WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
Synopsis: In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
Length: At first, with the way the novel was arranged, I was a bit confused on how each section of the book was numbered. However, as I went through the book, the numbered sections were very useful to me because it helped me start and end the book at a good place. The length of the book itself was large, but every word was worth it. The sections were short and sweet and I loved reading every word.
Plot: I was in love with the plot. As you can see, I really like reading Asian themed books and I understood most of the references in this book, making this book very fascinating for me. The plot is very unique and magical yet very realistic in it’s own way (read the book and you’ll understand what I mean.) I loved how Ozeki pieced together two very different separate plots together. It’s something I like to call genius.
Writing Style: This is the first time I’ve read a book by Ruth Ozeki and I’m glad to say that I would love to read more books by her! Her writing style is very lighthearted despite the fact that the plot is mostly gloomy (in Nao’s case.) Her writing style is very raw and the rawness is what really attracted me throughout the book.
Character Development: My favorite part of this whole book is the character development. Ozeki developed the characters so nicely and you can see that both characters (Ruth and Nao) developed greatly throughout the book, with some developments more obvious than others. I loved how Nao became stronger because of her great grandmother Jiko despite all of the things she’s been through. Nao’s story is in many ways inspiring to others and I like how Ozeki spread her story to Ruth, someone who needed inspiring (especially for her writing.)
Recommendations: I recommend this to anyone who wants to try a book with unique themes mixed together. This is not the book for people who don’t like to think or to be fascinated with various unique concepts such as Zen Buddhism and quantum physics. This book will make you think. I also recommend this to anyone who loves/knows Japanese culture because many of Ozeki’s references will make you laugh (especially in Nao’s story.)
Last Thoughts: Ozeki makes a lot of footnotes for a bunch of references and I really appreciated that because she has probably done a bunch of research to create this book. There’s a bunch of appendixes for more information on some concepts and I strongly suggest you to read the appendixes because it makes the novel even more complex and interesting as it already is. At first, I thought she was overdoing it with the abundance of references but now I see it as a great result of effort and carefulness. This book is a masterpiece and I would reread it again if I had the time to.
WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
Synopsis: Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
Length: The length of the book wasn’t too overwhelming. Not too short, not too long. The book in terms of length didn’t negatively affect other aspects of the book yet it didn’t impact other qualities positively. The only thing I have criticism for is the length of the chapters. Some were short and sweet, some were overwhelmingly long and daunting. I remember that I had to pause in a middle of a chapter because it was too long to read in one siting while some chapters took 10 minutes at most. Wasn’t too big of a problem though.
Plot: To be honest, when I looked at the synopsis, I thought, “What makes this particular love story different from the others?” From the outside, yes, it does look like a generic, recycled love story with the love triangles and drama. However, if you dig a little deeper and read the book carefully, you can obviously see that this story is not one you see everyday. It’s a horrible, depressing tragedy with a bunch of complications that will only make the story even more serious. The story has a very nostalgic, empty, yet dramatic feel to it. This story obviously shows more rather than telling. As the story goes on, you can practically feel yourself being and feeling emotionally hurt, violated, and dirty with the characters. With an already depressing opening, this story is 100% serious with a bit of humor and weird phrases every once in a while. However, the ending to me was very, very intriguing. There are a lot of twists and surprises in the story to keep the reader interested (and sad.)
Writing Style: Murakami has a very distinctive writing style that is mysteriously appealing to me. While you can feel that you are literally in and experiencing the story, you can also feel the detached nature in Murakami’s writing style. So detached that it slightly affects the point of view in the story (which is 1st.) The writing style is very dominant and powerful to the point where the story is in 3rd person with all the descriptions and background information provided, and in 1st person with Toru’s thoughts. The writing style is unique and appealing, and overpowering in a subtle, mysterious, and detached tone.
Character Development: All of the characters have either developed negatively or stayed the same. I feel like Murakami didn’t do the best job with character development. I felt like Toru was a very flat character and he’s the protagonist. I was disappointed and didn’t like Toru very much. He was just a boring character. In fact, almost all the characters were flat; especially Nagasawa and Toru. The only character I saw was round was Midori, making her my favorite character in the book. But even then, Midori wasn’t very round, but she is to a certain extent. Despite the fact that they are all flat, Murakami at least does a great job making all the characters, especially, Toru, realistic. The only character that seemed to show any development or change was Naoko, since she has been through a lot of emotional ups and downs, changing her. But other than that, I was kind of expecting more complexity in the characters, and many of the characters were predictable, and that was a disappointment.
Recommendations: I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a book with a very different mindset. Anyone who wants to read something so realistic, it’s almost like a biography. If you want to read a serious, realistic romance novel that will leave you intrigued page after page, then read this book. Norwegian Wood is probably one of the romantic novels I’ve read since romance is a huge theme in this piece, but it is real, mature, and raw in a subtle way. This book is not for anyone on the young or immature side of things since this book has some language, mature concepts, and sex.
Last Thoughts: Ok, let me ramble about the ending. When I finally finished reading the book, I was very confused so I read the last page of the book over and over again, realizing that the ending was open-ended. I spent a lot of my time trying to figure out an ending since it’s not very specific. I loved the ending even though it frustrated me to no end. Oh, and please, please don’t watch the movie. The movie doesn’t portray the book well. Sure, the guy who plays Toru’s hot and sure, the scenery was breathtaking, but the movie felt rushed and you NEVER, EVER rush a love story.
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.
Ok, so here will be my post where all of your questions about what, when, and how I do my book reviews will be located.
So, first of all I have a rating system from 1 - 5. They will be shown with these cute cloud symbols. (☁)
If you see five clouds, then it’s a really, really good book. One start stands for a bad book and so on.
I also rate my books by categories. I will review each book in the following catergories: length, plot, writing style, character development, and recommendations.
Most of my reviews will contain spoilers. So before you think about reading any of the books I’ve reviewed, you better know a little bit about the book.
Oh, I don’t do requests unless I, myself am interested. I’m also pretty picky with my books so don’t even try.
Ok, I think that’s it! Enjoy my reviews!