Saturday, 25 February 2012

Book Review: 1Q84

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. 

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

I did it! I finally finished reading 1Q84! I first started reading Haruki Murakami's masterpiece back in December when I received it as a gift from my boyfriend for Christmas. "Now you can read a big girl book" he said jokingly when I opened it up. After reading countless glowing reviews about 1Q84 I was happy to discover that I was not to be disappointed! While it was a bit of a challenging read at times, Murakami's writing was so beautiful and haunting that I was mesmerized by each and every chapter. 

One of the things I loved most about 1Q84 was that the novel focused mainly  on character development rather than the plot. While this made the story move slowly at times, I was so intrigued by the characters that all I wanted to do was learn more about them anyways. Both Tengo and Aomame's narration of their memories growing up and their present situations were so engaging that I  was hooked immediately. Despite the fact that the plot itself progressed slowly, the strange world that Tengo and Aomame become apart of was so mysterious that I was also really curious to find out how everything would come together in the end. While I was left with a lot of unanswered questions after I finished the last page, it was nevertheless a very satisfying conclusion. 

The only negative thing I can say about 1Q84 is its length. At 926 pages with small font, the book is roughly the size of a dictionary. As a person who can normally read a 300 page book within 2-3 days, I figured it would take me about 12-15 days to finish 1Q84. Boy was I wrong! The fact that I wasn't able to finish reading the book as quickly as I had hoped was a bit daunting and discouraging to me. Although I loved the story, I think the slow pace in turn caused me to read more slowly. Once I did get to the end, however, I had the greatest sense of accomplishment ever! As a result, despite how much I enjoyed this novel I would only recommend it to people who have the time and patience to get through the entire story...because in the end it is worth it!

Overall, it is really difficult for me to express in words what it was about this novel that I found so endearing...hence this terribly written review. It was just so different from any other book that I have ever read before! It was magical and enchanting with a dark underbelly that was both shocking and entertaining. 1Q84 truly is Murakami's masterpiece! 

Rating: 5 Stars


Jenny said...

a big girl book. Hee hee. I like that. Its funny that you say this one is more character driven. After my review yesterday I'm wondering if I would like this one. It sound intriguing.

TG said...

Oh wow, Natalie, I'm so impressed you finished this! I've been staring at it and wondering if I'm brave enough to read it, because the length scares me so much. I'm glad you liked it; I'm sure it's amazing and I hope I muster up the strength to tackle it myself.

Shoshanah said...

I think this book sounds really interesting. Yes, I can see how it's a little daunting, but I'd love to make the time for it.

My anxious life said...

Can't wait to read this... I know what you mean about big girl books. I have been trying to read some non-YA books lately!!


Chelsey said...

YOU FINISHED! Woooohoooo! Tom must be so proud ;). As per usual, I love your review! You have such a talent for centering in on the core of a story -- this one clearly being the characters. Wonderful review =)!

Ikhlas said...

Wow, congrats on finishing this!! I saw that you were reading this awhile ago, and I wanted to follow in suit since I won my copy in December as well but I still haven't gotten around to it.

Your great review just might push me to finally read this now!

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