It’s been a busy month and my reading has suffered for it, not to mention having to take a break 400 pages into a historical novel about the French revolution, but a visit to London and another wonderful bookshop, Foyles on the Southbank helped, tempting me with Book 3 of Murakami’s trilogy and promising to be even more of a page-turner than the first two books.
If you haven’t read it already, I suggest you begin with Book 1 &2, which I read in the summer and review here.
In essence Book 1 and 2 follow the lives of the two main protagonist’s Aomame and Tengo, who were in the same class at primary school, twenty years before the episode the book narrates occurs.
In these first two books, we follow the two characters into the alternative world of 1Q84, where everything appears normal, until they notice the presence of the two moons. Tengo has ghost-written what he assumes is a fantasy novel, however the presence of the two moons suggests otherwise. Aomame is a sports instructor with a penchant for carrying out untraceable acts of revenge.
By Book 3, we are just waiting for these two to meet as they seem to be on a collision course for doing so and Murakami seems to delight in teasing the reader, as this reunion almost happens on more than one occasion. He adds tension and pace by introducing Ushikawa, a private investigator searching for leads after the murder of the leader of a cult, an act that has yet to become public. He has sniffed out a connection between the two, before they have realised it, Tengo and Aomame are relying on and following an instinct, Ushikawa deals only in facts and is closing in on them both.
In times like these Ushikawa didn’t like to have a set objective. He let his thoughts run free, as if he were releasing dogs on a broad plain. He would tell them to go wherever they wanted and do whatever they liked, and then he would just let them go. He sank down into bath water up to his neck, closed his eyes, and, half listening to the music, let his mind wander.
Yet again, I am in awe of the grand imagination of Haruki Murakami in conceiving this extraordinary plot and notice once again the mirroring effect in the separate lives of two characters who have not yet met up and yet who encounter equivalent or parallel situations. I am sure I am only skimming the surface of what lies beneath this narrative, but it was a joy to find Book 3 as enticing as and perhaps even more exciting than the book preceding it.
Coincidence! – I’m three-quarters of the way through my fourth Murakami at the moment (not this one – which is so big it scares me). I have big problems with him, to be honest – which I may touch on if I ever get round to reviewing him – but, having read your review, I’m certainly intrigued by 1Q84.
I can, however, highly recommend his autobiography ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ – which is reeeeally short, but a joy to read.
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Which one are you reading?
I do hope you read 1Q84, then you might be able to explain the things that seem to be on the edge of my consciousness, but can’t quite be put into words. It’s the Murakami effect I think.
I do have his autobiographical book and have read snippets out of it and liked what I read, he sure has a tenacity, it’s clear in his running habits and in his writing, the few books I have read anyway.
Reading ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’.
Also: I don’t think I could say anything about 1q84 that you couldn’t express more eloquently yourself…
Shopping in a London bookstore, finding just the perfect book….a day made in heaven!
I said I wouldn’t but in fact I came out with three books, had to buy a physical copy of The Snow Child since I read it on kindle and it is my absolute favourite read of 2012 and the other one was The Nght Circus which I have heard too much about not to be tempted to indulge. Oh, but I could have bought so much more if it wasn’t for Ryanair and their strict expensive weight regulations!
I am glad you like this. I read his autobiography as well. I like that he describes his discipline of running as a metaphor to his writing.
I might have to read this in its entirety over Christmas.
Thanks for the review. I’m putting these on my reading list.
Nice review! Here in the US www can only get the book as a whole so i had to read it all at once. It got a little tedious to be honest but the story is fascinating. I’m interested to see how reading it in installments changes the experience.
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Did you read Murakami’s The Strange Library? I read it yesterday and thought of checking if you have read it….and came across this one….Will be reading Kafka on the Shore next……didn’t find this one in my library…..
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Thank’s for coming back to check, I was introduced to Murakami by my Uncle with Dance, Dance, Dance. It was kind of surreal and I was intrigued to know more about the author, so I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I talk a little about my Murakami journey in my review of the first two books of 19Q4, linked here.
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