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1Q84
Haruki Murakami
read on October 1, 2013

Probably the longest book I've read in years, if not ever. I just finished this tonight and already don't know what happened or why I should care. It was very entertaining, but I felt disappointed with the ending. The author left a lot unresolved. That, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a great quote in the book (a real quote, I believe) by Chekov, that says "once a gun has been introduced into a story, it must be fired." Well, the gun in 1Q84 is never fired. And I'm fine with that, with the literal gun never being used. But Murakami has a lot of figurative guns in this story - a whole bunch - and those are never fired either. Entire characters with complex motivations and back stories never seem totally filled out. Rather, they just sort of drop off. I don't know, hard to justify this as time well spent. That said, I think this book won a bunch of awards... and I'm the first person to admit I don't know a thing about fiction... so maybe I just didn't get it.

Author Bio:

Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹, January 12, 1949) is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. The critical acclaim for his fiction and non-fiction has led to numerous awards, in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006). His oeuvre received, for example, the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994–95), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–10). He has also translated into Japanese English works by writers ranging from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger. His fiction, still criticized by Japan's literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the "recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness" he weaves into his narratives. He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.