1Q84 (Books 1 & 2) by Haruki Mirukami

Saturday 28th January

Well, that seemed a marathon read, I can tell you.  Not that, on reflection, all that much has really happened.  As usual in Mirukami novels an awful lot of food prepared and eaten, description of clothes worn and of course the girls ears, well one of them anyway.  Also the obligatory cats, in the shape of a story read by Tengo, the male character, called Town of Cats, and an awful lot about the moon, or rather two moons which suddenly appear in the world 1Q84.  The novel is set in the year 1Q84, which is a slight deviation of the year 1984, and whereas most of the world is living in the year 1984, a few people have slipped gear and found themselves in the slightly different world of 1Q84.  I kept finding myself reading IQ84, as in intelligence quotient, rather than 1Q, maybe a Freudian slip too far. Well, as you might expect the book is weird, but not like most magical realism, this is a very grounded novel, grounded in the quite everyday, except that there is always the hint of evil just around the corner, and sometimes right in your face.  I found the book a bit too long to be honest.  There was so much repetition too, so many re-iterated and repetitive reflections by the two main characters.  This of course is how you build up characters in a novel, by re-enforcing the peculiarities and dilemmas they find themselves in.  Nobody wants to read a straight narrative…and then they did this, and then they did that, but perhaps a bit more editing of Mr. Marukami’s long-winded and slow unfolding of the story might have been in order.  Maybe when you get this famous nobody dares tell you how to write.

Like all clever novelists he has left us just at the exciting bit, a hair trigger literally away from some sort of resolution, and I will now just have to buy Book 3 I suppose. But I may not rush to read it too quickly.