Ryan's Reviews > 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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Nov 04, 2011

it was amazing
Read from March 13 to April 19, 2015

I expected this book to be a lot of work, but ultimately worth it. It's lengthy, and I'd never read Murakami before and feared that he might be someone whose work would make for a slow read. Having just finished the book though, I'm delighted to see that it was completely worth the effort, and that it really required no amount of work at all to push myself through this excellent novel.
Though it checks in at nearly 1,000 pages, it never once gets bogged down or even meanders off of the path of interesting and engaging, and Murakami's style is such that fifty pages can go by without you even realizing just how fast you are tearing through the book. His ability to make even the smallest plot point or activity in a character's daily life into a few pages of fascinating reading is incredible, and not like anything I've ever read before.
Which isn't to say that this is a novel that stays on a small scale. Rather it takes on reality and world itself. In this novel, the world takes a detour into another timeline of sorts, like a train that switched tracks somewhere along the way, only no one aside from our protagonists and a few select antagonists are aware of it. Comic book readers and Sci-Fi fans will be well-equipped to understand this sort of thing. In this new reality, our two protagonists Aomame and Tengo are fully fleshed-out and developed as characters that unknowingly play a central role in the development of this new reality, and who have their own, intermingled past, though neither of them knows so much as the whereabouts of the other any longer.
The Little People, a premise that is too complex to delve into too much in this review, and the shadow religious organization Sakigake that bases itself off of them are left in the darkness, at the fringes of the readers' and the protagonists' consciousness for almost the entirety of the novel, and there are never many answers forthcoming about their nature, but I loved that this never devolved into a save-the-world sort of plot. The ending was note-perfect in my mind, including more vagueness and uncertainty for Tengo and Aomame after the book spends so much of its time pointing towards their eventual rejoining.
A book of this length can, of course, always be shorter, and I think the Ushikawa chapters in the second half of the book are a clear example of how that could have been achieved. Though I didn't care for them that much, I mostly accept their necessity, and their frequency was done in order to keep with the rhythm of the chapters that Murakami establishes early, but they were certainly the only thing resembling a weak spot that I could pick out from this otherwise sterling novel.
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03/13/2015 marked as: currently-reading
04/20/2015 marked as: read
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