This oaf of a book was given to me by an old woman at my dog park, along with a paranormal romance which she recommended for its wonderful vampire sex scenes. Books, along with our dogs’ bowel movements and seemingly irrational issues with other dogs, are what we talk about most. I wouldn’t have picked up 1Q84 if Lorenza hadn’t given it to me, because I’ve already learnt the lesson about starting 1000ish page books just as I’m about to start back at uni. But Lorenza is old and has a bung ankle and lugged it all the way to the park for me. I bought it on kindle too, because it’s just so unwieldy and impractical that it was never going to accompany me anywhere in that form. My main reading time these days is on the tram to and from work, unfortunately. I’ve become one of those people.
That was some time in January, and I just finished it last night. I love Murakami, and recommend The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Hard Boiled Wonderland to everybody. I have a feeling, however, that those books would have been the size of 1Q84 without the intervention of a ruthless editor. The kind that 1Q84 would have benefited from.
I don’t know why it’s published as one volume in Australia, when elsewhere it’s three separate books. That said, I doubt I would have gone past the first, had it been a stand alone. I almost gave up on 1Q84 at many points and only persevered past the end of book two after reading a kindle review that seemed to parrot my own thoughts one by one, then conclude that it’s worth finishing because the third part is faster, better and god, you may as well. I agree.
I still feel like I’ve missed the significance of a few things, but I’m sure most readers tie the supposedly loose ends together much earlier than the book does. I’m always slow on the uptake and can never pick the killer or the twin or the glaringly obvious secret, and even I put two and two together early on, here. There’s too much explaining and describing and inane commentary. Murakami’s meditations on daily life are beautiful; I’m sure they’re more beautiful in Japanese than in the English translation, too. They’re beautiful, but there’s too much too often, and it becomes tiresome and frustrating. I just wanted it to be over, for a lot of it.
Ushikawa and his ‘misshapen head’ is the kind of ugly creep that lurks in children’s stories and fairytales. Aomame, like green peas, is too perfectly cold and detached. And then cracks into the kind of clingy-mushy girl when Tengo comes back, with is devastating in the same way as your ballbreaker boss is, when she talks cutesy to hubby on the phone.
Tengo is the boring but loveable guy from every other Murakami novel who had so much potential and settled down into a life of a nothing job and simple, yet painstakingly described meals and trips to the supermarket. The Leader, and his protectors, I don’t know. It’s all a bit so so.
I love Murakami. I really do. I just wish I’d never started reading 1Q84.