Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Short, inconsequential review of 1Q84.


Adding to the litany of reviews over this book. It might be that culture is like a river and unless I keep current I might be swept away to the cascades. Spending all these precious minutes and finite man-hours, something productive [must] come by. If so, then I've no choice, but to conspicuously consume this book by writing a review. In consideration, a reputable source of journalism that might have been the New York Times called it the literary sensation of the year.

First, to describe 1Q84 in Lemony Snicket terms, presenting the ridiculous yet quintessential circumstances in which fate deposits the hero and heroine of the story. Indeed, it is the fault of fatality. Involucrated: Janacek's Sinfonietta, a Green Pea moon, fatal acupuncture techniques, the mysterious Sakigake religion, its pointedly ethereal Leader and his perhuman daughter, Fuka-Eri, and a race of tiny demons that wreak havoc with time and space, in addition to working towards the rape and murder and general fucking-over of humans.


Beginning on a unexpectedly congested highway in Tokyo. The main protagonist, Aomame Masami [Ah-Oh-Mah-Meh, the book is explicit], whose story weaves in an out tangetially with that of the secondary protagonist, Tengo Kawana, finds herself stuck in traffic with a far-from-ordinary taxi driver, who tells her, if it's necessary to make her next appointment on time, a contract killing at an upscale hotel, she should climb off the highway by means of an emergency staircase. Immediately after doing so she begins to notice inconsistencies with her previous reality. Somewhere else in the city, Tengo Kawana receives an offer from his editor and acquaintance Komatsu, should he like to rewrite in secret a story about 'air chrysalides' and their makers, the 'Little People'. He then learns the story might reflect far more reality than fiction.

It sounds like an exciting and mysterious adventure, exciting and adventurous and it is for the most part as well as being a fucking mystery past the end. Of course there comes a time in the book when the action is slowed down, little new drops of information are revealed and you might wish for the climax to come before the year's end. This book-cum-murder weapon might have been condensed by two thirds with the removal of extraneous details and repeated descriptions for heavy narrative effect. Of course, Murakami continues a preternatural obsession with name-dropping Western culture and specific lifestyle details (¡look what an exciting and varied lifestyle I lead!), so much so that if the names of places and people were changed, the entire story could just as well have taken place in Los Angeles rather than Tokyo. Regardless, a page turner with words as cheap and delicious as Coca-Cola.

Quoting "Dance Dance Dance", a book to the same effect, but much more humorous and concise:
«Along the way I stopped into a coffee shop. All around me normal, everyday city types were going about their normal, everyday affairs. Lovers were whispering to each other, businessmen were poring over spread sheets, college kids were planning their next ski trip and discussing the new Police album. We could have been in any city in Japan. Transplant this coffee shop scene to Yokohama or Fukuoka and nothing would seem out of place. In spite of which—or, rather, all the more because—here I was, sit ting in this coffee shop, drinking my coffee, feeling a desperate loneliness. I alone was the outsider. I had no place here.»
Of course, I read some more books by Murakami, and found that he is a lot like Woody Allen in the way he recycles characterizations and settings and such. Woody Allen being my favorite American film director. I missed out on a frame of reference begotten by reading, for example, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and learning about the character of Ushikawa or the Cutty Sark brand of whiskey or about the introduction of cute and vivacious teenage girls in 1984. It is possible that 1Q84 concludes a certain period of writing, and that by involving himself more in this book(metatextually) than in any other we can hope to see something completely different for a following project.