Friday, 9 March 2012

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

This is the first Haruki Murakami novel that I've ever read, and I would never have touched this book with a long pole if not for the fact that it was in the New York Times Bestseller list on 4th December 2011. Yes, I had downloaded that book into my Kindle since December last year, but was only able to start reading it early last month.

A 3-volume work that was written in Japanese, the books were combined into a huge single-volume monster when translated into English. A friend told me that I would be eighty by the time I finished the book. She was almost right. It took me more than a month to finish the 1000-page novel. But hang on....I've read 1000+ pages novel in one-eighth of the time it took me to finish '1Q84'. 'Under the Dome' by Stephen King comes to mind. So, what gives?

'1Q84' was a long, tedious novel. If 'Under the Dome' was a home-made burger of 100% beef patty, then '1Q84' was a cheap mass-produced burger with lots of fillers added. Hundreds of prosaic pages that did not move the story along were filled for no other reason than to contribute to the wealth of the timber tycoons. I would not have bothered completing the novel except that I was curious to find out if the two protagonists, Aomame and Tengo,  would ever meet and if they had wandered into an alternate reality or living in a parallel universe.

The plot vacillates between Aomame and Tengo with Tokyo as the setting....a Tokyo with two moons and 'Little People' who emerged from the mouth of a dead goat. Little people that came out as two inches tall but shook themselves up to twenty-eight inches. They plucked thin threads from the air and made air chrysalises. 

Those little people, we were told, were intelligent and powerful with long arms. Intelligent....ok, the most intelligent words that came out of their mouths were, "Ho, ho.". As for powerful.....they can't directly harm the protagonists (read: limited powers), and they kept shifting their focus like a short-attention-span five-year-old. 

Last, but not least, four whole months were dedicated to Aomame not doing anything except cook, eat, read, sleep and exercise. A more depressing book I have yet to come across. Each reading left me feeling dejected to the point of being suicidal. Die-hard fans of Haruki Murakami are probably going to slay me for this criticism, but I welcome their putting an end to my misery. '1Q84' is nothing more than a long, painful verbal diarrhea.