Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: 1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Published October 2011
925 pages hardcover (I read it on the kindle)
Literary fiction
My rating: 5 stars

I'm not usually a huge fan of books that leave me with more questions than answers. And initially after I finished this book I was like, Meh. I had kind of figured out how it was going to end already, which irritated me, but also satisfied me. And it was a long book, filled at times with what seemed to be, but never was, extraneous information. Each sentence contains a clue, if you want it to. Once I did finally finish the book, which took me about three weeks to read (which is pretty long for me), I couldn't stop thinking about it. And this is what made me realize how brilliant it was.

The book starts out with a question, before you even crack it open. What, who, where, or when the hell is 1Q84? I won't tell you. The book answers that question, and introduces about twenty more. Some get answered; some don't.

The book has two main characters, living out precarious situations that eventually become intertwined. At times, it got my heart thumping pretty good. I'd be yelling in my head: "Look up at the window!" or "Get off the phone!" Also in the book: at least one parallel universe, aliens/mystic beings, murder, and sex. And, I'm always a fan of characters who are referred to by some defining trait. There are plenty of those in the book: The dowager, Ponytail, Buzzcut, Leader, Bobblehead.

And, the book takes place in Japan in 1984. This neatly eliminates cell phones and email (praise be) and lets us learn a bit about Japan. And yes, mention is made of George Orwell's "1984."

And, I dare you not to google Janocek's Sinfonietta at some point during your reading.

Overall I think it's a worthwhile read if you're OK with some of the mystery remaining just that, and you're willing to put in the time it takes to read such a lengthy novel.

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