I heard about 1Q84 and wanted it pretty badly, since it was new at that time. Everyone was raving about it on the internet and someone was kind enough to bring out a sample of the first chapter. I devoured that sample and was super excited for this, it was so suspenseful, so mysterious and dreamy, it reminded me alot of the first chapter of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World and Kafka on the Shore.
1Q84 became a best seller and when I finally got it, I read the first few chapters. I had mixed feelings about it. Before I even get into talking about the first book, I would like to have a little rant. I hate the fact that some people who were unfamiliar with Murakami, simply bought this book because it was a best seller, they bought it and it wasn’t their cup of tea. Just because something is on the best seller list, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your own individual taste. I’m not defending only 1Q84, I’m just talking about best sellers in general.
1Q84 us quite slow, and if you are not familiar with Murakami, you will automatically be turned off, I’ve read about 3 or 4 of his novels at that time, so I was familiar with his style. The book was written in third person, at first I was confused, I looked through the book and realised that the whole enite novel was written in third person, no first person narrative at all, it was quite unusual for Murakami in my opinion.
This hefty novel was also a trilogy, in Japan it was published in three separate books. In most parts of Europe, it was published in two parts. In the US, it was published as a whole. A year later, the book was republished as a trilogy box set, which pissed me off somewhat because I wanted this so badly, and the box set was beautiful.
The first few chapters of Book One were quite delicious. Aomame’s perspective was pretty awesome because she was a super confident spy. Most of Murakami’s female characters were mentally broken and odd women who end up being the narrator’s romantic partners, they always seem to have this distant, under developed feeling. However, Aomame’s character is alive. Tengo, the other main character is pretty much like any other Murakami narrator, except he was a Math teacher and seems to have a repeating dream of his dead mother, a memory that seems to make him extremely uncomfortable. So it seems like the mentally broken personality trait has been passed onto a male character this time.
What I do like about Book One was the details about these characters, the sad details of their childhoods, very bleak, confusing, unhappy child. You know that they are fated to meet and fall in love, because they share something alike.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot because everything will just come out weird. As you can see though, 1Q84 has a pretty crazy plot so far, it’s really interesting and it pulls you in. It’s lengthy and a tad bit slow, so an impatient reader will easily give up. The writing is pretty good, but bland compared to his other works, especially Tengo’s point of view, but I tend to like his slow, bookish, quiet flow. I also like Aomame’s point of view, but the perverted stuff is a little over the top. I enjoy 1Q84. Book One is great but not the best. I