Chad Sayban's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Mar 19, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: highly-recommended, own, home-library
Read from January 15 to February 10, 2013 — I own a copy , read count: 1

The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre 'proposal' to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?

"Eyes closed, Aomame listened to the music, allowing the lovely unison of the brasses to sink into her brain. Just then it occurred to her that the sound quality was too good for a radio in a taxicab. Despite the rather low volume at which it was playing, the sound had true depth, and the overtones were clearly audible. She opened her eyes and leaned forward to study the dashboard stereo. The jet-black device shone with a proud gloss. She couldn’t make out its brand name, but it was obviously high-end, with lots of knobs and switches, the green numerals of the station readout clear against the black panel. This was not the kind of stereo you expected to see in an ordinary fleet cab.

She looked around at the cab’s interior. She had been too absorbed in her own thoughts to notice until now, but this was no ordinary taxi. The high quality of the trim was evident, and the seat was especially comfortable above all, it was quiet. The car probably had extra sound insulation to keep noise out, like a soundproofed music studio. The driver probably owned his own cab. Many such owner-drivers would spare no expense on the upkeep of their automobiles. Moving only her eyes, Aomame searched for the driver’s registration card without success. This did not seem to be an illegal, unlicensed cab, though. It had a standard taxi meter which was ticking off the proper fare: ¥2150 so far. Still, the registration card showing the drivers name was nowhere to be found."

If Margaret Atwood and Stephen King had a lovechild who was raised in Japan by George Orwell, Haruki Murakami might very well be the result. And 1Q84 - Murakami’s tip-of-the-hat to Orwell’s 1984 - touches all of the bases. Told from three, first-person perspectives, 1Q84 brings together the fantastical with the bedrock of human motivation. While it was published as a trilogy in Japan, 1Q84 was released as a single, 924 page volume in the United States.

In spite of the length of 1Q84 and the painstaking storytelling, I was never bored once. In fact, Murakami’s writing pulled me along with such ferocity that I never even considered pausing to read something else at the end of each book. He weaves the seemingly unconnected plot threads together with so many strong, unique characters, but never abandons the soul of the story – the love between two people and their desperate bid to be together.

Murakami’s writing is a thing of beauty – especially when you realize that the story was written in Japanese and translated into English (Murakami was heavily involved in the translation). If 1Q84 had been attempted by almost any other writer, it would have probably have quickly become tedious and failed as a story. But Murakami makes us not just want to keep reading, but need to keep reading. An amazing storytelling journey I recommend to anyone who wants to try something off the beaten path that is written with a deft touch. Easily one of my favorite stories ever.
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Quotes Chad Liked

Haruki Murakami
“That's what the world is , after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.”
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Haruki Murakami
“If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there's salvation in life. Even if you can't get together with that person.”
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Reading Progress

01/15/2013 page 54
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Looks like an interesting read...might have to try this one!

Chad Sayban It's good so far.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Got it on my wish list at Amazon to download to Kindle when I get ready for it. Thanks!

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