1Q84 by Murakami – Book Review

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1q84In this long novel, Murakami tells the story of two characters, Tengo and Aomame, and how they react to living in an alternative reality. Both main characters must face various dangers in the reality of 1Q84 to finally meet each other again.

1Q84 is both a science fiction story, dealing with alternative reality, and a love story. I enjoyed delving into the minds of the two main characters. Tengo is a maths teacher and a writer. Aomame is a personal trainer and an assassin. Murakami uses human experience and the human condition to tell a complicated but compelling story. Although there are some violent scenes in this book, the majority of this novel is spent inside the thinking minds of the two main characters

I really like the fact that 1Q84 deviates from the action packed thriller to create a fantastical story about two people, who are linked, and their quest to find themselves. The main sub-plot that sets up the rest of the book is the publication of the novel Air Chrysalis. Tengo re-writes Fuka-Eri’s novel, so it can compete to be a bestseller. The contents of the novel are not revealed straight away, though it is hinted that it is related to the reality of 1Q84.

1Q84 also focuses a lot on the daily life of both Aomame and Tengo. Murakami describes the food that they eat and other actions which we tend to do everyday automatically. Writing about the lives of two main characters in detail does make the story longer and slower, but it also allows the reader to think about the characters deeply to form a connection.

My one criticism of this book is that Fuka-Eri does not get her own chapters. Fuka-Eri is a key character throughout the novel but her true intentions are very much kept hidden. However, there is a chance that Murakami wants to leave many things about 1Q84 open to interpretation. Is the reality of 1Q84 real? In the opening chapter, before Aomame enters 1Q84, the mysterious taxi driver tells her that there is only one reality. Like Kafka on The Shore, Murakami has made me think carefully about the true message of the novel, which is about two lonely people falling in love and wanting to be reunited.

1Q84 is a long novel which expertly tells the story of Aomame and Tengo, and their lives in the mysterious reality of 1Q84. By focussing on the inner workings of the human mind, Murakami creates an emotional human story with some fantastical elements thrown in. This book is really well written but will leave you with more questions unanswered than answered.

4 out of 5 stars

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