1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s latest book, and a universal best seller. I don’t intend to reveal anything of the plot, since some followers of these posts may not have read the book! 1Q84 is several books in one, a love story in the tradition of Haruki’s previous novels, especially Norwegian Wood (the love story that created the literary phenomenon Murakami for the world audience) and Kafka on the Shore, but also a reflection on modern Japan, its cities and landscapes, and human relationships.
The two central heroes of 1Q84 are ordinary people, though with special gifts. They are also failures, or at least they believe to be, for some twenty years – until one night they look at the moon. The book is full of musical and literary references, beautifully woven in the daily lives and thoughts of the characters. Some critics have pointed out that the novel mixes genres unashamedly: for this reader, this is one of the many charms of the book, which straddles highly speculative fiction and poetry. That the world we see is only an appearance created by our limited physiological abilities, sight, longevity and cultures, is a fact admitted by most writers. That there may be many variations around us is nothing more than a strong probability: but it only takes a walk along an expressway to discover one of these variations…
The novel was published in Japan in three books, the latest one year later than the first two. The UK publisher , Harvill Secker, has continued the tradition with books one and two in one volume followed by book three. I found book three in some way different in tone compared with the other two. Is it intentional, or the result of different sensibilities on the part of the two translators (Jay Rubin for books one and two, and Philip Gabriel for book three). Those translations are impressive but I wish I could read the original.
- What I’m reading now. 1Q84 (nobluehair.wordpress.com)
- The weird and enigmatic world of 1Q84 (clairemca.wordpress.com)
- Murakami – 1Q84 : A masterpiece (waystomakeyousee.wordpress.com)
- Journal on Japan popular in China despite protests (japantimes.co.jp)