Neil's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Jun 27, 2016

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bookshelves: tournament-of-books-2012
Read from March 18 to August 29, 2012

By the time I finished the second book of this alternative-world story, I was won over by the inventive story and compelling lead characters--despite the often clunky prose. My only experience with Murakami was one short story, so I don't know if it was a problem with the translation, an intentional choice made for this novel, or something else, but so many sentences read like they were created by an inexperienced writer, and there's a lot of unnecessary repetition (in addition to the artful repetitions that make rhymes between the characters' experiences).

Despite those drawbacks, the twin stories of a personal trainer who moonlights as an indetectable assassin of abusive men and a math teacher who rewrites the novel of a girl who grew up in a mysterious religious cult led by her father--these stories become quite gripping. As the second book reached its tense climax, with the trainer, I was eagerly turning pages to find out what would happen next.

Then the third book happened.

To be fair, the last third does a fine job of resolving the stories of the main characters. But the incredible richness of the alternative world that they fall into drops away, leaving behind much of what makes the novel so fascinating. There's enough good stuff here that if you read it, it'll keep you going, but it didn't feel like it added up to much in the end.
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Reading Progress

03/27 page 309
33.0% "End of the first book. First time reading a Murakami novel (I think I've read one short story before) and I'm struck by the clunkiness of the prose (particularly when it's about sex) as well as the inventive ideas. Is it a function of the translation? A cultural difference? Or an intentional stylistic choice made specifically for this story? Dunno enough to make a guess yet."
04/07 page 591
64.0% "End of book two. The middle third of this--particularly with Aomame and the Leader--became quite a page-turner. The whole thing could be a little tighter and some of the prose is still clunky, but very interesting ideas floating around." 4 comments
06/22 marked as: read
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