About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

#24: 1Q84

1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011)

"The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

"A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestions 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.

"As Aomame's and Tengo's narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shootout with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

"A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's -- 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami's most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant bestseller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers."

Opening Line:
"The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast."

My Take:
Interesting in the way it combines a fantasy world/ parallel universe, a mystery/ suspense story, and even a little bit of a love story ... but it wasn't worth the almost 950 pages it took to get there (or else this just isn't my genre, or something was lost in translation, any of which are possible). The concept of a parallel world with 2 moons where everything's just slightly different was interesting, but the whole Air Chrysalis novella that Tengo is ghostwriting and the Little People who featured prominently therein just left me cold. I can appreciate the positive reviews the book got, but it didn't really speak to me personally.

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