Friday, February 17, 2012

Haruki Murakami - 1Q84 - book one and book two

the mundane banality of assassination,
the mundane banality of re-writing,
the mundane banality of Air Chrysalises, Maza's, Dohta's and Paedophiliac Sexual Rituals involving Total Body Paralysis, the Little People and some weird religious cult Leader under a Second Moon.

Yes, it's all here in Haruki Murakami's new novel "1Q84" (ichi-kyu-hachi-yon, books one and two) translated by Jay Rubin. Each of the two books in this hardback version, released separately in Japan as was Norwegian Wood and Wind-up Bird Chronicle, sold ONE MILLION copies on release. And for those of you who don't know what the title means, Q is the Japanese way to say Nine, hence an allusion to George Orwell's novel 1984; the date of the novel's setting at least.

640 pages, which I read in a few days, so page-turnery and delicious was the lunacy of the ride. His depiction of TRUE EVIL in the form of the stalking aura of paedophilia which permeates the novel like a lingering noxious fume is wonderfully banal and mundane; matter of fact. Properly horrific. The book galloped (was horse-whipped) to its open-ended 'climax', and I was thinking that this is going to be another After Dark part-story-not-yet-resolved, and there, right on the inside back of the dust jacket, "...the surprising Book Three, which will be released as a separate volume."

I don't read dust jacket blurbs before plunging into a book as they generally tend to spoil what I'm about to read. Further research tells me book Three got the Philip Gabriel translation treatment, a translator who I respect the most in that he seems able to wring every single ounce of angst from the writer's original text and isn't too funky with his wording. Book Three is ordered and on its way...

BONUS MATERIAL: on the subject of Murakami's insistence on wedging-in this fantastical supernatural imagery in his otherwise dour-realism novels, I'm gonna quote a relevant section from an excellent 2004 interview with Paris Review:

"We are living in a fake world; we are watching fake evening news. We are fighting a fake war. Our government is fake. But we find reality in this fake world. So our stories are the same; we are walking through fake scenes, but ourselves, as we walk through these scenes, are real. The situation is real, in the sense that it's a commitment, it's a true relationship."

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