Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami was a front-runner in Nobel Prize in Literature when the book 1Q84 released. He is one of the most admired novelist of contemporary world. Already been honoured by Kafka Prize, his best books, in my opinion, are Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood and Pinball, 1973. Murakami’s 1Q84 is an immensely long book, paged more than nine hundred and originally published in three volumes in Japanese. The English edition combines all three volumes as a single copy. This book is combination of a love story, a mystery, a fantasy and a dystopia. The title indeed is similar to George Orwell’s 1984.

Murakami’s writing is at its best when he writes a simple plot through suspenseful story telling. Though 1Q84 is not a simple book. It will need your attention from page one up to page nine hundred and twenty-five where you will come across the last period (.) put by the author. However, the book is a page turner and you will be able to finish it in a less amount of time then you are expecting right now. I was able to do it in two days.

1Q84 opens when a young woman finds herself stuck in gridlock on ­Tokyo’s elevated Metropolitan Expressway. She is worried about being late for a critical appointment. As if reading her mind, the taxi driver suddenly mentions that there’s an emergency service stairway nearby, and that it leads down to a street close to a subway stop. He doesn’t recommend that she climb down these rusty stairs especially in a miniskirt and heels, but the subway offers her only chance to avoid being late. As she opens the door of the cab, the driver mysteriously says, “Don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”

By the time she reaches the place for her appointment, she realises she is not the in the world she was earlier, but instead a parallel reality is maundering around her which she eventually dubs 1Q84. “A world that bears a question.”  Meanwhile a second story line is established by the author of lonely novelist alternating the young woman’s dangerous adventures.

The novelist has been talked into secretly revising a short novel so it can win a major prize. The plot is fantastic and involves Little People who emerge from the mouth of a dead goat but its 17-year-old author is even stranger who can scarcely read or write due her dyslexia, and her speech is laconic. She insists that the details of her novel are absolutely true and the ‘Little People’ are in existence. Without the slightest knowledge to both characters, the young girl and the lone novelist, the plot moves them closer and closer as the pages are turned.

The novel is Murakami’s one of the complex works and despite its length, the plot and the characters are tightly bound. Through his dialogues and his characters as puppets he takes up philosophy. Most of the chapters end with a cliffhanger that will drive a reader to continue his journey in this alternative reality. The book is one of those that brings the excitement in a reader’s mind while reading it due some chemical imbalance or stability and will stay in the memory for a long time.

4 out of 5

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25 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami”

  1. This is my favourite Murakami, which is often an unpopular opinion among my friends who are also Murakami fans! It’s the first Murakami I actually loved. I too read it in just a few days and it’s the one which has had the most memorable plot for me, a lot of the others have blended in to each other in my head but this stays very clear. I actually read it on my kindle when I first bought it – I have since acquired parts 1 and 2 in a paperback bind up (I don’t know why Vintage released two editions – the bind up of the entire book and then a 1&2 bind up with a separate part 3!) and, as you’ve now made me want to reread it, I think I’ll be acquiring part 3 at some point in order to read it in paperback!

    Anyway, enough of my ramble! I’m glad you enjoyed this and, as I said, I now want to reread this!

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    1. It’s good to know that 1Q84 is your favourite novel. The plot is indeed memorable. I still remember most of the details while replying to you. As is said in the review, this book, whomsoever will read, it will stay with them for a long time.

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      1. Many ppl told me that this was really long – winded and bored one, but reading yours review, I think I should give it a try soon. Thanks so much.

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      1. I have read Wind up bird (loved it!read it in a windy beach in Greece with a goose sitting at my side),Hard boiled wonderland (did not enjoy it),After the quake,Norwegian wood,Colorless Tazuru (i dont remembr the name lol ),Kafka on the shore,The library (i forget thw tittle!)I recently bought Dance Dance Dance and i need to finish 1Q84.Also ive read a few stories from An elephant vanishes.

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      2. We share some of the titles like Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the shore, elephant vanishes, wind up bird, 1q84, the strange library. I have yet to read Dance Dance Dance, as it is somewhat related to The Rat Trilogy. If you are interested in reading those two books I mentioned in my previous comment, and if you are ebooks (I don’t think they are available in paperback outside Japan), you should definitely read them. The reason being, they are Murakami’s first two books, and both show how fluent he is with the language, bit of naive, and how excellent he is story telling.

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