#18: 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)

I can certainly understand why people would be frustrated with 1Q84. It’s overlong. The prose is elliptical, looping back and forth over details small and large. (There are good reasons for it to do so — our brains loop in the same fashion, grinding over the same thoughts, old and new, the ones that shaped us and the ones that will.) The story loops too — or maybe, more accurately, looks like a biorhythm print-out, lines crossing each other and then parabola-ing away at high speeds. The writing is maddeningly obtuse at points, and often faintly ridiculous, and the ending is sudden and resolves little.

But at the same time, it is gorgeous, full of details and asides, textured, memorable. It works, it hangs together, and it tells exactly the story it wants to tell. It’s a very long book — it took me over two months to read it — but a good one. I’m glad I read it.

(Note: Yes, I finished this on January 3d, but since the vast majority of it was read in 2011, I’m counting it for that year.)

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