Book Club: 1Q84

Guest post by Jen Muller

My quick review of this book is that it was thrilling to read. The story never took me in an expected route and the characters were utterly fascinating. Harukami Murakami is truly a master of metaphors and he uses his unique writing style to immerse the reader in the world he has created.

Murakami is one of those writers people either love or hate. I am personally in the group that love him and I have read a couple of his other books and short stories, so I am not surprised by the odd plots or unique writing style, though I know a few other people who call his style jarring and too unconventional for them. Before I recommend this book I would say that it was originally written in Japanese for a Japanese audience, and I am not sure if every the style translates universally. That being said I truly enjoyed this book and the journey it took me on. I would suggest giving it a shot if it at all seems like something you'd enjoy. 

The plot follows Aomame, a fitness trainer/assassin living in Tokyo, Japan, in 1984. While on the way to an assassination, she gets stuck in traffic and takes an emergency stairwell off an expressway to save time, which takes her into a parallel world, which she calls 1Q84 (Q standing for "Question). Her reality and understanding of time seems to have altered slightly. The plot also follows Tengo, an aspiring writer. Tengo is rewriting a short story "Air Chrysalis" by seventeen-year-old writer Fuka-Eri. Tengo's committal to rewrite the story to make it acceptable for publication also plunges him into 1Q84, which is what Fuka-Eri wanted. Fuka-Eri herself is a msyterious person, whose family is involved with a religious cult called the Sakigake. The Sakigake believe that their leader hears voices from beings known as the Little People. Fuka-Eri's father is the leader and is Aomame's next assignment for having raped Fuka-Eri when she was younger.Tengo and Aomame search for one another, for they realize they are connected in the plot of the Little People, and they both return up the ladder to the expressway (with Tengo holding onto his own novel in manuscript form) and leave 1Q84.

While the plot and the characters kept me intrigued long after I finished the book, I am most drawn to Murakami's writing style. His use of metaphors has a way of personifying a character's experiences in a way that immersed me into this book's universe. For example, when describing one character's consciousness being overwhelmed by a memory he compare the experience to being swept away in a tsunami. As Murakami describes the sensations that this character goes through in the scene, I felt my heart start to race and could almost picture myself being swept away in this scene as well.  

In my opinion, this book is known as a modern classic for a good reason and it is worth checking out. 

2 comments

  1. How interesting- I've never read Murakami but this story and the way he writes sound really cool. :)

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  2. Sounds like a really great book! I have never read any of his books before but you seriously have me wanting to as you say how great his writing style is! That really draws me in! Thanks so much for sharing this book, I am always looking for something new!

    Rebecca
    www.winnipegstyle.ca

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Thank you for your comments! I read every single one :]