1Q84

by Haruki Murakami

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Date completed: January 22, 2016

This behemoth of a book, totaling 928 pages, is not for the casual Murakami fan. Overall, I loved it, but it wasn’t Murakami’s strongest novel. The characters are strong, but it’s exhausting to read through the plot to the character development.

The plot was slow, lacking the dramatic tension that Murakami is usually so good at weaving into his stories. The writing is often cryptic. I felt that Murakami was trying to get something across to his readers, but the message got lost in a plot with too many loose ends. The strength of the book (and what kept me reading) were the characters.

Murakami’s works often explore loneliness. It’s the central theme of “1Q84.” Each of the several major characters is alone in the world — some by choice, some by force of circumstance, all a unique expression of loneliness.

If you love Murakami and have the time to devote to nearly 1000 pages of fairly confusing fiction, then this book is worth a read. This should not be your first Murakami novel. If you are looking for that, try “Norwegian Wood” or “Kafka on the Shore.