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1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3)
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Archived 2013 Group Reads > 1Q84 05: Book 1 - Chapters 17-19

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Kristi (kristicoleman) Thoughts and feeling for this section?

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Chapter 17 - Aomame tells the Dowager of killing Tamaki's husband. The Dowager approves, but her notions of revenge, or justice, can take non-lethal forms as well, as with the social ostracism she inflicted on her son-in-law. The Dowager had earlier observed that, despite people's nature of wrestling with good or evil, in the long sweep of history their fundamental condition has changed very little. Genes, which control the basis for how we live, don't care about good or evil, or whether we're happy or unhappy.

The Dowager introduced Aomame to the victim of the next man she wants killed, a very powerful man. It is a child who has suffered brutal sexual assault, which the child attibutes to the Little People. So the child, Tsubasa, is tied to Fuka-Eri's world, and presumably comes from Sakigake, whose Leader may be the powerful man in the Dowager's crosshairs.

Chapter 18 - Fuka-Eri's press conference is a success and sales of Air Chrysalis get off to a spectacular start. Tengo meets with Fuka-Eri and Ebisono. Ebisono reveals to Tengo his ulterior motive for going along with Komatsu's scheme: he hopes the resulting attention on Fuka-Eri sheds a light on Sakigake and the fate of her parents. As they speculate on what caused Sakigake to mutate from agricultural commune to religion, Fuka-Eri interjects "It's because the Little People came." The professor suggests that the Little People are an allegorical parallel with Big Brother in Orwell's 1984, in that their coming on the scene seems to have had an undermining or corrupting effect. Tengo expresses concern that publication of Air Chrysalis may flush a tiger out from the Sakigake underbrush, but Fuka-Eri reassures him "No tiger will come out."

Chapter 19 - Aomame learns of Tsubasa's link to Sakigake and the Dowager's targeting of the Leader as Tsubasa's accuser and Aomame's next victim. The Dowager draws a parallel between the religious sect of Aomame's childhood with Sakigake. As the Dowager and Tsubasa sleep in the same room at the safe house, the Little People climb out of Tsubasa's mouth and engage in crafting some kind of "fluffy, white object," while two moons shine overhead. Aside from Air Chrysalis, this it the first reference to the two moons existing outside of Aomeme's awareness or perception of them. Interestingly, as Aomame was leaving the safe house earlier, after her meeting there, she observed a scene that did not look real, as if in an imaginary painting. The safe house seems to blur the lines between the world of Air Chrysalis and Aomame's 1Q84.

More comments...

Until reading these chapters, I hadn't paid much attention to the epigraphs at the start of each chapter. I found that going back and tracing them to their places in the chapters perhaps revealed some points that Murakami wanted to underscore. They are included in my comments above.

I enjoyed the explicit tie of Orwell's 1984 to the story.

Fuka-Eri continues to be a fascinating enigma. Is the apparent allegory of Air Chrysalis the only way that a damaged soul, a kind of idiot-savant, can tell her story? Or is she way ahead of us all, like a visitor from the future? I loved her comments at the end of chapter 18: "You don't get it...We are one...We wrote the book together...No tiger will come out." It's almost like she's telling him that he's under her protection. Their fates are linked, and since she's a survivor, so shall he be.

Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments At the end of Chapter 19 we finally witness The Little People emerging from Tsubasa's mouth. Finally, some real reality warping is happening (besides the two moons thing)! Really reminded me about the battle scene in the end of Kafka on the Shore and Murakami's short story TV People. I wonder what they are up to...

Zulfiya (ztrotter) The end of the last chapter was the culmination of all those underlying messages about the other reality, and the two moons were only precursors; the Little People now are the phenomenon of this reality. All the pretenses and speculations about whether it is a dream, a hallucination, a figment of someone's imagination should be forgotten because the impossible possible, or is it?

I am really enjoying how the unrealistic is gradually creeping in, and the general picture is becoming more and more gruesome. The narrative seamlessly combines the unrealistic and the realistic images and outlooks, and this eclectic combination is the most attractive feature of the novel so far.

Deana (ablotial) Wow. The little people coming out of the girl's mouth was NOT what i was expecting at all. I am very interested to learn more about them and where they ate from and how they survive inside the girl. Are they controlling her? Does Eri have them inside her as well?

I an amazed by Eri's ability to recite the poem by memory and with wonderful intonation given her usual lack of communication skills. I wonder if something like this is how she did so well at the award ceremony. Someone (Azami?) Told her exactly what to say and she was just repeating it back, intonation and all?

John (johnred) | 364 comments Hi everyone! I am just reading this excellent book now, but I am enjoying all of the observations in these threads as I read.

I have a question about something that happened in this section, regarding the Japanese language.

I can't find the exact passage right now, one point, when the Dowager is relating Tsubasa's story to Aomame, Aomame wonders about the meaning of the name "Sakigake".

Presumably they are speaking Japanese, so why would Aomame have any need to translate to herself? Is the word "Sakigake" an archaic term maybe? Or a different dialect? Or was this put in for the English translation?

I realize it's not a vital issue, I'm just curious :)

Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments I think they were talking about the meaning of kanji characters that make up the word as individual symbols. One example I can think of in English language is last names like Blackwood or Green, or Smith... We don't normally think of the words that make up a last name (like Black and Wood), drawing no associations when we pronounce it. In Japan certain names are lucky because of the words they are made of, and some are ominous for the very same reasons. That's why Aomame's own name is often discussed in the book, noting how unusual for someone to have a name like "green bean". That's my theory.

John (johnred) | 364 comments Ah, good analogy! That makes it clearer, thanks :)

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