1Q84, by Haruki Murakami review
Translation by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.
1Q84 isn't for everyone. It's a 900-some page tome that was originally published in three separate volumes, although I read the e-book version of all three in one fell swoop. Well, sort of-- I've been reading this book since January, and I'm usually an exceptionally quick reader. It's a slow-moving book, and it needs to be appreciated in smaller servings. There's also so much detail and nuance in the writing that anything more than a leisurely reading would do the story a disservice.
Each of the 'books' (1, Q and 8) is broken-down into chapters dedicated initially to the two protagonists, Aomame and Tengo, and, in '8', to a third character, Ushikawa, as well. The setting is a fictionalized Tokyo, in 1984. Aomame is a fitness instructor by day, and occasionally moonlights as an assassin for a rich dowager who runs a home for abused women. Tengo is a wannabe writer, a former child prodigy, who is currently employed as a math teacher at a college prep school.
On her way to one of her secret jobs, Aomame gets stuck in traffic, and, worried that she's going to be late, exits the taxi she's in on a gridlocked freeway and finds a faster route by climbing down an emergency access stairwell. Little does she know that she's about to enter into a parallel existence.
Meanwhile, Tengo's publisher, Komatsu, asks Tengo to ghostwrite a novella by a high school student who goes by the pen name Fuka-Eri, who won a writing contest being held by Komatsu's magazine. The story need vast improvement, and eventually the outcome is a book called Air Chrysalis
19Q4 is part sci-fi, fairy tail, mystery and love story. There is a secretive religious cult that will do anything to protect their interests, inexplicable correlations between the supposed fictitious Air Chrysalis
and the developing story, in addition to murder, revenge and an overall existential tone to the entire book. Murakami really gets into the heads of the characters, which is one of the reasons the book tends to move so slowly.
It's very difficult to sums the entire book up in a couple of blurbs (especially without giving anything crucial away), but if you're looking for a satisfying read, 19Q4 might just hit the spot.
/ [Ms. Steel
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