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.
HOLY MOLY. Where do I even start??
This is the kind of sciene fiction that makes you question the entire world around you. Am I one of the ignorant ones living in 1Q84 unaware of the second moon? Should I worry about the Little People climbing into my puppy and placing a bomb? If I take that stair case, will I enter, or leave the world I’m currently in? (And is that really a bad thing?)
So many questions. And really, like in Tengo’s ghostwritten book Air Chrysalis, not very many answers. The only thing I can think to compare this to is the Lord of the Rings. Not because 1Q84 is anything like LOTR in substance. NOT HARDLY! But it gives you that drowning feeling, where even when you don’t fully comprehend the world you’re in, you can’t leave it. You cannot put the book down until it is finished, no matter how confused or uncomfortable you feel.
And you WILL feel uncomfortable with this. There is violence, and child rape. Even sort of male rape, in a way? I don’t know how to feel about Tengo and Fuka-Eri, except icky. I could accept Leader being a rapist and his paralysis as an excuse/lie/etc. It made me feel completely sick to my stomach, of course, but as a part of the character, it made sense. But to watch it happen to Tengo? Is he still a pedophile? He very much tried to push those urges down. Disgusting urges, but he did not want them. What happened to him was almost as victimizing to him as the other way around. I am sure many people will disagree with me–there’s a lot of me that disagrees with myself, and that may be the point of this section. It’s just altogether complicated and horrible.
I found this image on Goodreads and it is SO accurate. This is my first Murakami novel, but for 1Q84 it fits perfectly.
I feel…uncomfortable about this book. The writing is well done, enough to capture my attention, and it’s incredibly detailed and thought out. The subject matter bothered me a lot, but I think that was the whole point. I would like to read another of his books to see how they play out, but I will give myself a breather for now.