My brain is a big thing of mush right now. 1Q84 is a long book, it’s really three books, but this edition (I think all American editions) combine them into one book. This is the first Haruki Murakami book I have read, which everyone seems to oppose saying this isn’t a good introduction to his work and some go as far as to say don’t read it unless you’re really a fan of his, but I’m grown. Don’t tell me how to read. Besides I love George Orwell’s 1984 so it only made sense for me to start here with Haruki Murakami.
I am going to attempt to summarize this mammoth now. The year is 1984, Aomame is on her way to an assignment and is stuck in traffic on the expressway, she leaves her cab and goes down an emergency staircase, she emerges into 1Q84. She is a gym instructor, but also works for the Dowager killing abusive men, without leaving a mark and making it look natural. Our other character is Tengo, he teaches math and writes fiction. Him and Aomame knew each other in school and were in the same class for 2 years, they weren’t friends or even talked but, when they were both 10 Tengo defends Aomame and later she grabs his hand. This even both stuck with them for the next 20 years. Tengo gets involved ghost re-writing a 17 year old girl’s, Fuka-Eri, story about the religious compound (Sakigake) she ran away from. He thinks this is just a story, but it is very real. The Little People control everything and the leader (Fuka-Eri’s father) can hear them. Fuka-Eri’s guardian is using her book as a way to create publicity for the girl and then have her go in hiding to force police to look into Sakigake’s compound to find out about what happened to her parents. Sakigake is upset at the book selling and wants to put a stop to it going after Tengo. Meanwhile, Aomame is assigned to kill the leader of Sakigake because he is raping girls who haven’t had their period and using religion as an excuse to do so. The leader wants her to kill him, he explains why he had sex with those girls and the role of The Little People. He knows about Aomame’s longing for Tengo and tells her Tengo feels the same way, but that they can’t be together, she either has to kill the leader and Tengo lives, but she is hunted by Sakigake, or she lets the leader live and Sakigake continues to go after Tengo. She kills the leader and goes into hiding. The rest of the book is Tengo searching for Aomame, Aomame is in hiding, but also watching for Tengo, and Sakigake closing in on Aomame and understanding how to get to her through Tengo.
There is so much more to the book that my loose summary, but that’s the build up to the end. Like I said it is a long book, but it’s a good book and really gets you interested. I didn’t mind the length of the book until towards the end, the 3rd book is definitely they weakest section, but it’s still good. There is repetitiveness, but that’s expected since it was originally a series, books always gotta remind readers a little bit what happened before (but if you are reading all 3 in a row it feels unnecessary). When a book is over 1k pages long and the author is giving out long descriptions of characters cooking food, you want to scream (he didn’t do it too much though, but still). The plot is interesting. It’s a slow build up and then drops big revelations fast at a good pace, it keeps you hooked. There is great background to the characters and just a lot of depth to Aomame and Tengo. It’s not just reading about their lives for the events in the main plot, but also their past and what they are like in their life when it doesn’t surround the plot of the story. It has fantasy elements, but it’s like reading everyday life. It’s a satisfying read, the time and effort going into reading 1Q84 is worth it.