What I’m reading now. 1Q84

I’m completely mesmerized by literary superstar Haruki Murakami‘s latest opus. 1Q84 is a cross between science/political fiction (e.g.Orwell’s 1984),  feminist literature , modern porn (e.g.50 Shades of Grey),  edge of your seat psychological thriller and Japanese Manga heroics.

But it’s also a ginormous literary endeavor, swelling to 924 pages in paperback. As you know, I’m an avid Books on Tape listener  as I commute to work and 1Q84 has me cheering at traffic jams as the tension and literary conflicts heighten. Recorded at 40 CDs long, it is available from the library in Book 1, Book 2 format. I’m almost at the end of Book 1 (CD 19) and have  Book 2 ready to load.

This is the perfect summer read– for a long plane or road trip, for lazy days on the beach– and for bare knuckle road warriors like me.

Here’s a brief synopsis from Amazon:
“The year is 1984, but not for long. Aomame, on her way to meet a client–the gravid implications of which only come clear later–sits in a taxi, stuck in traffic. On a lark, she takes the driver’s advice, bolts from the cab, walks onto the elevated Tokyo expressway, descends an emergency ladder to the street below, and enters a strange new world.

In parallel, a math teacher and aspiring novelist named Tengo gets an interesting offer. His editor has come upon an entry for a young writer’s literary prize, a story that, despite its obvious stylistic drawbacks, strikes a deeply moving chord with those who’ve read it. Its author is a mysterious 17-year-old, and the editor proposes that Tengo quietly rewrite the story for the final round of the competition. So begins Haruki Murakami’s magnus opus, an epic of staggering proportions.

As the tale progresses, it folds in a deliciously intriguing cast of characters: a physically repulsive private investigator, a wealthy dowager with a morally ambiguous mission, her impeccably resourceful bodyguard, the leader of a somewhat obscure and possibly violent religious organization, a band of otherworldly “Little People,” a door-to-door fee collector seemingly immune to the limits of space and time, and the beautiful Fuka-Eri: dyslexic, unfathomable, and scarred. Aomame names her new world “1Q84” in honor of its mystery: “Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.”

I’ve been a Murakami fan since reading Kafka by the Shore and have The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle on my waitlist. But I don’t want to hurry too fast through 1Q84. It is my uber summer read…and I want summer to last!

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