It is not often that a book will blow your mind. 1Q84 by acclaimed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is one such book. Aomame is sitting gridlocked in a taxi on the Metropolitan Expressway in Tokyo, fingering a slight weapon in her hand, quietly resigned that she will miss her a very important meeting. Listening to the magnificent classical music humming quietly in the background, she is gradually aware that the taxi is far more luxurious than any cab she has seen. The driver expressionlessly tells her there is a way to make her meeting - if it is such an emergency. She could take the freeway maintenance stairwell down to the Tokyo line subway. However he advises, ‘be careful...and also please remember: things are not what they seem.” The hairs should by now be starting to creep up the back of the neck. On exiting the station she notices two moons. Aomame is contacted by the Dowager, head of an an enigmatic organisation, to without a trace, expertly execute men who harm women. As the novel unfolds Aomame’s memories do not line up with the stories in major newspapers, and she starts to suspect she is living in an alternative reality to the one she was in before she entered the subway stairwell. 1Q84 is many things, a thriller, a love story, a supernatural epic that is in turns challenging and mind bending, but ultimately exquisite in its depth and sheer creative power. A magnificent read, you will not be disappointed.
First published in Japan in 3 volumes in 2009-10, 1Q84 became an overnight sensation, selling out on the first day it was released.
Review by Nicole Maher @ greatescapebooks