Joshua Lee
Joshua Lee asked:

i am struggling to finish reading this damn book. I can't stop due to the promise I made this year: Once start, finish the book. Haruki is an over valued writer.This is my thinking after reading several works of his. Am I only one thinking as this?

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Mariana I think it's important to remember that Murakami is a Japanese writer. A lot of his works have a very nuanced cultural depth to them that can be very difficult to understand or appreciate if you don't have correct cultural context to help you.

From a Japanese perspective, I think he is very interesting and very talented. His books definitely have a lot of western influence, but the attitudes in the book were quite realistic and poignant. Again, this has to do with the fact that he is a Japanese author writing primarily for a Japanese audience.

Obviously, if you don't like the author, then you don't like the author and there's nothing wrong with that. However, I do think he is a valuable author and I personally quite enjoy his novels.
Dierregi Off topic, I gave up "Once start, finish the book" behaviour. Life's too short to punish myself with reading books I dislike :-)

On topic, I read first "Norwegian Wood" and then "South of the border...". "Norwegian Wood" was interesting in a gloomy sort of way. The story made sense (kind of). "South of the border..." was more of a missed opportunity for me, but at least it was short.

1Q84 was recommended by my brother, but I am pretty sure it is the last Murakami I am going to read. I finished the first two books and I understand that this is pretty much the whole story, as other readers complained about repetitions and the third book being useless.

It is already pretty repetitive so far, and going in all directions (broken families, ghost-writers, beautiful assassins, gay bodyguards, dyslexic teenagers, religious freaks, weird private investigators, etc...), plus the fantasy, creepy elements (little people, two moons, etc..)

In my opinion, far too much material and half baked. The Tengo-Aoname story should have been the core of the book. The last part of book 2 reminded me a bit of Doctor Zivago, when the two main characters just miss each other. But it is underdevelopped, and the star-crossed lovers theme is weak.

I just found it hard to believe in their deep feelings, both because they did not bother to look for someone they loved in 20 years and because they were sleeping around so much. It is very convenient to be so in love with a ghost, while enjoying casual sex with everybody. Their attitude spoiled the romance angle.
Fernando Agüero I don't think that's a good startegy. I use it the other way: If I start and in 3 days I still don't like it, I move on. Your time has a value and if the writer is not able to get (and I also say this as a writer) your attention, you should move on to something better.
Fabia Scali-Warner I feel like 1Q84 starts really well, with the first book being amazingly good, and then kind of goes downhill from there.
I too felt like the third book in particular was going around in circles never getting anywhere.
Noble Savage I'm 80% finished (reading on a Kindle) and I'm on the fence as to whether or not I'll invest the time and effort to complete the book. Thus far my least favorite of Murakami's works.
David I think he's hugely overrated.
Aravind Murakami is polarising. yet to read 1Q84 but i have read many of his other works and love most of them. yes repetition will be there and he has some cliched tropes but i love the atmosphere he sets in his books
Ro Totally agree. I just finished it and considered that I could have reread Moby Dick or tackled Proust. First, it's is billed as a "dystopian science fiction novel," but there is little science involved unless you count two moons. It's more a fantasy. The ending was completely predictable, but there is no adequate explanation of the overarching fantasy world of the "little people."

I was surprised at the glowing critical reviews and the listing of this book as a "best literary science fiction novel.
Zhuhuan You are definitely not the only one. I am Chinese and have lived in Japan for a while, so I could probably say that I am the kind of person who understands more than other foreigners, especially readers in western countries.

Haruki's books are trendy among my Scandinavian friends, and they do like the way he tells the story in parallel lines in 1Q84. Here the other thing I feel is that his books are also good access for them to perceive Japanese culture and society. But actually for me, it is really nothing special and I am 100 percents sure I have had much more insightful stories than his.

What I could conclude is it depends on the readers' background as well as taste. In a very general way, his book could be an errorless one to get started with Asian literature. It is also very interesting to compare how eastern Asian writers tell stories in a more subtle and cryptic tone while more satires and significant ironic tones used in the western.
Camelia Not sure why this book is so ill-received. I absolutely loved every word of it. I found it extremely representative of Japanese culture and way of life, and quite intense in its understated symbolic references. It opens up a complete universe of thought and emotion that is very raw and akin, for me at least, to the intensity of Les fleurs du mal, or Das Parfum.
I am happy I managed to find something of great value to me in this book, wishing you all good luck in finding the same in any other book you read.
Gunnar Sivertsen - I don't think he is an overvalued writer. However, in "1Q84" his characters were not well defined, and I say that partly because I'm now reading his latest book, "Killing Commendatore"; the characters in this book are much better drawn; it is a more writerly book. However, what I liked about "1Q84" was the story line; on the surface it struck me as being more like a crime fiction, where you don't necessarily need to know much about the characters. On a deeper level, I regard "1Q84" as a multi-layered story where two dominant forces are pitted against each other - love versus malevolence. These two forces can be read as deeply personal, or they can be seen as somehow 'cosmic'. The scene of the battle is both set in this world but also in the world created by Tengo in his book, with two moons. - I've written a summary of my perception of the book under the question, "After you finished reading "1Q84", did you feel that you understood what the book was about?"
Dalila I started reading this book last year and stillhaven't gotten through a third of it. It's so tedious. Ugggghhh.
Rachel No, you're not the only one.
Ben Teoh you are definitely not alone. I literally just finished the third book and can safely say that 1Q84 would not receive the level of popularity/status if it was written by a less-known author.
Gage Herrmann I just gave up at about 30%. I think, as one commenter said "half-baked" is the right word. There are a lot of great threads, and they fit together nicely, but there's too much space in between them.

Also, it seems like the author has implanted his views into the story way too much. Everyone agrees with every one else. Every conversation is one sided. People realize their mistakes and are immediately forgiven. There's internal conflict, but it doesn't manifest much except. The characters are confused about stuff that they shouldn't be confused about, and certain about things they shouldn't be certain about.
Anita B I have only read one of his books, Norwegian Wood and I understand this is not his typical style of writing but I was less than impressed and I was thinking well..gotta try one of his novels that is more surrealist and what he is better known for but after reading so many reviews I have a feeling your thoughts are probably on the mark and perhaps he is overvalued. I still will challenge myself in trying to read 1Q84.
Rhonda I give you permission to quit this book . . . really any book. If you're not obliged to read it for school or work, stop when you feel like it.

I quit on this book at page 265. I'm reading it in English, the writing is fine but not exciting or exceptional in any way. I'm bored with all the sex references and have yet to identify one character I like at all.

I lived in Tokyo for over a decade in the 1980s so I thought this would be fun for me. It wasn't. Tokyo was -- perhaps still is -- awesome. This book is not.

This is one of those books for other people. Let yourself move onto something you find worthwhile.
Maryferidoon It is not only you. This book is misogynistic and lengthy repeated paragraphs. I might be missing some elements of the Japanese culture symbols to make it more interesting. It would be a pity that no Japanese thought to put a good critique online. I really searched for interpretations, but didn't find anything that compensate for the length and excessive repetition. This book is one of his worst that I've read. When I read "Kafka in the Shore" and "After Dark" in Persian, I though the brilliance is probably lost in translation. When I read "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the world" in English, I thought it is not his best but it wasn't a bad novel & 400 pages, not ~1000. After reading IQ84, I should be done with his BS. Yes, he seems overrated to me and it might have taken me 4 books so far to establish that. There is a mild chance that I would read the Norwegian woods in future, but that would need a lot of research before reading. Until then, I would say, he is overrated, and more people need to say that! I only finished this book because I listened to the audiobook while driving.
Zina I am absolutely in love with this book. I think, it helps to approach it as a beautiful symphony and allow yourself the time to enjoy the ways the different melodies interweave rather than expecting to rush through some action.
Michelle I started this book about 5 years ago and put it down. I couldn’t get into the characters. Just wasn’t feeling the vibe... I moved to Tokyo 4 years ago. I picked up the book again in June this year. Made a huge difference for me. I could relate to the characters better and I could picture many of the places he referenced in Tokyo. All in all I’m happy I finally finished it and while it wasn’t my favourite type of story I found it enjoyable in the end. I also liked the take on the title. Replacing 9 for Q as I learned that 9 in Japanese is kyu😉
Nicole I loved it, but I don't think I would have liked it as much if I hadn't lived in Japan, to be honest.
Lou Rishchynski I enjoyed "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" so I thought I would give what looked to be his magnum opus (based on length) a shot. Like you, I had much difficulty finishing the book. I honestly feel he could have made it stronger at 75% of the length with little or no loss in character
development and plot line. I'll give him 1 more chance, albeit with a much shorter book. Any suggestions out there?

My recommendation to others, you're in for a long slog. Check out one of his shorter titles.
Ann J 5 years later, my answer is no. I finished it, FINALLY. Really overrated. So much of this book could be edited out, probably a third of it.
Jester You are definitely not. I get very frustrated reading his books and I feel like they drag endlessly with very little entertainment value.
Paul Manytravels I totally agree with you. The writing is good but he can’t seem to stop rambling along well beyond what needed to be written. At first, I thought I would want to read more books by him. Later, I got a lot smarter. One was too many.
Gbolahan I don't know if you're only one thinking as this.

Now that I've answered your 4 year old question, I think you telling us that you CAN'T break a promise you made is pretentious. You don't WANT TO break promises, that's fine. Don't come here and be telling us you CAN'T. YOU CAN. IF YOU WANT TO.

Please don't crucify me. 😂
Jeanette Obviously you are not alone. I have to admit that I loved book 1 so much that I felt like I had found an amazing jewel of a novel and wanted to share this book with everyone - the writing was beautiful. Book 2 was very interesting, and shocking, but starting to get confusing. Book 3......uh. I haven't been able to figure out if I was confused or just too bored to even try to follow what was going on. I thought it was just me - so I have actually started this book 3 times and keep shutting about 150 pages from the end. i just can't do it! I'm so glad it's not just me. I do actually think the author is talented and want to read some of his other works, but I'm going to just let myself off the hook with this one and not make a 4th attempt.
Jordan Oh my goodness, yes. I started this over a month ago and put it down, and while the story is very creative and original, there is so much going on, but not enough being explained. I know I have to keep reading to get the explanation I want, obviously, but I'm just not as interested as I want to be.
Jeanne Mixon If you don't like it, stop reading. I don't think that is a very productive rule for yourself to read anything whether it works for you or not.
Mariana Japanese writing it's difficult for western readers, because of the symbolism and culture background. I read After dark, it was complicated, misterious and left me with the "wtf" sensation at the end.

Not a fan of Murakami, too hard for me, and not a fan of Japanese literature in general.
Lekshmy Shaji Agree with you.. I didn't find this book particularly interesting either and gave up after about 80 pages. I felt the narration is far too slow / over descriptive for my liking.
Vivek Kumar I completed this in 3 days and i was just wanted to read chapter 1 but i ended up reading it all.
Joanna I felt the same. I've read a few of his other works like After Dark and I think it is not the right genre for me- too abstract.

I did read 1Q84 to the end. It was tedious, there was lots of repetition to the point I thought 'OK I GET IT!!' and yet it seriously lacked on explanation lots of other parts, information which you would've wanted to know!
Moudhi Al-Abduljader me too, It is my first Murakami, I've read few pages written by his translator "The music of words" about his style of writing,
so I purchase the book during my trip to London and had its large weight on my luggage with his expectation, it's been a year since I've started reading the book and I still can't seem to finish the first part.
On every occasion I convince myself that I'm going to finish it before my birthday.. I'm going to finish it before my vacation ends..etc.

and still..
I'll trying to finish the first book and see how it goes.
Lisa I rarely abandon a book and I've enjoyed other Murakami work. But boy, this one is tedious. Repetitively inane, if there is a payout in the end, it can't be worth it. Cheers to "life is too short to torture yourself with bad books."
Mello I feel like I wasted valuable time. Started off promising and then utter disappointment.
Micklemas I went through the same struggle. I learned that the author intended this as 3 separate books. So I read up to book 1, changed books, and will read books 2 and 3 at later dates. I am at that rock and a hard place with this book: Not so great that I cannot stop reading it, but not so bad that I can kick it to the curb either. I like the author's clean, minimal style but I cannot do it for over 1,000 pages. Even my favorite authors, I need to take breaks from them too.
Alisa Bagrova I'm currently reading this book, the first one I read was Norwegian Wood. When I started 1Q84, my first thoughts were, not again.... I was really surprised how much I disliked Norwegian Wood and 1Q84 didn't seem like it was going to interest me (and there are quite a few pages to finish for something you may dislike). At the moment I have read around 25% and I have to say, it's actually quite an easy read and I am enjoying it in a way. I actually do like it and I hope I don't have any different feelings as I read more.
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