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1Q84 Book 3
on 26 October 2011
I will assume that if you are considering reading Book 3 of 1Q84 that you have read (and enjoyed) Book 1 and 2. If so, you are in for a treat. This book has taken over my life recently and I have enjoyed every second of reading it. To begin with, Book 3 is a continuation of the previous books - that is, it is not a 'stand alone' novel and will make no sense unless you have read the previous books.
This time, the chapters are told from the point of view of Aomame, Tengo and Ushikawa, who previously offered a 'deal' to Tengo from the New Japan Foundation and who vetted Aomame before she met the Leader. For people who thought the previous books dragged, or meandered, this book will not be for you. Much of this book contains people who are looking for others, while others are hiding. Ushikawa has been told by Buzzcut and Ponytail (the Leader's bodyguards) to trace Aomame. Aomame is in hiding, while Fuka-Eri is hiding in Tengo's apartment.
There are times when Aomame comes very close to meeting Tengo, but somehow events keep them apart. Tengo's father goes into a coma and he spends time with him. His father was a NHK fee collector and one begins to appear throughout the book, visiting and threatening their apartments. Ushikawa begins to find links between Aomame and Tengo and between Aomame and the dowager. As he gets closer, will Aomame evade capture and finally meet up with Tengo? Do the Leader's followers want to hurt her, or do they need her?
This book has a lot of introspection, but it also has a lot of hidden menace, with an undercurrent of violence and threat running throughout the pages. The writing is simply wonderful and the author creates a real sense of what people are feeling. There is one moment when Ushikawa is in the bath, for example, and his thoughts are compared to dogs which "frolicked around" and "chased pointlessly after squirrels," before coming back to Ushikawa who "patted their heads and fastened their collars back on." The writing is excellent, you care about the characters (even Ushikawa) and for an author to sustain the tension in the way he does is breathtaking. If you did not like Book 1 and 2, then you will probably not like this either. Hopefully you did and you will, because this is superb writing and a stunning achievement. I loved it.