Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

10357575The 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. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Rating: 4/10

This book was going well until I got to the last third or so. I was intrigued by the world that Murakami created, which is what kept me reading. However, by the time I came to the last half of the book, nothing had been answered or explained, and it didn’t look like it was going to be answered anytime soon.

It also doesn’t help that the last part of the book includes a perspective that I don’t feel is necessary to the story. It could have at least been shorter. In fact the entire book should have been about 300 pages shorter.

Much of this comes down to how it is written. There are times when information that the reader already knows is repeated solely because another character has figured it out. It was completely unnecessary and it happened a lot. I was also not a fan of how the inner dialogue worked in this book. Meaning that it repeated information and sometimes gave information that was completely unnecessary. Theses tendencies tended to make the book difficult to get through.

It took me a good few months to get through this one. At some point I had to take a break or else I was just not going to finish it. I kept reading in the hope that it would pick up and maybe explain some of the stuff that was going on, but much of it was never clarified. There was also a tendency for characters to just drop off the face of the planet. They would come up again in their thoughts and such, but it’s never explained what happened to them which is kind of frustrating. This happened to two of them that I can think of off the top of my head.

Overall, it was an alright book. It was a bit too long, and some of the writing really made the book drag on. In the end, I was just kind of confused by it all. It’s possible that I just missed point, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I was reading massive sections that I had practically read before. I think my annoyance may have gotten in the way of really paying attention to what Murakami was doing with this novel, but there it is. That is my honest view of this book.

I do plan on giving Murakami another try. He has such an extensive amount of work that would be wrong not to read at least one more. Just because I didn’t like this one doesn’t mean I won’t like another.

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2 comments

  1. I enjoyed 1Q84 but it’s not the best Murakami book to start with if you’re fairly new to his work. You might prefer his shorter novels like Sputnik Sweetheart or Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. My favourite is probably Kafka on the Shore.

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