I wanted to love 1Q84 so badly, because I am such huge fan of Orwell. 1984 was the novel for me, the one that derailed my normal life into literature – where my life is far from normal here. But sadly, the book just did not astound me, not nearly as much as the original nor in a way that made a long lasting impression – except of disappointment.
Everyone sits in traffic. And when you’re stuck in a particularly long jam, on the way to a meeting, don’t you just want to get out? Well one day Aomame does just that, as her taxi driver suggests she takes an emergency stairway and the subway. But that one action, changes her life forever and takes her into a new world, the world of 1Q84. And with this one minute detail, Aomame’s fate is taken into a new direction full of both danger and possibility, love and death, and ultimately asks us if love can navigate these muddled waters to emerge on the other side.
So let’s just dive right into it, what were my main disappointments? Well for one, the book takes a really long time for the world, the mystery, or the plot to unfold. We spend pages of text immersed in the memories of Aomame and Tengo and these passages (including pieces of text and books) lose you. Not in the sense of being overwhelmed, but in the sense of wondering where this story is going.
Now on the other side, there were other things I loved about this book – mainly the female characters and the writing. There were passages I just loved, that struck me, and made me stop. This is the writing that invigorates me. At the same time, the overt and continuous 1984 references were nuanced and gave the book an entirely new light. Not only where there parallels, but the characters themselves talk about the book, enriching the experience of reading, especially in juxtaposition with this iconic work. Additionally, there is such a dream like quality, an eerie suspense throughout the entire book. This only increases once the “Little People’ come onto the scene.
While I found myself lost in other perspectives, I practically skipped between Aomame’s chapters. I found her absolutely fascinating, not only because of her background, but also her attitude on life. She single handedly saves the book for me and gets more complex and interesting the further the book progresses.
I will not spoil this book for you, because there is such a wealth of detail and intrigue, but just tuck into this on a summer when you have very little to do, when you want to be able to put a book down, and savor the moments. It is an intense portrayal of characters and a world – in all its minute details – but one that you appreciate in the little touches – the music, the descriptions of the moon, and the themes of love.
Check out 1Q84 on Goodreads.
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