Recently I finished reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami for the second time. It’s such a long and crazy story, I felt a strong need to re-read it again when I first finished it. I am so glad I did. (Note: I read in Japanese)
It’s a story of a man and a woman who are looking for each other, without knowing the other one is looking for you. Aomame, a fitness instructor and also an assassin, one day finds out she has slipped into a slightly different world from her ordinary year 1984. In this world, there are Little People, Air Chrysalis, and two moons floating in the sky. She names this world 1Q84….
It’s a love story (I think it’s safe to say that), but I was intrigued by one of the sub-themes of the story – the feeling of hopelessness. (in this case, caused by domestic violence). I don’t want to give away too much details of the story in case you haven’t read it yet, but some of the stories women tell in the book is utterly heartbreaking.
I have been Murakami fan for over 20 years. I still remember reading Norwegian Wood for the first time when I was 13. Yes, you might think some of the subject matter of the book(suicides, mental illness, sex, and of course, love) a little inappropriate for a 13-year-old, but I loved his writing. I have been a huge Murakami fan even before the word Harukist emerged in Japan. I used to send my questions and comments to his website(this is around ’98) and actually one of my submission is in his collection of correspondance with his readers. Can I brag a bit more? When my first son was born, I named his Japanese name after the author, and emailed to let him know. He wrote me back, congratulating me with this message; “He will be a very healthy and forgetful boy.”
It’s hard to pick a favourite Murakami, but for me it’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (Parallel stories happening in two different world, inside and outside of a man), and Dance, Dance, Dance(Sequel to Wild Sheep Chase – Conversations the protagonist has with stunningly beautiful 13-year-old Yuki are one of my most favourites) close second.
If you read enough of Murakamis, you will find some of recurring icons in his various works. Twins, library, sheep, 208 and 209, just to name a few. 1Q84 was full of those little Murakami magic and puzzles – such as “Blind Goat”, which in Japanese it sounds a lot like “Blind Willow” (From Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – one of his early work).
I can go on and on about Murakami world, so I better stop somewhere.
Since I have been reading 1Q84, I have been somewhat fascinated with the moon. I’ve always liked looking up at the moon, but especially last few nights the moon was getting fuller and it was beautiful.
Last night, I was just putting my son to sleep, and I realized how bright the moonlight was. I have a small slylight in my bedroom, but it’s not directly above my bed. I felt the moonbeam on my face and looked at the window. And for a moment I gasped as I thought I had seen two moons. Just like the book.
I blinked, and almost did a double take. I had to jump off the bed to go to a different window to make sure. Have I slipped into 1Q84 too?
Of course, it was just a reflection on my skylight. There was only one almost-full moon up in the night sky.
I went back to bed, as my son asked “What were you doing, mommy?”
“Nothing, honey.” I said. “I thought I just saw two moons.” I didn’t tell him that I secretly wished I was in 1Q84.