A marathon read (listen) that took me 6 months in fits and starts. Initially, I was really enthusiastic but I simply could not maintain my interest. In many ways I think this was more about the detail and complexity of the text than the underlying story, so unlike the traditional crime or adventure yarn. Much more like an evolving fantasy fiction. At the end, it was a simplistic finish, leaving many of my questions unanswered, though not hungering for more.
Undoubtedly a unique piece of literature. It will stay in your mind and confound you for many years to come. I am not sure it needed to be as long and could have been delivered in a much tighter and stimulating frame. It was at times overly drawn out. There were some nice surprises but seemed to be a lot of repetition.
Possibly, it was a translation issue. There were many nice transitions, changes in frames of reference, interesting intertextual references and some nicely developed and interesting characters.
I know many love 1Q84 and while initially, I only gave it 2 stars on listening to another of his works I can see it is his style and it has a delightful uniqueness all of its own – so let’s go with three stars now.
It was an audiobook version and that may have had an influence.
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.