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Posts Gone By > 1Q84: A Missed Opportunity on the Playground:Bk 2 Ch 13-24

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message 1: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited May 22, 2014 02:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments ***Open discussion of Chapters 13-24 of Book 2 below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through these chapters before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish this section and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with some general topics we'll see repeated throughout the book.

Mic Breaks Discussions:

1) How does Tengo and Fuka-Eri's purification ritual compare to the interaction between the Leader and his shrine maidens?

2) When Aomame's dohta appeared to Tengo why was it represented by her 10 year old self?

3) The first chapter of book 3 is from the perspective of Ushikawa (instead of Tengo or Aomame). How do you feel about this shift in structure so late in the story?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from this section.

2) Share your favorite word(s) used in this section.

3) Do you have a favorite or most intriguing character at this point in the novel?

Location Reminder:

If you are returning to this topic after having continued past this section, here is a plot reminder:

Tengo vows to find Aomame after seeing the embodiment of her as a 10 year old in an air chrysalis while visiting his father in the sanatorium.


message 2: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Jun 10, 2014 04:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments Purification Ritual
The physicality between Tengo and Fuka-Eri and the Sakigake Leader and his shrine maidens was nearly the same. Both men seemingly lost control of their bodies during the episode, and none of the females get pregnant after the sexual experiences. There was a deep meditational or dream-like quality to the interaction since Tengo was transported back to the elementary school classroom to re-experience the exact moment when he and Aomame held hands.

The thing I am most worried about is that either the Fuka-Eri we know is a dohta, or that Tengo is going to become the next Sakigake leader. I couldn't help but feel a sense of foreboding after this part of the story.

Aomame's dohta
Aomame's dohta appeared to Tengo while he was emotionally vulnerable after having spent the day with his father in an assisted care facility. The story seems to hinge on the life-changing interaction that Aomame and Tengo had when they were children. Aomame's image as a 10 year old is exactly how Tengo remembers her because she left school shortly thereafter and he never saw her again.

Many things Tengo is now seeing in the real world like the two moons, and the chrysalis the dohta is encased in are exactly as Tengo had previously described them in Air Chrysalis. I can't help but wonder if Tengo's imagination is creating changes in the current physical world, or he is just viewing things as he imagined them and this ultimately is different for every character. Are Aomame's 2 moons the same as Tengo's 2 moons?

Tengo sees the dohta at the same moment Aomame is planning on taking her own life. It is as if their emotional connection becomes a physical one at this moment. When Tengo verbalizes her name in the presence of the dohta, Aomame's adult self seems to hear him in the real world. The dohta disappears shortly after this exchange and we are once again left waiting to discover if the dohta was Tengo's imagination, a hallucination, or an ever-fleeting glance into the supernatural.

I am somewhat alarmed that I apparently misjudged Ushikawa's importance in the story at large. Although he was my favorite character in the last section of the book, I imagined his role in the story had reached it's terminus. Alas, this is yet another thing I have been wrong about when trying to predict the circuitous route this story is going to take.

It is going to be somewhat odd to hear from a character that we know so little about. As a reader, I have come to a place of comfort in having one of two characters narrate this story. Maybe some of the plot points I have continued to be confused about will finally come to light. Maybe I will discover that neither Aomame or Tengo have been very reliable witnesses and I have been a faultless reader led astray in the plot by their skewed narration. Please Ushikawa, shed some light on this story for this poor, confused reader.

Favorite Quotes
"Its calm, natural glow had the power to soothe and heal the heart like the flow of clear water or the gentle stirring of tree leaves."

"Before human beings possessed fire or tools or language, the moon had been their ally. It would calm people's fears now and then by illuminating the dark world like a heavenly lantern."

"He tried to organize the jumble of ideas in his head, but unified thinking was beyond him now, probably because he had thought about too many different things at once while sitting on the slide."

"Everything was uncertain, and ultimately ambiguous."

"The more she thinks about it, the less certain she becomes. How can I prove that I am the real me?"

Favorite Words
Cohere, taciturn, colloquial style, deep sonority, dereliction of her duties, xenophobic religious organization, foisted, basso continuo, dubious, and de facto confession.

Favorite Character
I have to vote for Aomame as my favorite character in this section for going through with the assassination of the Sakigake Leader even after learning more of the history and controversy about the Sakigake community. I particularly enjoyed the part of the story where Aomame goes into hiding. My only criticism of Aomame in this section is her incapacitation upon realizing Tengo was the man on the slide. If she would have gone to the playground immediately, instead of triple-guessing what she should do or not do, she might have been reunited with her long lost love. Instead this turned into a "missed connections" on Craigslist.

message 3: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Jun 16, 2014 07:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments Purification: I think the ceremony is very similar with the major difference being that Fuka-Eri is not a dohta. Continuing on the assumption that Fuka-Eri is a maza I begin to doubt the truthfulness of the explanation given by the Little People about the perceiver/receiver relationship.

Leader suspects the Little People's intentions and Aomame suspects his. I tend to trust Aomame and her instincts more than both Leader and the Little People. What if the coupling of the Receiver with a dohta is altogether wrong? What if a dohta can't be a perceiver?

One other physical difference between the two experiences is that Leader always suffers physical pains after he has intercourse with the "shrine maidens". Is he suffering because there is a profound error in the ceremony? Maybe the Little People want this error to occur?

Young Dohta: Rereading the explanations of dohta and maza, perceiver and receiver, it strikes me that we don't really know the truth about any of these things. The only creatures who might know the truth are the Little People and I certainly don't trust them. They created the terms and defined them for all the other characters.

Like my previous answer I am going to blame an untrustworthy narration in my simplification of this answer. The dohta of Aomame had to be an image of her younger self for Tengo to believe in it. That is the age he would physically recognize her and, more importantly, that is the age of all dohtas. I think that a pessimist could easily argue that all children lose the shadow of their heart and mind when they grow into adulthood. This threat made by the Little People seems more like a bogeyman then an actual thing that will happen if a dohta expires. For this threat to work all dohtas must be of children still in the throes of innocence.

Ushikawa: I'm excited to find out more about Ushikawa! I hope his perspective is far removed from our other characters shared experiences.

Quotes: "Time now for ghosts."

Character: Aomame and Tengo's love. It is a fantastical childhood romance that has kept their hearts caged off for most of their lives, however, they have both lived life and had lovers and grown into unique adults with self identity. I think that Murakami has found a balance between reality and the fantastic that lands perfectly between sappy and explicit.

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