Monday, May 7, 2018

Spring RA Book Club: 1Q84

by Haruki Murakami

Christine's review:

Haruki Murakami is an intriguing writer who captivates his audience through the use of specific details and the most peculiar situations, environments, and characters interwoven into an equally interesting world. 1Q84 delves straight into the idea of a parallel world where mysterious forces of the Little People dominate a sort of mystical presence and culture around a world that seems familiar to our main characters, Aomame and Tengo but is all too life-threatening. While I cannot discern the specifics of these powers and supernatural characters, I feel that I am meant to suspend my disbelief and go with the flow, so to say, while reading Murakami's work. I am to take it at face value, accept it, and learn to understand the world from what information I am given. It was a unique way of reading this novel, one that I was frustrated as well as captivated by; I simply could not put the book down and devoured each page because the ambiguity of everything kept me craving for more of anything Murakami was willing to throw my way. I have to appreciate this style and technique of writing because it is difficult to captivate readers for an 1000+ page book, but Murakami managed to pull me in and make me feel that I did not spend hours on this book but rather minutes. Essentially, I find the writing quite masterful, but the plot to be one that needs to constantly be grappled with, understanding that most likely, there will not be a clear answer in the end. However, perhaps that is a fair lesson to the rest of us - what would life be if we had clear answers all the time?

Roza's review:

I must say that this book was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting science fiction, in a sense, but found much more complexity of theme while reading. Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 is a book about the world and our perception of it. Murakami offers a story that engages with the surreal and the fantastical in a very natural way, making for a story that no longer needs a genre classification, but can exist as someone's story, as real as any other. Though rather lengthy, 1Q84 is worth the read. Murakami's commitment to world-building in this work more or less necessitates the story's length, as it constructs the framework for a world that is so believable, I almost think that it could really be true. Despite its less-than-brisk pace, 1Q84 is absolutely worth the read. I'll be sure to check out more of Murakami's work!

Tanya's review:

I enjoyed reading 1Q84! Murakami creates immersive, enchanting worlds. I appreciated his unique, complex characters. Although the book ends leaving several ambiguities open, overall it is a treat to step into Murakami’s imagination.

Sameen's review:

1Q84 is a tour de force of a book. At over a thousand pages, the book feels like a heavy load to lug around not only in your backpack but in your head as well. But if ever there were a moment to not judge a book by its cover, 1Q84 would be the best example. The book felt light in terms of its reading, infused with very accessible stories of long-lost love, wondrous disappearances and a great spy-tale as well. As with most Murakami novels, 1Q84 possesses an airy feeling to it that manages to make even the most complex and convoluted stories in the novel appear relatable. If you thought you'd never become attached to a highly efficient, no-holds barred, vengeful hit-woman, read 1Q84 and see how you feel after.

Sam's review:

1Q84 is a compelling story about two lonely individuals that hold on to a feeling of solidarity that they shared in their childhood for decades after they last met. Murakami captivates readers by creating an ominous and mysterious supernatural world, 1Q84, where our main characters enter. The novel simultaneously presents characters that deal with complex social issues such as domestic abuse, broken parent-child relationships, and isolation. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the novel, Murakami layers the novel with unanswered questions, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about 1Q84. 1Q84 is an excellent novel that challenges readers at every twist and turn of the plot.

Anna's review:

Similar to Murakami books that I have read in the past, 1Q84 creates an almost realistic world with just enough mysticism that it requires one to suspend their disbelief to fully dive in. I really enjoyed the separation of the novel into individual stories about both main characters Aomame and Tengo. The separate storylines helped me to become connected to each character and their story and created curiosity about their connection and when their paths would cross similar to another book club read-All the Light We Cannot See. I also listened to this on audiobook which had different readers to voice each section allowing for even deeper connection to the characters. Murakami created an intriguing world and left me with a lot of questions about how it works. While I enjoyed the novel overall and appreciated the detailed stories and interesting links between each new situation, I felt that the ending left something to be desired. Murakami spent literally hundreds of pages creating this world and the forces that control it, yet the resolution seemed too easy, too simple.

Sunny's review:

I really enjoyed reading 1Q84, particularly the aspect in which the chapters alternated perspectives. The way the two plotlines, and eventually three started out completely unrelated and then became intertwined created great suspense. This novel, while a dystopian one, held a lot of powerful insight and thought-provoking themes such as love, religion, and free will. The theme of love in its various forms stood out to me most – the familial, platonic, and romantic. The constant focus on the two moons and allusions to predetermined fate had me looking up at the moon, just to make sure there still is only one moon. The ending left many questions in the air, not too many, but just enough to look forward to a potential sequel.

Louise's review:

1Q84 was a confusing yet engaging ride. Haruki Murakami seamlessly integrates these fantastical elements of alternate universes with spot on depictions of 1980s Japan. His world building is truly unparalleled and the world he does create is the perfect setting for an adventure of this magnitude. His characters are intriguing. They draw you in immediately with their unique voices and stories and before you know it you've flipped through 200 pages chaos. I appreciated the ways in which Murakami was able to connect these unique stories with one another to create this work that is nothing short of a masterpiece. My one gripe was how he chose to end the piece. Though I was happy that Tengo and Aomame ended up together in the end, I almost didn't want that to happen simply because there was an expectation that they wouldn't. Otherwise, it was an amazing read overall!

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