Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on October 25th 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Literary, Magical Realism
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. 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 shoot-out 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.
Whew. 1Q84 is SO. LONG. I have no issues with long books – but this just went on and on and on. There is much of it that could have been taken out. By the end of the book I didn’t care about what happened to who or why. Which was what was so enjoyable about the beginning of the book.
1Q84 is extremely cerebral. It requires effort (which again, is fine in and of itself) to put all the pieces together. Still, we are left with loose strings, what happened to Fuka-Eri? Doctrines of Sakigate? The dowager? Tamatsu? In most pieces I would find the lack of an ‘ending’ (in regards to the loose ends) satisfying and mysterious in a good way – in this novel, it’s just frustrating.
All that said, 1Q84 is extremely well written – as far as style, syntax, and character development. The name dropping of famous literary works and authors is nice, along with drops of classical music.