My rating: 4 of 5 stars
wow, it hurts to give haruki murakami any fewer than 5 stars.
in the movie biz they say that a script has to have a spine–a single thread that runs throughout the movie and carries the weight of all its characters, scenes, and themes. you can imagine, that spine has to be pretty strong to carry that kind of weight.
and i don’t think 1Q84 has it.
the story is about a pair who met as children, and who seek each other in various ways through a dual-mooned landscape in a not-quite-1984. i think this love story is supposed to be the spine of this book. but a 20-year gap is not a spine; it’s just not strong enough to do it. plus, people waiting and waiting inside apartments, however profound their psychological changes, are not that enthralling.
of course the book has all the fun murakami weirdness, and those wonderful moments where you’re reading along in the everyday world and then you find the ground has opened up beneath you. where things are so intensely murakami-esque that you half-expect your toaster to start talking to you, and that seems perfectly reasonable.
and of course it has murakami’s beautiful, apparently artless writing.
and even the worst murakami book is still preferable to 98% of everything else.