Beth Barnett's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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Oct 11, 2014

it was amazing
Read from July 13 to 18, 2013

This was the first Murakami book I thought to read. I think I opted for it because it was well reviewed and was reported to have elements of mystery and fantasy. Other than that I didn't know anything about the story when I started. I would hate to give too many details about the story here with spoilers, so I will avoid that. I will comment on the book in more general terms.

The book is structured with alternating chapters that focus on the two main characters, Aomame and Tengo. At first whatever connection there may be between them is not at all revealed. In fact, not knowing much about the story, I found the first 100 pages slow to get through. The characters' ordinary lives are laid out with few hints. A lot of details described actually do repeat later with more details which reveals their importance. After the initial chapters, the story picks up pace and I found myself quickly reading through the bulk of the novel.

The story is set in Tokyo in 1984, but something strange seems to be going on, and when things don't seem quite as they should, one of the characters calls the present "1Q84." What it is that is strange is slowly revealed. 1Q84 has a kind of mystery with some fantasy elements while otherwise being set in a realistic time. This is one thing that I enjoyed about the story. Since most things seem to be normal, it takes time for the characters to figure out what exactly is different about the reality they are living in and how that impacts them.

Murakami's writing style is very detailed and descriptive. Despite some fantasy-type unreal events, he doesn't write about them fancifully. He includes literary references and discussions of literature between characters occasionally. He describes the thoughts the characters are having. He never fails to describe the food they're eating.

I didn't know to expect this, but not too far into the book I found that Murakami's characters occasionally think about sex, have sex, etc. I was a little surprised when I first encountered this in the book, but it wasn't idealized or Romance Novelesque. Murakami describes his characters' sexuality in a very matter of fact way, similar to how he describes the food they eat, and it's all part of painting a full description of his human beings.

The third section of the book (the last 300 pages) slowed down for a number of reasons including the introduction of a third alternating character chapter. Mysteries were still being revealed, but the time stretches out. I found myself starting to get impatient, wanting to see it through sooner than the material would let me.

I did get through the book, though, and I read it within just a couple of weeks! In total, I really liked the book. It had a mood that appealed to me, and I found myself thinking of starting a full moon.
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Reading Progress

07/13/2013 marked as: currently-reading
07/18/2013 marked as: read

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