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1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3)
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Archived 2013 Group Reads > 1Q84 - Final Thoughts

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message 1: by Kristi (last edited Jun 16, 2013 04:49PM) (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) This thread is for the people who are done with the book to discuss what they thought of the entire book with no fear of giving up spoilers.

IF YOU ARE NOT DONE WITH THE BOOK, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD, CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK




Zulfiya (ztrotter) I have twofold impressions after reading this chunky novel. On one hand, I really enjoyed the beginning of the novel with numerous literary and artistic allusions. I also liked the idea of parallel worlds and many numerous speculations about it. Both Tengo and Aomame seemed to be on the verge of amazing discoveries, and some of the questions were answered, and some answers led to new questions, and many questions were left unanswered. BUT halfway through the novel, the perspective of mysteries and amazing discoveries changed, and the book lost this glowing feeling of seeking the truth and turned into a somewhat predictable love story. Granted, love is one of the main things one should live for, but I definitely feel cheated as if a great post-modern posh dark-chocolate of a novel was shown to me, but it all turned out to be a saccharine, supermarket-like romance.
The book had a potential to be a five-star read, but somehow it did not work with me. I still enjoyed it a lot, and I really loved its rich, succulent, full of allusions prose, but something that had a brilliant start had only a mediocre finish. I have nothing against Aomame's pregnancy, using Fuka-eri as a proxy for this conception, and Aomame and Tengo's reaction of accepting it is also understandable. After all, they ended up living in a world with two moons. Who would question a pregnancy after this experience? But the sappy romance has ruined so much in this novel for me, especially knowing that they saw each other for the first time many, many years ago, and Aomame's clasping his hand was the only sensual experience for both of them.

Without this beach-like, Harlequin-like type of a love story, this would have been a perfect novel. I attribute this change to the serialized nature of the novel. Halfway through, the author's mind might have become infatuated with a different idea, and his vision of the book changed; as a result the book left a warped impression - two parts that can not be joined seamlessly

I have already mentioned cursorily the things I really liked in the book, but let me elaborate again. I enjoyed the transcendental experience of other worlds, allusive and intellectual prose, meditations about religion in general, a detailed and very intimate excursus into the world of writing and editing.

I also appreciate the tremendous effort of translators. I personally know how hard it could be to express and convey the numerous layers of meaning, the depth and beauty of words, especially if you have to translate a mammoth book.


message 3: by Rosemary (last edited Jun 18, 2013 03:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemary I like your perspective Zulfiya! I didn't mind the romance so much except that as you say it kind of detracted from the other aspects.

I would have liked to understand what was going on with the chrysalises etc a little better. There was so much that you never found the answers to - because the two MCs just walked away from that world into their happy ending.

There were aspects of the style that annoyed me - so much redundant information! You're not only told the same thing over and over in different places in the novel, but you're also sometimes told the same thing in different ways within the same paragraph.

I mentioned this repetition in the discussion for an early section and somebody who'd read the whole book said "you'll understand why he does this at the end".

I don't know if I did, really. I guess it was probably meant to be cute and endearing? Like reading something written by a child - or like something written by Fuka-Eri, in fact? There were times when it made me want to throw the book across the room ("Does he think his readers are stupid?") but in the end I was able to forgive it.

I did LOVE the quirkiness of the novel as a whole. I was never tempted to stop reading and I read ahead, often not wanting to put it down at the end of a week's section. I gave it 4 stars.


Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments I liked the book a whole lot. Like Zulfiya, I had a bit of an issue with idealistic portrayal of Aomame's and Tengo's romance. It was just too "true love 4evah" kind of story. But I think Murakami is trying to do something a bit more than just sell a supermarket romance. 1Q84 is his magnum opus (or at least his critics call it that way), he is a mature author with a handful of successful novels under his belt, and he is also an aging man. To me Tengo's and Aomame's love was almost like Murakami's reflection on innocent first love and the love's endurance in this cynical world. It is almost as if he wants to go back to those hopeful days and believe that everlasting love can really exist. The tone here is mostly nostalgic, so in the end it ended up working for me.

The whole immaculate conception, by-proxy pregnancy thing was unnecessary for me, but it added to the supernatural element of the world with two moons.

I enjoyed that Murakami left the book open-ended. We know that they escaped that strange world, and we know that they might have returned to their own reality or might have stumbled somewhere new. It's great that the only hint might lie with the reversed Esso billboard. You know it's your home, but there is something amiss, like a little wrinkle in the reality, and you start questioning things. Maybe the billboard was simply changed? Maybe not?

By the way, Zulfiya, you wanted to comment on the crow and I'm curious to find out what you have to say about it.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) Andrea wrote: "By the way, Zulfiya, you wanted to comment on the crow and I'm curious to find out what you have to say about it. "

When I read about the crow, the first thought was,'Come on, Murakami, you are way too classy to use this cliched image as a harbinger of bad things'. At that time it was a logical conclusion because, as I have said in my post, his prose is rich with allusions, cultural codes, and other tricky literary things, but the crow was just a crow, nothing special. And I actually enjoyed this defeated expectancy - you expect that he would exploit this literary move, but he did not. I thought it was quite mischievous :-)


message 6: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Ok, I lied...I'm just going to let this be the remainder of the threads for the end of the book since no one posted on Week 17. So post away about the end of the book, or the whole book!


Kristina (kristina3880) I enjoyed the beginning and just like everyone else, I felt like the ending was smushed together. I was disappointed in their interaction after wanting to see each other for so many years. Overall I gave the book 4 stars. Murakami is a magician and I am looking forward to reading more of his books.


Katie I was completely engulfed by this story from the first page and found Aomame an especially compelling character, with her side gig as an assassin and her scowl that horrified children and adults alike. But I concur that the tone of the book completely changed; for me, the pace and intrigue slowed after the death of Leader, and some of the magic slowly seeped away. I didn't have a problem with the romantic aspect of the book, but I did feel like it overshadowed all elements after a point in time. With that said, I still gave the book 4 stars and look forward to my next visit with Murakami, whichever book that may be.


Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments Zulfiya wrote: "Andrea wrote: "By the way, Zulfiya, you wanted to comment on the crow and I'm curious to find out what you have to say about it. "

When I read about the crow, the first thought was,'Come on, Murak..."


I see where you're coming from. I was also expecting the crow to be something more that it turned out to be. At first I suspected it was some kind of spy for little people, or that it might have had a connection to the ghostly NHK collector. I was reminded about Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, where a major character was a crow too. Maybe that's why I expected the bird to play a big part in the end.


Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments Katie wrote: "I was completely engulfed by this story from the first page and found Aomame an especially compelling character, with her side gig as an assassin and her scowl that horrified children and adults al..."

Agreed. For me Leader's death felt like a logical climax of the book, but then it just happened in the very middle and the rest of the story took a different direction.


message 11: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (michelle8731) Andrea wrote: ...a connection to the ghostly NHK collector.

I was really surprised this was never taken any further than it was. That was CREEPY! Part of me always really wanted Aomame to open the door or something just so I could get a little more closure. It's been several months since I finished the book, but I seem to remember something in the novel that made me think that somehow Tengo's dad's consciousness was somehow involved when he seemed so otherwise blank.

Also, I actually thought that the Tengo/Aomame romance added a sense of hope and destiny to a book that portrays two otherwise pretty lost individuals. Call me crazy if you wish!

I think my favorite thing about this book, however, was that every time I thought I knew what was going on, Murakami threw a wrench in my theory. Like Andrea said, the Leader's death was what I expected to be the big climax, and as it turns out, it's just another means to an end. But I like an author that keeps my on my toes. I'm an English teacher by day, so I can typically guess more than I really want to without having read very far because I feel that was how I was taught. It was really nice to read a "mystery" type novel and not feel like I was just going through the motions.


Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments Michelle wrote: "...something in the novel that made me think that somehow Tengo's dad's consciousness was somehow involved when he seemed so otherwise blank"

Yeah, that's what I figured too. When Tengo was visiting his father at the time when he was in coma, he did tell his dad to stop knocking on people's doors, because he wasn't a NHK collector anymore. So I guess that was his spirit/consciousness still making rounds, because it was all he knew in life.


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