My Little Pocketbooks: Review: 1Q84   

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: 1Q84

1Q84
 Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Audible, Inc.
Audiobook: 46 hours and 50 minutes
Release Date:  October 25, 2011
Narrators: Allison Hiroto (Narrator), Marc Vietor (Narrator), Mark Boyett (Narrator)
Source:  Audible.com
 Buy the Book: Amazon
Book Description
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question.
Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame's and Tengo's narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's, 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami's most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.
BONUS AUDIO: Audible interviews the translators of 1Q84, Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.
Review
Where to begin with this one.  Let's start with the story!  It all starts when Aomame (green peas) jumps out of a taxi cab on the over crowded freeway to make an appointment.  This little piece took forever for the author to get to.  There is way, way way to many descriptive sentences in the book.  It was like he was getting paid by the word.
The story really made no sense to me at all so much so that I don't what to say about it.  There are little people that communicate with receivers,  who have sex with young per-pubescence girls who want to bring the next prophet.  Then there are receptors who also have sex with the receivers.  And can sense the little people who make Air Chrysalis.  There is a cult living in a commune, a extremely ugly detective and a host of strange characters playing out their soon to be intertwine lives under two moon.         
This book made it really hard for me on several issues.  Should I post a bad review?  Do I finish a book I don't like just to post a bad review?  When do I cut my loses on a book I don't like?  How do you write a bad review?  So here are my reasons for not liking this audiobook.
1.  Narrator for Aomame was monotone throughout the audiobook.
2.  The story was overly descriptive.
3.  If the book was written in Japanese, takes place in Japan then why don't the narrators have a Japanese accent.
4.  The complete change in characters voice from book 2 to book 3.  Ushikawa, went from a goofy English voice to a dark Dick Tracey voice. (My bad Japanese translation of his name is River of Tooth Decay.  LOL!!)
5.  The story line is hard to follow.
6.  Too many inter monologues over the same thing over and over again.
7.  The characters motivations are clear to the reader but not to no one else.  (If that makes sense).
8.  I just didn't get it!
I have only a four words for this book.  Slow.  Repetitive.  Boring.  Convoluted.  FYI, I didn't complete it.  I have 5 hours left out of 47.  I think that is good enough for me to draw a few conclusions.  I might get back to it..... Never mind! 
 
I have to let you read a few reviews from Wikipedia about this book.
Reviews of the novel have been mostly positive, praising both its quality and its place in the world of literature at large—for instance, The Guardian's Douglas Haddow has called it "a global event in itself, [which] passionately defends the power of the novel." One review described 1Q84 as a "complex and surreal narrative" which "shifts back and forth between tales of two characters, a man and a woman, who are searching for each other." It tackles themes of murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties and love. In another review for The Japan Times, it was said that the novel "may become a mandatory read for anyone trying to get to grips with contemporary Japanese culture", calling 1Q84 Haruki Murakami's "magnum opus". Similarly, Kevin Hartnett of The Christian Science Monitor considers it Murakami's most intricate work as well as his most ambitious and the New York Review of Books has praised the ambition of the novel down to the typography and attention to detail. Malcolm Jones of Newsweek considers this novel emblematic of Murakami's mastery of the novel, comparing him to Charles Dickens.
One of the few dissenting reviews is Time's Bryan Walsh, who found 1Q84 to be the weakest of Murakami's novels in part because it excises his typical first-person narrative. A negative review from A.V. Club had Christian Williams calling the book "stylistically clumsy" with "layers of tone-deaf dialogue, turgid description, and unyielding plot"; he awarded a D rating. Also criticizing the book was Sanjay Sipahimalani, who felt the writing was too often lazy and cliched, the Little People were risible rather than menacing, and that the book had too much repetition. Janet Maslin called the novel "stupefying" "1000 uneventful pages" in the review for The New York Times, which picked Murakami's earlier work, Kafka on the Shore, as one of the best 10 novels in 2005. 
Recommendations
I would recommend this book to adults only due to sexual content and violence.
Challenges
This book is number 11 in my Audiobook Challenge
This book is number 27 in my Goodreads Challenge
This book is number 7 in my POC Challenge 

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