1Q84 is a meandering work. It’s not a quick read, though that’s not because it’s difficult: rather, it’s because Murakami takes his time savouring plot elements. He chews the characters over. In some ways, it’s Murakami-by-numbers – there’s ear fetishism, music fetishism and other standard tropes – but it also bears an unexpected shout-out to his non-fiction writing. Underground‘s explanation of cult terrorism certainly appears to have influenced the story here – it’s hard to see some of the cult imagery here without Shoko Asahara coming to mind.
At heart, this is a love story. It’s surrounded by weirdness, and it slips between worlds, but it’s the tale of two people and their journey to find each other. Sounds twee, but Murakami has always been about solitude and its alternatives. (more…)