1Q84 - Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel I started reading this book in November 2012 and only finished this today (August 21st, 2013). I believe that this is the longest that it has taken me to finish a book, though granted, this tome is +1100 pages long.

For me this was the first time that I have read anything from a Japanese author, though in my younger (and current) years I've had a particular soft spot for anything Japanese (movies and animes, but I've just never gotten around to actually pick up a Japanese book before.

I love the setting & atmosphere that is laid out early on in the first chapter, and I quickly became engulfed in the book. I'm not sure how this novel would be in it's original Japanese language, but for sure the two translators have done a superb job (I really cannot state this enough!): the language and words flow very smoothly and naturally, which is not something that I'm used to in translations (which is why I normally read books in their original language - provided it's a language I am capable of reading of course).

As my reading progressed I gradually became disappointed in this book, in spite of it's stylistically flawless style: it's incredibly repetitive, and the further you move along in this book, the more repetitive it gets. That ticks me off a bit, for what's the point? Is this a flaw in the style, or is this something typical about Murakami's style, or is it typical for Japanese story telling when set in a written context? I do wonder. Here's an example of what I mean, from page 1166 of my edition:


And thus the Little People made a new air chrysalis. No one talked now, or chanted out a rhythm. They silently pulled threads from the air, plucked hairs from Ushikawa's head, and-in a set, smooth rhythym-briskly wove together an air chrysalis.


The repetitive nature of the book must surely be a concious choice of this otherwise flawless book. But it really, really bring the quality of the reading down for me. A lot.

One part I don't get though: what's the deal with the (IMHO) focus on the male and female genitalia, the breasts especially? The book is not erotic or in any way to be considered "lewd", but I do find it out of place, and frankly, it doesn't move the story forward, at least not in my opinion.

So all in all this was to me a disappointing read. Not sure if I should rate this book with 2 or 3 stars, but I'll probably amp it up to 3 simply because of the high quality of the translation, that has really impressed me.

This review has also been posted on my blog: http://wp.me/p2W1tX-Cp