Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Book Review: "1Q84" by Haruki Murakami

Front cover and binding
Back cover

 I read the blurb of this particular novel at the Hong Kong airport bookshop's rack back in April 2012.  That's right, I had to put the book on the rack for support as I read because it would just create too much scene if I had damaged it somehow by juggling my grip between my carry-on cabin bag and the 1157 pages thick novel.
So it was a pass for me.  I had a 6 year old girl that runs on solar power (and sugar fuel) with me, that was enough to occupy my entire time while waiting for the next flight.

Fast forward to 2015, that strange thick novel crept up in my head, it's been a while since "Cloud Atlas", so I ordered that 0.897 kg novel to be delivered.  Thank universe for technology.  

This Vintage International publication put the trilogy of 1Q84 into 1 "compact" book.  I agree with them that it is quite clever to do so rather than publishing it separately as Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3.  Which I have seen it done in other languages' publication.
That is right, 1Q84 was originally written in Japanese and has been translated into English (the one I read, if you have not yet established) and several other languages such as Chinese and Korean.
I must say that with each languages, translating such big works must have posed a degree of difficulty in emulating the Japanese emotion (or the non-emotion but the overflowing unspoken thoughts) and way of thinking.  Kudos to Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel for undertaking such mammoth task and executing with finesse.

This book is in a class of its own and is by no way in comparison to the much hyped "50 Shades of Grey" although the author let us in on some insight on what the 1980's Roppongi was all about, but not too much as to be classified 'trash' or not recommended.  If you could not pass chapter 2 of "50 Shades of Grey" like me, then "1Q84" is the book for you.  It has no fluff and carries a book within a book.

If you do get the same copy as mine, you'll find the page numbers rather odd looking.  Almost as if it tries to play with the reader's perception.  Which reality are you in now?
Then on page 512, you're posed with the basic chicken and egg question on love.  I reckon that paragraph itself, right at the top of page 512 is the crux of every human being's problem and solution.  This is quite amusing if you do get a copy like mine because you'll find that that paragraph is located sort of almost right at the balance of the book when opened.  

Overall for me, this book is a very good read and quite easy to just cruise by it on a long weekend (I started on Friday and finished it Tuesday).  Perhaps because not only Murakami describe things so eloquently but also the fact that I can relate so much to the 1980's that it is as if I was in the characters themselves.
No wonder it is a national best seller, how I wish I continued with my Japanese and so to read it in its original version.

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