Paul's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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Mar 15, 2012

really liked it

This is a very strange book for me to review, as I absolutely loved the characters and the world but found myself eagerly waiting for the book to be over.

But first, a digression. There's something extremely beautiful in the way Murakami imbues his books with surrealism. Rather than point to the strangeness, loft it upon a pedestal, and call it a day, Murakami gently circumscribes the depth of his surrealism, nudges it quietly with a strange word or an inexplicable flashback. These hints are shadows of a larger world, something supporting but completely invisible to the story he is telling. Things are mysterious and ultimately unknowable in a Murakami novel. This will either comfort or annoy the piss out of a reader.

That said, 1Q84 involves two of my favorite Murakami characters. Both are extremely capable, focused individuals stained with loneliness and, fortunately, love. Their related journeys through a world with two moons, spiritual golems, and religious zealots describe a beautifully humble form of fated love, something that feels more romantic than the more dramatic examples of such.

Thing is, at 928 pages, this novel is a testament to endurance for the reader as well. With a third of the book left I felt the timing begin to stumble, and I forced a regiment of two hours a night to finish off the entire endeavor. Somehow, despite Murakami's masterful writing, wonderful characters, and enchanting world, reading 1Q84 became a chore. And just like many things in the book, I can't explain why.

If you accept the mystery, 1Q84 is definitely worth a read – if you're willing to put in the time.
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