Finally finished 1Q84! And what I’ve started on (June, 2012)

So as you’ve most likely guessed from the title, after having the book for six months I’ve finally managed to complete 1Q84! I’m extremely excited about this because it’s a FANTASTIC series of works and has actually given me inspiration for one of my own pieces, which I was struggling with in terms of the author’s voice and flow of the writing. Murakami has a very unique style of writing which I don’t think I’ve seen before, and it’s refreshing to find new styles like this. Whenever I open the book up it’s like breathing fresh spring air after the stuffiness of winter and keeping the house locked up for three months. It’s wonderful sense of place, well-crafted characters and obvious emphasis on symbolism and motifs all contribute to the work’s effect on its reader.


Murakami is probably the first author I’ve read who writes in a truly ‘magical realist’ style. He blends the world of 1Q84/’The Cat Town’ so seamlessly with 1984 (the real world) that it’s hard to distinguish between the two, and as a reader I often got a bit lost between them but I think this was the intended effect. It’s like you’re in the story itself, participating as a character rather than observing from outside which the third person would indicate in any other circumstance. The idea of the maza and the dohta made a lot more sense when I finished the third book, the relationship between the two concepts and Air Chrysalis was clearer and more solid than it had been.


One bug bear I do have, and I’m not afraid to say it, is that at some points the element of confusion was rather awkward in terms of how it was put across. I suspect this has something to do with the translation, it’s a real shame I never learnt Japanese because had I been able to read the original I don’t think I would have had that problem. Also, the large gap of time between when the second and third books were written has had some effect on the storyline. It doesn’t seem quite so clear-cut as it had in books one and two, and a lot of information was left for the reader to extrapolate. The introduction of Ushikawa’s chapters in the third section also proved an annoyance, especially when tension was high and all you wanted to do was find out what happened and not have the break. But I think it served its purpose, breaking up the constant alternation between Aomame and Tengo and providing the information we needed to unravel the Sakigake plot.


So overall, it’s a fantastic series and I’d recommend it to anyone, but it’s a double-edged sword because it does have some faults.


Now that I’ve finished with 1Q84 I’ve decided to continue on with another book that I began reading on the train a few weeks ago, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It’s an interesting novel, based on a supposedly futuristic, dystopian society set in America. It seems to be based around some sort of religious cult society where women are inferior to men and all operate under a rigorous class system. When I first started reading it I was quite horrified when I realised what the women were being used for (I can’t actually bring myself to say it, being female and slightly feminist myself), but after a while you become desensitised to it and are able to continue reading. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before, except maybe a slight reminder of 1984 by George Orwell which I read some time ago. Atwood has an interesting, detached sort of writing style which gives a real sense of situation in terms of what the characters must be feeling. Best read at your own peril, though it’s worth it if you like dystopian stuff.


Finally, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and I’m going to slog my way through Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I’ve been meaning to finish it off since grade ten when I gave up on it (that was almost five years ago), and there’s still a bookmark on page eighty-something. It should be interesting, now that I’ve read some other Russian literature (See the post about Chekhov’s plays). I think I’ve got a better idea of how to view it and maybe I won’t find it so dry.


Anyway, now that I’m on holidays I’ll be reading and writing a lot more so I’ll have to keep you all updated, as few of you as there are. Don’t forget that if you know anyone who likes reading and might be interested in what I write about, recommend this blog! It’s all about sharing opinions and discussion, and I don’t really see very much of that. It would be nice if I did, so I encourage you all to post if you feel like it!


So that’s it from me for now, hopefully I’ll be able to update soon.




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