I learned with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle not to expect an ordinary story out of 1Q84. I was, as presumed, told a unique story surrounding a man and woman who, throughout life, are unbelievably connected. As said by Janet Maslin, Murakami will forestall explaining what the bond is for as long as he can. From the start there is no hint that it will unravel into a love story but, mixed in the insane plot of Little People, a religious compound and a literary scheme surfaces a love that has flourished for twenty years despite distance. These two main characters, Aomame and Tengo, live in 1984 Tokyo but certain events cause the “tracks to switch” to year 1Q84–the Q for question. This new world, although it appears to be the same on the surface, will show obvious differences with a deeper look, like the birth of two moons.
Murakami isn’t a conventional storyteller, that much is certain. He tells a story rather slowly, paying close attention to the smallest detail that will probably force you to question its relevance (like, for example, what it takes to get Aomame constipated). I found myself rolling my eyes at some points because I simply wanted to get on with it. But, I must admit, there is a trick that only Murakami knows how to conduct because I couldn’t stop turning the page until I got to the very last one. He knows precisely how much to give and at what time to keep the guessing game consistent.
The beginning of 1Q84 takes a while to pick up but once passed that stage, it is extremely intriguing. But as I got closer to the end in the third volume, I began to lose interest. Stretched out on 925 pages, I couldn’t help but think that the entire story could of, indeed, been told with a much fewer word count. Reading this felt more like being in a state of drunkenness in which you want more but feel as if you can’t physically take it but decide to keep pushing until you explode.