More than a month later, but I cracked it!!! I’ve just finished the monster that is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. And what a journey it’s been!
First of all, I went into this with no prior experience of either Murakami or magical realism in general. I’d seen lots of reviews which clearly said: don’t start with this book if you’ve never read Murakami before. I’m a rebel, what can I say? I saw it as a challenge and dove head first.
The beginning of this adventure was the best thing I’ve experienced in a while. The first book will definitely be in my top 5 favourite books of the year, really close to the top. It made me reconsider my reading experience as a whole. I wasn’t just liking what I was reading, but I was engulfed in the world.
This was when it got a bit harder to follow and my pace slowed down. Before finishing the first book, I never felt the need to pick up any other book, but about half way through book 2, I took a breather from the story. The magical part of the plot comes together, but it’s not really explained in a straight forward way.
This part was a journey for me – a journey of two souls coming together, yearning for each other. 1Q84 is, in part, a love story and the third book really brought out the best of the romantic aspects of the plot. It’s done in a beautiful way and I enjoyed it much more and read it much quicker than the second book. The premise of the magical part of the world is already accepted and because I didn’t find it the most fascinating part of the plot, I chose not to examine it in detail.
Ending -no spoilers
Don’t expect a clean ending of this book. I didn’t and I avoided lots of disappointment. Lots of questions are left unanswered and you just have to deal with it and move on. However, I got the ending that I actually wanted and predicted and it was done beautifully. I left the book with a strange feeling of fulfillment and acceptance.
Things I love about Murakami’s style:
-> you get to know the characters inside out – you discover what they do, what they think, their past, present and every reason behind their decisions
-> the writing is beautiful – clean phrases, running so smoothly, following a nice steady pace. It’s like poetry to me
-> Murakami always focuses on certain elements of the story and tells you over and over again what happened. This one is quite controversial and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really found it charming. Being reminded again and again of the same thoughts and actions felt like real life. I often think back to particular moments of my past and replay them in my head. It also helped me stay focused on the narrative of one character after a particular interesting chapter of another.
-> symbols, symbols everywhere: this man is obsessed with (in no particular order): the moon(s), breasts, sexual desire, tea, showers/baths, physical oddities
– aloneness is a central theme throughout Murakami’s books. Most of the characters are for long periods of time living in isolation and following a set routine. The only interaction they have is through the books they read. There’s a resilience and determination in the way they go through life basing decisions on feelings. Laws of attraction guide their actions, critical to the outcome of the plot.
These books will stay with me for a while. I still think about them almost every day and I can’t remember the last time a book did that for me. I’ll definitely pick up another Murakami book as soon as I find myself wanting more.
Overall rating: 5/5 stars!