I have been reading Murakami’s 1Q84 for some weeks now. I am a slow reader and it is a big book. But that isn’t why it has taken so long. This has been a very busy period for me personally and I haven’t had the hours and hours of reading time I usually enjoy. Which is one explanation for why I have been feeling a little bit odd lately. Reading is my mental safety valve.
I have another explanation, however, for why I have been feeling a little bit odd lately, which is –
1Q84 is messing with my mind!
Be warned, if you pick up Murakami’s latest novel your sense of what is real will be given a nudge. Just a nudge to start, mind, which is the secret to its success. Murakami takes his time with us, pulling gently at the loose threads hanging from the fabric of our being. And we let him.
To this end, 1Q84 has to be a long novel. Part of Murakami’s challenge is to convince his reader that what he is telling them is not only possible but most likely probable. The reader must come to this conclusion gradually, like someone accepting the crazier parts of a religion.
1Q84 is a novel made up of three books. I am just about to start book three and I have already accepted most of the crazier parts of Murakami’s new religion.
I feel certain he wants me to accept them all.
In exchange for my sanity Murakami has already offered me thrills, kills, sex, nipples, fantasy, alternative history, a bit of Chekhov, advice on writing, sex, jazz, stretching techniques, testicles, a bucket of cool, a gun and sex. That’s a lot of interesting stuff. The offer is tempting.
Look, if Murakami can keep up the pace and continues to give me more good stuff as I move through book three, he can have my sanity. I don’t have much use for it these days, anyway.
My fellow Australians! DON’T BE FOOLED!
Don’t buy the two volume edition of 1Q84 for $73.00.
Be a little bit patient and pay half the price for the same book!
A mesmerising, epic, utterly involving masterpiece from Haruki Murakami.
The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.
Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently 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 affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?
Aomame and Tengo’s stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, as the two come closer and closer to intertwining. As 1Q84 accelerates towards its conclusion, both are pursued by persons and forces they do not know and cannot understand. As they begin to decipher more about the strange world into which they have slipped, so they sense their destinies converging. What they cannot know is whether they will find one another before they are themselves found.
1Q84 is a magnificent and fully-imagined work of fiction – a thriller, a love-story and a mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a world from which the reader emerges stunned and altered.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.