I was quite windswept by this book. Not the kind of fresh summer-breeze that briefly blows through a sunny and crowded Shinjuku street, but like a violent wind during a roaring thunderstorm that beats angrily at your windows.
1Q84 is a thoughtful book, a tale spun with many narratives, yet one delicately woven with a master’s flair and technicality. Its translation to English is, I’d like to say, superbly done, with each word seemingly chosen with delicate care, like a skilled wordsmith working at rewriting a curious novel.
It is interesting to see how a mysterious woman who hides in plain sight is shown in the same light as a giant of a man who conceals nothing. Varied as their worlds may be, the novel’s direction can sometimes be agonizingly tantalizing, especially when it feels like you can see the hands of all involved. And there are plenty personalities in the mix: a dyslexic teenager with beautiful curves, a no-nonsense man of little words, an ugly investigator with a cunning mind, a rich woman with an old apartment building, and many more memorable characters who are connected through Air Chrysalis.
The setting seems surreal, but sometimes, as with Occam’s razor, what is considered the simplest answer is likely the correct one, even if it means believing in Little People that come out of people’s mouths, in air chrysalises that spawn dohtas, in godlike men with telekinetic powers.
Nevertheless, it is a treat to see how a simple event of twenty years ago can keep one in love, despite the stretch of distance and time, and how pure such a feeling can be. No matter the pain, the weird phone calls, the words unspoken, the reality of unreality, the sex with random strangers, the loneliness – there is nothing quite like knowing that there is someone on this earth that you would willingly, happily give up your life for.
I enjoyed 1Q84, savoring not only its literary beauty but also its darkness, its sex, its mystery, its emotion. While it may seem like it ended with some connections left untied, it does close up most of its story together where the main protagonists are involved. For the rest of its shadowy cast, it is probably better to look up at the moon for that, and silently ask for its yellow face to reveal what might be happening in a world like 1Q84.
“… And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before… But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Review first written November 27, 2019.