Wow, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Where do you start talking about Murakami’s epic fantastical love story, 1Q84? An analysis could go in any number of interesting directions, including parallels to George Orwell’s 1984; possibly a further study of Murakami’s body of work as a whole looking at recurring themes; or the inevitability of true love; the significance of the moon as a symbol in literature; how ruined childhoods breed dysfunction; a comparative study of the ruinous power of cults and religion; an exploration of the intersection of fiction with life and vice versa; the pervasive theme of violence against women in the novel; or perhaps an analysis of 1Q84‘s more fantastical elements including the notion of the “cat town”, and the parallel two-mooned universe commanded by “little people”.
And yet, Murakami more than succeeds at bringing all these elements together in what is essentially a love story between Aomame and Tengo who meet when they are children. When Aomame takes Tengo’s hand and looks into his eyes, the power of pure love is unleashed in the two children that leaves them yearning for each other twenty years later.
As a child, Aomame leaves her family, who are members of a rigid Christian cult. As an adult she is a fitness coach/ assassin who kills men who are abusive to their wives. Tengo, is a child prodigy, who also leaves his father, a fanatical NHK bill collector, to become a writer and math teacher. Tengo – co-writes the book that creates the world they both enter, that ultimately tries to bring them together. But the almost mirror world to their own, differs in unknown and extremely dangerous ways for both of them. This novel sets pure love against a backdrop of a violent, dark, trickster world. And wow, did I ever love it. Both 1Q84 and Stephen King’s 11 12 63 are a real departure for me but I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Highly recommended!