The Daily Rant: Raving Haruki Murakami and 1Q84

Rather than rant away on some topic that’s currently got my back up, today I wish to rave about an author I’ve recently discovered. I don’t know a lot about Japanese author Haruki Murakami, but 200 pages into his new novel, 1Q84 (first published in his native country in 2009), I am astounded and captivated by this literary marvel.

This is a long book and was originally published as a trilogy. However,  the American publishing company Knopf published all three novels in one volume last week and it’s this edition that I picked up in Hodges Figgis. For reasons best known to myself I tend not to read foreign authors (my recent attempt to read Les Miserables stalled at the end of the first volume), but it appears Murakami’s style is distinctly Western by nature.

I can’t give too much away about the story mainly because I don’t really know what it’s about. Okay, it has a fantasy feel to it because of its theme of parallel universes and a race of beings known only as the Little People. But it’s the power of Murakami’s prose that’s holding my attention. He is a very ‘readable’ literary fiction writer (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and his characters are uniquely drawn and compelling.

From what I’ve read so far, there is murder, sex, religious zealotry, magic realism and a 17-year-old Japanese dyslexic who may or may not have written a book called Air Chrysalis. It is this girl, Fuka-Eri, around which the plot revolves.

At the moment I’m taking every opportunity to read this novel, whether it’s stealing a page or two while working, or whole chapters when I have more time. Like I said, I’m only a fifth of the way through the novel. but already I feel like I’ve discovered lost treasure.

9 responses to “The Daily Rant: Raving Haruki Murakami and 1Q84

  1. I highly recommend Murakami’s “After Dark”. It made such a huge impression on me. This one also has a sliver of the fantastic, a tiny bit of the supernatural to it. The prose, the dialogue between characters, all took me some place higher. He does write in a way that makes you feel like you have found a lost treasure and it was written especially for you and you alone. Can’t wait to read 1Q84!

    • I picked up a copy of ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ earlier today and read the first two short chapters on the bus home. I think I’ll enjoy that, too.

  2. Fuka-Eri sounds like a very, very rude name …

  3. Blast you, James! Like I have time to read a very long book in November!
    Well, I bought it anyway. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Second try on leaving this comment…

    What I said was, I reviewed Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” I will have to check this one out, because I liked that one so well. His writing is so surreal. My review:

  5. Pingback: The Wheel | Priceless Paintings from W7

  6. I’m just a fan of Murakami and this is undoubtedly certainly one of his best novels, right there with works like The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Like all those works, reading the novel felt like slowly sinking into a well of dreams, and being wrapped in a mood of awareness and off hand beauty/absurdity.

    So generally, if you enjoy his novels like me, this is a must read and a good time : If you’ve never read him, you may want to begin with something shorter like Hard Boiled Wonderland.

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