Once Upon A Bookshelf

A Reader's Blog

1Q84: Book 2

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:38 am April 17, 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 read the first book in this trilogy not too long ago. I typically take so long between books in series or trilogies that I don’t remember what happened at the end of the book, so reading this so soon after finishing the previous one is a new experience for me. I didn’t have to play catch up for the first few chapters. It was awesome!

This book picks up right where the last one ends off, and I don’t want to say anything in case it spoils it for another reader… But know that it throws us into the story immediately. There’s no buildup to remind the reader where we’ve been, to reintroduce us to the characters, or to give us background on the story. In this sense, it’s definitely essential to have read the first book in the trilogy before picking up this one – and preferably to have read it in the recent past. I’m going to be trying to read the third one soon just so I don’t forget anything that’s happened.

One of the things I mentioned that I really liked in the previous book, that I am again really loving with this one, is how Murakami unfolds events – whether it shows how closely connected Tengo and Aomame really are, even though they don’t actually meet in real life. He also slowly reveals things that very slowly give you a little idea of what may actually really be happening, but never enough so that you can guess what the heck is going on. It’s… intriguing! I can’t figure out what is going to happen with the main characters, or what’s going on with these Little People. Goodness!

There was only one thing I didn’t particularly like about this book. Or this trilogy, considering the rest is written in the same way. I’ve decided that I don’t like the way this trilogy tells alternating chapters from Aomame and Tengo’s point of views. It’s a little distracting to really get into what’s happening with one character, and then have a big exciting bit happen, only to have to hold off reading any more about that character until a whole chapter later. I found that it was a little distracting in that way.

The Bottom Line

Awesome second book in the trilogy. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the third book in this story. Hopefully soon!