First of all, I must congratulate myself for finishing this huge amount of pages in eight days. Too bad I was disappointed by this latest Murakami book (I must correct that, he also published a new book in 2013, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
). I am helplessly in love with other Murakami novels, but I'm afraid he'll never win the Nobel prize because of 1Q84
I've seen the mixed reviews, but curiosity got the better of me. I was even prepared to ditch the book if I didn't like it. That was the problem: I loved it in the beginning. The first part is engrossing, magical, full of fantasy and mystery, a typical Murakami that makes you feel good no matter what. Towards the second part, it gradually began to slack and I was gradually awakening from its spell. When I got to part three, I was hoping for a change of pace, but it was even worse: that part was boring, repetitive, almost shallow; just a few interesting things happened. I read it at high speed because I had already wasted enough time.
Moreover, the writing was at times a bit too commercial for my taste, like the describing of brand clothes. I also found it hard to take seriously the "relationship" between Tengo and Aomame. I didn't choose a chick-lit book, for Christ's sake!
So my advice to you: don't begin to read 1Q84
, because you'll be swept into its magical world and you won't stop reading. You'll probably notice how bad the story gets, but still you'll crawl towards the finish in order to find out what is happening. I have another warning at this point: you won't really get a satisfying ending; the Little People mystery will remain unsolved. Is there a fourth book and I don't know about it?
There were some awesome moments in this book, though: the mysterious NHK collector that banged at people's doors, vehemently declaiming his monologue I suppose this was in fact Tengo's father, while he was lying in a coma; the nurse had said he was still banging with his fist in the bed.; the creation of the air chrysalis by the Little People; the connection between Maza and Dohta (by the way, the Romanian translation used the terms Mater and Filia, which I find better suited); the tale of the Cat Town; the misshapen, greenish second moon in the night sky; the story of the Gilyaks
(although I have to thank Chekhov for that). There was magic, yes there was. For these unique moments, I don't truly regret reading 1Q84
The music and literature references are present, as usual. Janáček’s Sinfonietta was the recurring musical theme (you can listen to it here
). A premiere (at least for me) were the whole excerpts from books - Chekhov's Island of Sakhalin
and Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa
A surprise was the resurfacing of Ushikawa, a slimy character that also appears in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
. I didn't recognize his name, but his description reminded me a lot about the vile man that budged into Toru Okada’s life. I hated Ushikawa then and I hated him now, so I didn't see the point in his taking up the stage to such an extent, even becoming the third perspective in book three. I was not interested in this character, I didn't want to find out more about his dog, wife and children. I didn't want to feel pity for him. He should have been the evil character. I was relieved that he died, although I didn't enjoy his way of dying.
Now that I think of it, nobody in this novel seems to be entirely bad, they all have mitigated circumstances. Who was the bad guy here, may I ask?
I am left with a lot of questions The Little People exiting Ushikawa's mouth at the end, mean that the connection was reestablished? Who were the Little People and what did they want? Was Fuka-Eri the real thing or the Dohta? What was the other Fuka-Eri doing? And so on. and I wonder whether I should waste more time reading further about the novel or simply forget about it...