I cannot recall exactly when Haruki Murakami first showed up on my literary radar, but ever since I’ve looked forward to the publication of each of his novels. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore both floored me with their simple strangeness. 1Q84 is the first novel he has published since 2005. Needless to say, it’s a major literary moment for Murakami fans, and I’m happy to say the book was well worth the wait. Murakami delivers a sublime, utterly original supernatural love story mystery.
Much of the enjoyment of this novel comes from the surprises revealed along the way, so I hesitate to reveal much about the book. Here’s an attempt to describe the basic plot without giving away too much.
1Q84 is the story of two people: Aomame and Tengo. The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. Aomame is a physical fitness trainer with a secret second job. Tengo is a writer and math teacher at a cram school who agrees to ghostwrite the story of a mysterious 17-year-old girl. As the story progresses, Aomame and Tengo independently begin to see that the world is not what it seems. A mysterious second moon has appeared in the sky that is not visible to everyone. Slowly, we also begin to learn how the lives of Aomame and Tengo are intertwined.
At its core, 1Q84 is the story of two lost people searching to find one another. Surrounding this simple love story is the mystery of a secret religious cult and their connection with some odd characters known only as the Little People. Aomame and Tengo discover that their relationship to this cult has put them both in danger. Further explanation of the story would only take away from experiencing the world Murakami has created in 1Q84, so I’ll stop there.
This book is long, over 900 pages, but it kept me reading in order to find out exactly what was going on and where it was headed. I only found the first few chapters of the third book to be a bit tedious.
If you enjoy fiction that throws you into a world and lets you wander around while trying to figure it out on your own, this book is for you. I highly recommend letting Haruki Murakami entertain you with his latest fabulous novel, 1Q84. Don’t let its size scare you.