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There are two moons and one has a greenish tint. This is the world of 1Q84 where Aomame (which means green peas) stumbles into by climbing down a ladder in Japan. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a great story intermixed with mystery and interesting events. It frequently refers to 1984 by George Orwell and from that you get the feeling that something strange is watching the characters progress, even if it isn’t Big Brother.
I had never read a Murakami book before and even though it was over 900 pages, I was blown away. I’ve read a lot of reviews that say that this book is not the one to start with for new fans. I can see why. The story centers mainly on two people: Aomame and Tengo. Their stories intersect although it doesn’t seem obvious at first. Aomame’s part time job is ending the lives of men who assault women. Tengo teaches math and writes books which seems innocent enough.
The basic outline of the plot is that Aomame kills men who hurt women by sexually abusing them. She works for a dowager whose own daughter was driven to suicide because of that. She is contracted to kill the Leader, a man whose daughter named Fuka-Eri, works with Tengo. The Leader has supposedly raped some young girls and the dowager thinks he must pay for this.
Tengo meanwhile ghost writes a book about a girl (presumably Fuka-Eri) who gets shut up in a shed with a dead goat and then “The Little People” come out of its mouth. The Little People make a cocoon while they are in the shed and a duplicate Fuka-Eri who is then called the dohta while the real Fuka-Eri is called the maza. Ushikawa, a private detective who we are told again and again is the ugliest man alive, has a nose for sniffing people out. He is employed by the cult to find out where Aomame is, since she killed Leader.
The rest of the book involves Tengo and Aomame trying to meet each other and not being found out by the cult’s followers. Eventually, the world of 1Q84 is left behind for the regular world with only one moon.
Some problems I had were probably due to the fact that it was three books mashed into one. So, there was the repeating of facts which was for the unaware reader’s benefit but which was not for mine. It felt a bit dragged out and I wondered when The Little People were suddenly going to descend and make another appearance. There were also other references that I didn’t get the meaning of which means that either I’m just not literate enough to know what the point of the reference was or it didn’t really have a point.
I wondered what happened to Fuka-Eri and whether or not it was really her dohta who met with Tengo that last time. There were many things that didn’t really add up but overall it was definitely an interesting read. I wondered whether Tengo’s father was actually the strange NHK collector who kept banging on everyone’s door. In the end though, the mysteries are what make me think about it more.
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