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