WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
Synopsis: 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.
So, ever since I saw the book come out, I’ve always wanted to read it because of the clean, nice cover. I know, you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but hey, I did, and I liked the cover.
Length: 1Q84 is a huge novel with definitely more than 800 pages (I actually read a 1100 something pages but it depends on your book). This book was huge. I would carry it around and read and people would stare at me funny because the book was notoriously humongous. The reason why the book is huge in the first place is because the book is separated into three books, making it a trilogy. I just happened to have all three books in one. Anyways, in terms of the length of the book, there were some parts in the book that were unnecessarily long and some parts that were rightfully long. Regardless, every single section was very long. Murakami did a good job elaborating on every single detail… too good. The one thing I won’t forget about this novel when it comes to length is Murakami’s extensive, excessive descriptions about the food Tengo or Aomame cooked in the book. He would tell how the food was cooked in great detail, and spent a good half a page to a page talking about Tengo and Aomame just cooking their supper. In my opinion, it’s a bit much. However, when it came to explaining passages that needed to be explained (Like the “Little People”) Murakami did a good job at telling everything the reader needed to know. Key word: NEEDED to know. There were many things I wondered about the Little People as I read the novel since they were indeed mysterious. Usually, authors reveal everything in bits and chunks, but I have a feeling Murakami wants us readers to imagine our own scenarios and solutions to the unanswered questions we ask throughout the book. It’d be boring if Murakami revealed everything yes? Anyways, on length, I thought the length was just right… in most places that is.
Plot: Let me just say the beginning was so slow. Not even joking. I was about to quit on this book because it started to really pick up around the end of book one transitioning to book two. If you’re really interested, don’t give up till then! Anyways, There are times where I get so confused about the plot. And then there are times where I go “Oh wow this is going to be so predictable.” But most of the time, I was pretty confused on the events that occurred in the novels. I had to read the first few passages pretty carefully because I couldn’t be too sure whether Aomame was actually in 1Q84 or not. However, Murakami does a nice job confusing us with events that don’t seem to be connectable and then resolving that confusion by having another event that helps us understand why certain things happened. However, throughout the books, most of those events would put us right where we were: confused. You will never stop asking questions when it comes to this book. However, when you finish the book, you will feel a great, epic resolve, I promise. The questioning in your head will definitely stop! Anyways, even though the plot of this novel was very, very confusing at times, I feel like Murakami had premeditated this plot for a very long time, putting thousands of small, detailed, yet crucial complications into the novel, making this novel so enjoyable. Not only that, the plot itself was very unique. It’s a very modern, realistic novel, yet at the same time, with the Little People and air chrysalises, it’s has a fairy-tale aspect to it, making this novel perfect for the person who likes a twisted, slightly dark and strange fairy tale and for the person who likes a novel that’s pretty realistic for the first part. Romance lovers will definitely love this novel. Especially hopeless romantics. The romance that is portrayed in this novel is so subtle, yet so deep. Small, romantic may seem insignificant in this book; yet so significant it contributes to the plot.
Writing Style: This is the first time I’ve ever read a book by Haruki Murakami and I was pretty impressed with the way he writes. First of all, it’s very, very detailed. In some places, too detailed (I mentioned this in the length portion of this review). Nevertheless, I learned to endure the descriptions and eventually when I finished the book, I felt sentimental about those descriptions because those descriptions actually served many productive purposes in the novel, which pleased me greatly. Indirect characterization is my favorite kind of description and he had a bunch of those. Now, when I was reading this novel, I found something very distinct about Murakami’s writing style- his writing style seems very distant, yet very precise and concise. Although he described a lot in areas that didn’t need elaboration, those descriptions were very clean and concise, Murakami managing to tell a lot of information without any petty excess details. Nevertheless, Murakami’s writing style is different from other authors I’ve read. It’s very fresh, with a professional feel to it. It’s kind of the iPhone 5S, fresh and professional.
Character Development: Somehow, without the reader getting too close and personal with the main characters, Murakami did it. When I read the novel, I felt so close and personal with Tengo and Aomame, but Murakami’s descriptions make me feel as if I’m so close to Tengo and Aomame, yet so far away. It’s a very weird feeling and it’s a feeling I’ve felt throughout the book. Out of all the characters, the one character I will always relate to is Aomame. Murakami does a really good job describing her lifestyle, mindset, history, and explaining why she does certain things. The thing that I love is how Murakami has made very small, intricate details about each character’s life, and using those details as important plot changers in the book, or using those details to help the reader understand the character better. Also, the characters felt very, very real. I knew all of the character’s flaws, and the fact that all the characters, even the good guys, have a bunch of flaws that make them more human. The fact that the main characters are not goody-goody all the time really made me happy to read this book. For example, Tengo having sex every Friday with his married girlfriend? Aomame going to cafes to pick up guys and have sex with guys with baldheads because she likes it? I feel like the characters are so human, so authentic. However, one thing I didn’t like was the over-carefulness of Tengo and Aomame. Yes, even though they were mature 30 year olds, the fact that Aomame and Tengo are so careful of themselves all the time disturbed me a little bit. I felt they were too careful, and honestly, when I read passages about Aomame and Tengo being overly careful, I would roll my eyes and go “Honestly, would you be THAT careful going to the bar?” Just a thought I had at some points of the book.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book to anyone who really likes a mix of every genre because this book mainly has fantasy, romance, and thrills. I wouldn’t recommend this to any young adults unless they’re a mature reader. (There are plenty of awkwardly written sex scenes.) As for language, there is some language that is inappropriate but it wasn’t a huge issue as I was reading. Maybe because I’m used to it, I don’t know. Bad language was there, but it didn’t seem to strike me. Other than that, I recommend this hefty read to anyone who’s willing to challenge themselves with a hefty book. This book is probably suited to young mature readers and adults. This book is a slightly peculiar, dark fantasy with a bit of romance and is definitely not for everyone.
Last thoughts: I really felt so accomplished when I finished this book. If I had enough time and energy (I don’t), I would totally read this book again to make some more detailed observations and just immerse myself into 1Q84. Murakami has done a spectacular job creating a world I can sink into. I’ll probably reread the book again just for pleasure. 1Q84 was truly a great, satisfying read.