The cult novelist takes on cults in his long-awaited epic romance. Steven Poole on Haruki Murakami. One of the many longueurs in Haruki Murakami’s stupefying new novel, “1Q84,” sends the book’s heroine, a slender assassin named Aomame. “Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers But while anyone.

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With novels read in more than 40 languages, Kyoto-born Haruki Murakami is probably the most popular of those authors whose names bookmakers list each year prior to murakamu award of the latest Nobel literature prize.

His best-known work, Norwegian Woodhaguki traces the love life of a Japanese student in the late Sixties, won him such fame in his home country that he fled to Europe and the United States in search of anonymity.

His new book, 1Q84 — a surreal romance nearly 1, pages long — sold 1. It arrives in English with the razzmatazz associated with a Harry Potter novel.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: review

Set in Tokyo over eight months init alternates between the perspectives of its two lead characters: Aomame, a female gym instructor who avenges victims of domestic violence; and Tengo, a burly maths tutor who ghostwrites a smash-hit novella about a girl visited by 4in-tall creatures known as the “Little People”. By night, they weave cocoons that contain mysterious doppelgangers — as the girl discovers when she looks inside one and finds herself staring back.

This is more or less familiar territory for Murakami. Had he not written a memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Runningmurskami might not guess that the multi-award-winning author is a humble, clean-living, early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of guy.

The typical Murakami novel is an oddball mystery yarn talking cats, raining fish in which hariki young women service an emotionally mixed-up male protagonist. A good part of his appeal lies in his gift for treating a daft idea with vast seriousness. Aomame, stuck in a traffic jam on the Metropolitan Expressway, is about to kill a wife-beating oil broker with an ice pick.


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Its teenage author, a girl named Fuka-Eri, fled a religious commune resembling the Aum cult that gassed the Tokyo subway in Not only does the rewritten novella murakwmi the prize, it becomes a publishing sensation, making it harder for Tengo to keep the fraud secret. Are there doppelgangers among the cast of 1Q84?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – review

And who or what are the Little People? In its bones, this novel is a thriller. Murakami has never been afraid to use a phrase such as “terror shot through my spine” A Wild Sheep Chase ahruki, or to close a chapter on a shameless cliffhanger such as: Something of great significance” After Dark.

We have to hurry. The action-flick style works in tandem with rose-tinted romance. In 1Q84Aomame and Tengo are in love because they held hands, briefly, as year-old classmates. This may be the strangest line in the book.

A virtue of his writing is that, carried away, you rarely sense the strain. He persuades a married lover to put on the same style of underwear his mother 104. Aomame, for her part, picks up bald men in hotel bars and cruises group-sex partners with a female traffic cop. She likes to look at herself naked and recall girlhood experiments with a friend named Tamaki, who, one paragraph informs us, had “oval-shaped nipples” and “sparse pubic hair”.

Murakami is in his sixties, which may be a factor in such repetitions, but not in the way you might think. His translator has said that the author is so well established that, editorially, he “can get away with muurakami.

Perhaps 1Q84 proves it: A lot of passages go like this: He yaruki back to his apartment, brushed his teeth, showered, and prepared to leave for school. Murakami keeps coming up with plausible devices to hafuki us of the plot — as when Tengo talks at the bedside of his father, who is in a coma — but the impression of narrative stasis is hard to ignore.

Synopsis is the mainstay of Book Three, perhaps understandably, given that, in Japan, it came out a year after the previous instalments. It introduces a third point of view with the character of Ushikawa, a sleazy private detective on the hunt for Aomame, but the way he puzzles out the movements of his prey often feels like another way to summarise what went before. Having served his purpose, he meets a particularly nasty fate that may seem proportionate only to readers of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle also set inin which Ushikawa first appears, with more detail about why he lives apart from his wife and daughter.


It is possible to enjoy 1Q84 even as the murajami grows that a publishing event and a literary event may not be the same thing. A “long silence” is defined, for no obvious reason, as “long enough to walk to the end of a long, narrow room, look up something in a dictionary, and walk back. Amid all the recapitulation, these flashes bring welcome lightness.

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Monday 31 December As it is published in English, Anthony Cummins looks at how the cult novelist became jurakami bestseller — and applauds his combination of thrilling action and oddball kurakami.

Haruki Murakami as imagined by Ellie Foreman-Peck. Like Telegraph Books on Facebook. More from the web.