Once Upon A Bookshelf

A Reader's Blog

1Q84: Book 1

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:01 am January 23, 2013.
Category: Speculative Fiction
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s):
Author: Haruki Murakami
Originally Published: 2009
Translated Edition Published: 2011
Publisher: Anchor Canada, an imprint of Random House
Source: Received from publisher

The Story

1Q84From Random House of Canada‘s website:

The long-awaited magnum opus from Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s 1984.

The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre ‘proposal’ to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?

The Response

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into with this book. I received this trilogy through a Random House Canada twitter contest in December, and knew absolutely nothing about it. I’ve also never read any of Murakami’s other books, though have been told they are wonderful. That said, though, it didn’t take me too long to realize how abso-freaking-lutely fantastic this book is. It was just so unlike everything I have ever read, and right from the beginning I was hooked.

Are all of Murakami’s works this amazing?

One of the things that kept me excited about this book, is the relationship between the two main characters, Tengo and Aomame. They don’t actually meet in this book, but as the book unfolds, we discover how intertwined their lives are. When the book starts, a musical piece by Janacek is what starts Aomame’s journey into the world where things are just a little different than she always thought they were; we later find out that Tengo was in a band that played that same piece for a competition in school. Both Aomame and Tengo get involved with children who have escaped from the same cult. The biggest one that threw me – some of the things that Aomame discovers different in her world are things that are happening in a book that Tengo is writing… So now at the end of the first book, I cannot figure out if there is something crazy magical going on, or if Aomame isn’t real, or what the heck is going on.

This wasn’t a quick read, something to be devoured in one or two sittings. It needs time to be absorbed. Even now, after having finished it almost a week ago, I’m still digesting everything that happened. Part of me wants to pick up the second book in this trilogy right now, while the other part wants to hold off for a little bit longer in order to keep savouring the after effects of the first one.

I just… I can’t get over how well put together every single aspect of this story was. How every itty bitty little detail ended up coming back up at a later point, and how all of a sudden it would click into place and suddenly make much more sense than it ever had before. Murakami must have put so much work into the development of this book, and it’s ended up being so wonderful!

The Bottom Line

So far, this is amazing. I’m going to be recommending it to almost every reader I know.

  • http://faustisbookquest.blogspot.com jmfausti

    I Love Love Love Love Love Haruki Murakami. Welcome to his fan club. He’s got a lot of beautifully surreal work out there. I first read The Wind Up Bird Chronicles and was completely won over by his inventive prose. I think Kafka on the Shore may be my favorite of his works. But don’t tell the others, they all deserve the love and I don’t want to make them feel bad.