Book Review: IQ84 by Haruki Murakami

I was reading 1Q84 towards the end of my long-term travels when we spent a last few weeks in our beloved Thailand. Revisiting the book now to review automatically takes me back to warmer, more humid climes, the refreshment of jasmine tea, the smell of sweet mango and the sensation of sand grating between my toes.This is the second time a Haruki Murakami book is featured on my blog after I read and wrote a review of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. (Bizarrely I read that book in the first few weeks of my travels so it was unintentionally apt that I read this book at the end of my trip).

It's fair to say I enjoy his writing, though it's not always typical of the writing I get lost in. To me he is a readable writer, not an addictive writer; I know I'll enjoy and gain something from his books, although they may not speak to my soul or capture a chunk of my imagination.Directly inspired by Orwell's 1984 (hence the name) 1Q84 is a set of three books and here's my short and sweet review of 1Q84: Books 1 and 2, which were published together in 2009. Book 3 was published almost 12 months later in April 2010.

What's it all about? Set in Tokyo in the year 1984 (the Japanese number 9 is pronounced like an English Q) two narrators who at first seem unconnected become unintentionally and unexpectedly aware of a strange and bizarre set of events that are changing the world around them, like unexplained changes in history and the appearance of two moons. As the strange turns to dangerous will the inexplicable be explained?

What's so good about it? The two main characters are understatedly interesting and in many ways, heroic though both carry an air of sadness about them. Personalities on the periphery are also strongly painted and the plot, which is ultimately dealing in the supernatural and bizarre, is nicely pieced together. However, this is a long, drawn-out story and I have to honestly say though I was puzzedly content with the outcome, I didn't feel inspired to read the third book (instead I read a plot summary on Wikipedia - I think I made the right decision).

Who, me? If you're a fan of Murakami you won't be disappointed as all his key components of a good story are here: strong but normal characters, simple flowing prose, unexpected but gentle twists in the plot. Furthermore, those not yet familiar with Murakami but are fans of cleverly complex but realistic fantasy and mystery novels would enjoy this read. 1Q84, however, is not for someone who likes answers to every single question asked in a story, or in life, for that matter.

Read my other short and sweet book reviews.

(Please note any links to Amazon are through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links. Thank you, please.)

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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