stories with no realistic qualities? It's a great story line, but I personally did not find it worth the time investment and exercise in patience.

Good luck to anyone who decides to tackle this walnut.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read 1Q84.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Isabelle Did you literally just say that you think Twilight is a more compelling piece of fiction than 1Q84?!?! You're cra-cra. We'll finish our discussion about this at a later time.

Isabelle Boooooo! I'm having a literary conversation with a friend I recommended this book to. He liked it and as we were discussing I went to see if I ever left a review for this book (I never did). But I re-read your review and it is upsetting. =(

back to top