30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Writer out of control,
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)This is what happens when a writer gets so popular that his editor(s) can no longer advise him, or he refuses to listen. I can't see any other way that this book got published in it's current format.
I've been a Murakami reader for quite some time and have read most of his published work. This book is too long, highly repetitive, and unoriginal in the sense that he is repeatedly regurgitating his own ideas from previous novels. Add to this a translation that is poor and highly irritating, and you have a largely indigestible package.
But all of this could have been, and indeed should have been eliminated by some honest editing. The material itself could happily be cut by half without losing ideas, plot or atmosphere. It took me a while (a long while) to read this book but a lot of the time I felt like I was in Groundhog Day, with the same scenes described with the same language over and over and over. Judicious use of a large red marker could have tightened up the flow and pace dramatically, though I do worry that there are so few original [to Murakami] ideas in the book that eliminating the repetition may have left little.
But clearly the editors were too scared to criticise their master, and instead we have a slow, rambling story where we drift back and forth doing the same thing again and again.
By the time the final novel was handed over for translation into English it was way too late for the English editors to do much about the novel as a whole, but why they allowed such a ridiculous translation to be released I'll never know. The whole book reads like it's been translated in a rush with little care over choice of words. If there was any beautiful prose in the original, none of it survived. In fact, I found myself reading the whole book in a Japanese accent just to make sense of the clumsy grammar and flow. Too much prose makes no sense at all, and while I understand the original language is culturally different from ours, surely it's the job of the translator and editor to make sure the translated work at the very least makes sense? Some of the translation sounds so confused it feels like Google translated it.
But I'd be letting the English team off lightly if I left it at that. Previous translations have demonstrated that Murakami is capable of dazzling feats, and unless he's completely forgotten how to write, the fact that there is no where in this novel that his talent shines it's light, however briefly, suggests to me that the translators and editors didn't do their job with sufficient care.
This book should never been published in this format, that is for certain. But the English version is almost ridiculous.
The fable of the emperor's new clothes comes to mind. Someone should have had the guts to tell Murakami to pull his finger out and work harder. It is not acceptable to rely on previous brilliance and simply dump a stream of consciousness on us without due care and selection.
This book is dull.
If you are new to Murakami and want to read something brilliant, read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. You'll be hard pressed to read a better book.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jan 2012 09:31:43 GMT
Great Review and spot on. I've given a similar review albeit not as well written. Had this been edited to about half it's length with better translation it would have been one of his best; though not as good as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - my personal favourite.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 10:39:46 GMT
Tuscan Sam says:
I stuck with this book till the bitter end hoping desperately that it would resurrect itself with some spectacular über-fulfilling ending. But after 100's of pages of mush, the ending was sudden and equally mushy.
However, I don't believe this has been a sudden crash in Murakami's work effort. I think he's been coasting for several years now. Did you ready is autobiographical piece about running? Conceited, self-aggrandizing, smug. Just awful. Maybe it's a cultural difference that I don't appreciate or understand, but again, the book should never have been published, yet his publishers must have felt obliged. Even that I could forgive if his other work was good. But his fiction has lacked spark, lacked edge, lacked originality. He needs a strong editor who won't be pushed into releasing drivel, someone who won't let him get away with standing still (at best).
Anyway, thanks for the support!
In reply to an earlier post on 29 Dec 2012 16:23:31 GMT
P. Lewis says:
Sadly, I agree (though I'll read the third book). I've loved most of his books but there is no excuse for an 800 page book. It's a kind of Harry Potter syndrome - editors too scared to touch a successful author. Too many ideas in this book are repeated. Having said that, Murakami uses ideas from previous books all the time, although no one seemed stuck in a well this time, luckily.
Posted on 25 Jan 2013 16:42:37 GMT
V. Oscarsson says:
Thank you. I am completely in agreement with your comments. Through Book 1 finally though the reading goes quite quickly, I am bored by the repetition but most important, the characters do not interest me. Too much unnecessary sordid sex, dry plot and overall an emotionless tale. I have now followed up with my own review for Amazon even though I did not finish the book and will not waste further time doing so.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2013 19:09:21 GMT
Tuscan Sam says:
Wise. I regretted sticking with it!
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