Lehman book club discussion

1Q84 > 1Q84 - Week One to page 140

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Doskocil (soverview) | 25 comments I'm a little bit past 140, but so far I am enjoying the book. I think it's a little too sexually explicit, as the explicitness doesn't seem (at this point) to serve a purpose. I think the mystery of the Air Chrysalis and Fuka-Eri is really interesting and seems like a "fresh, new" idea at this point. I also feel like we're still in the opening scenes. I have no idea where this is going. I like how things are being slowly revealed, but I don't have much in the way of interpretation to add to the discussion. I'm not enjoying the story of Aomame as much as Tengo's story. I'm curious if you guys feel the same way.

I do think that both Aomame and Tengo are originally from the same dimension, but have both traveled to the dimension they are in now. Tengo's traveling, I would guess, corresponds to that bizarre memory of his mother. Sorry the internet ate your thoughts, dad.

message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabethintexas) | 22 comments First impressions:
Sarah told me one time that if an author references another person's work, don't skim past it. Since it was mentioned in the first sentence of a 1200 page book, I listened to Janacek's Sinfonietta and paid attention to the story of its background as provided by Aomame. I really enjoyed the music and don't recall hearing it before. The historical context really adds something and I recommend it, but I don't know that the music itself enlightened me. I do think the Sinfonietta story is rather ominous - a lovely musical celebration of life composed shortly before the world went to hell. Perhaps related is the unusual detail that both of the main characters have deformed ears; possibly they will not "hear" things they should (not pick up on or recognized clues); while I think the ear deformities are a metaphor for something else, I find myself paying more attention to the sounds described described in a book than I usually do, and this book is rich with sounds.

Characters (thus far): Tongo is ok, but headed down an immoral literary path which could ruin his own hoped for career as an author, and is being encouraged by his editor, so I am a bit impatient with both of them. I also fear that 29-year-old Tongo will engage in some of Sarah's referenced "sexually explicit" scenes with the oh so hot 17-year-old Fuka-Me, excuse me, Fuka-Eri, so I'm pretty ambivalent about Tongo right now. I am not, however, ambivalent about Aomame who seems rather irredeemable. It doesn't bother me that she is an assassin - she might have very a compelling reason that can be explained in her backstory, but I really have a problem with how she dehumanizes the guy she hooks up with at the bar. Excuses for this behavior might be proffered later, but transformation into a good person (a butterfly) seems unrealistic. Bad people often make very interesting characters though.

I like how deliberate Murakami is in constructing the story and the clues he gives the reader. For instance, during a discussion about Air Chrysalis, Tongo mentions that he doesn't know the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis. Murakami doesn't tell you either, and since I didn't know, I had to look it up. A cocoon is a constructed casing for insect larvae, but a chrysalis is the pupa of a butterfly; it is the transitional state between caterpillar and butterfly, between immature and mature. I love discovering clues like this in a book.

Another plus abut 1Q84 is how Murakami inserts keen observations into the story. For personal reasons, my favorite thus far is stated by Tengo when he tells Fuka-Eri why he thinks she has written Air Chrysalis: "You transform the scenes you see into your own words and reconstruct them. And you confirm your own existence." This is very much how I feel when I write about our family. One of the great pleasures of reading is encountering bits of truth that seem to speak directly to you.

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