Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Enigmatic, mesmerising, sometimes frustrating, sometimes beautiful - the novel that perhaps best defines Murakami
on 20 July 2017
Many of the motifs common to Murakami's oeuvre are here - enigmatic women who disappear, and sometimes reappear, loneliness, memory and mysterious animals, all swept along by the dream-like narration that he is the undisputed master at delivering.
Readers of different mindsets will enjoy varying aspects of this book. For me, the close bond of friendship between Aomame and Ayumi was a highlight - so poignantly described, as was Tengo's night out with the nurses working at his father's care home. Others might find the surrealistic nature of some of the plot more enriching than I did. I couldn't see the point of the Little Creatures, who were never properly explained (maybe that's Murakami's point - he describes a world that can only be half-described). Where the symbolism could be directly correlated to the narrative - the two moons rather obviously symbolising Tengo and Aomame and the two worlds they have inhabited - Murakami has handled them well. Other imagery is hit and miss.
The plot deals with some very serious issues - child abuse, religious cults, violence against women - but in typical Murakami style they are delivered with the same deft hand that describes a willowy cloud or a rain shower. That, I guess, explains why I was so surprised to see so many suicides in the movie version of "Norwegian Wood" - I had simply forgotten that these happened in the novel itself.
There is, without doubt, something mesmerising and very beautiful about Murakami's writing, and it is hard to resist feeling that you too are trying to navigate your way through the puzzling world of 1Q84 like Tengo and Aomame. But a novel of loose threads that remain untied at the end can be frustrating - after 1200 pages, I was left wishing there could have been a Book 4, sewing up the narrative conclusions that are so often intentionally withheld in the whimsical, lovely and sometimes frustrating writings of this brilliant author!