4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great, with a few small reservations,
This review is from: 1Q84 (Unabridged) (Audio Download)Firstly, can I point out that this is the first of Murakami's works that I have read. I purchased the Audible book through my subscription when this came out in a recommended list, and liked the look of the story. Part way through, I came on here and looked at some of the existing reviews and apparently this is not a great introduction to Murakami's depth and style. It is frequently recommended that "newbies" try Kafka On The Shore. I still found 1Q84 satisfying, and will definitely move on to other works. But if you're finding it a slog, try the recommended alternative.
AUDIBLE-RELEVANT REVIEW CONTENT:
There seems to be mixed to poor opinion of the narration in this from Allison Hiroto, who portays the significant role of Aomame. A lot find that she is too quiet or meek. I am of the opinion that the quiet, calm, measured and precise nature of her voice fits in perfectly with the way the character Aomame is portrayed. She is rarely flustered and always exudes a calm exterior. The narration by Hiroto lends itself to this perfectly, as does the gravelly Mark Boyett for the quasimodo-esque investigator Ushikawa.
GENERAL PLOT AND CHARACTERISATION:
1Q84 is a long, carefully crafted masterpiece of a novel. It is delicate and unique, much like the characters it portrays. The depth of detail is sometimes off-putting, and I can imagine that, were I not forced to hear each word in the unabridged audio edition of this, I would have ended up skimming a lot of it. Do not. There is beauty in the detail. It would seem that a lot of the time Murakami is unnecessarily repeating details and descriptions, but when something in 1Q84 changes, because of this repetition, the reader becomes aware immediately. Almost like a revelation.
It did admittedly become annoying to keep on hearing (or reading) "Do you understand" ... "I think so". They're clearly all very unsure of themselves!
In terms of the characterisation as well, every main character is brutally scrutinised down to the smallest detail.
I was therefore left very annoyed with the lose threads at the end. Not the chrysalis threads - that area of the story was tied up for me neatly. But there were a number of main characters built up that I would have liked some closure on how their stories were completed. Fuka-Eri, for example.
In order to read and enjoy 1Q84 you have to leave a little bit of reality behind before you open the book. There are references in here to, and more than a little nod towards, Alice in Wonderland. If you try to be reality-critical, you will not enjoy this novel. If you do not like thinking behind the story, you will not enjoy this.
1Q84 is essentially a love story. But it is so much more, and so beautiful, that I can ignore its general faults in the repetition and style, and the open endings on some of the characters. I will still read this again, and again, and again.