1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

This man was a high powered operator, but also prone to overwork.  He earned a high salary, but he couldn’t use it now that he was dead.  He wore Armani suits and drove a Jaguar, but finally he was just another ant, working and working until he died without meaning.

On the back of 1Q84, books one and two it states something extraordinary is starting, by the end of book three you’re not quite convinced it has finished, or indeed, what it was.  I’m reviewing  books one and two and book three together as I read them together and I’m guessing if you make the eight hundred pages of the first two, you’ll submerge again into the four hundred and fifty pages of the third.

At the beginning of book one, Aomame, fearing she will be late for a crucial appointment descends a stairway off of an elevated expressway into a world is the same, but not quite, as the one she knows.  The most noticeable difference is the second moon in the sky. In this other world Aomame’s fate inextricably becomes entwined with that of Tengo, as their actions pull a web around them that seems to get smaller and smaller.

1Q84 is told in alternating chapters between the two main characters, until book three, where they are joined by Ushikawa, a private investigator hired to track down Aomame, who cannot fathom where she is or what her purpose is in this alternative world.  She is helped by the dowager and her assistant, the quietly lethal Tamaru.  Meanwhile Tengo deals with his estranged father and the mysterious Fuka-Eri, whose story he ghost-writes and wins a competition with, drawing her into the web surrounding him and Aomame.  Then there are the little people..Ho ho.

I won’t detail the polot, for me one of the great joys of Murakami is losing yourself in the story and the world of his novels, and in 1Q84 he conjures a world that is not quite right, but is not so far off as to not be believable.  Whenever he starts stretching your imagination too far, he rebounds back to absurd normality. Twelve hundred odd pages may be stretching it, but this is a story to enjoy, to sail through at a leisurely pace as Murakami plays with your imagination, taking you somewhere else, that is actually here.

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