Wednesday, December 21, 2011

IQ84

Huh, I thought I had blogged about the first two parts when I read them. It seems I didn't. Which is just as well, because this is a book that should be read without any long pauses between the parts.

Aomame, a young woman, kills the leader of a religious sect and finds herself in an alternate reality, with only subtle differences (including two moons). Tengo, a math teacher and part-time writer, has heavily edited/ghostwritten a book by a young schoolgirl, Fuka-Eri, who has ties to the sect. Tengo also crossed over into the alternate reality and both he and Aomame are hunted by the sect, who have been hit hard both by the loss of their leader and by the book which revealed some of their deepest secrets.

And now I remember why I didn't blog the first two parts. Even with the whole story read, I find it extremely difficult to summarise the story in any meaningful way. That's always hard with Haruki Murakami's books, but especially so with IQ84.

It's a slow book and if you're looking for action, you'll get very little. You will also have to live with a story that doesn't neatly connect all the loose ends, at the end there are open questions. Which is a lot less annoying than it could be, the story was never meant to be fully explained and that's part of the charm.

It soon becomes clear that Aomame and Tengo, although they have really met only once as children, are meant for each other and the story steers them towards a final meeting with many near misses and coincidences. I liked that, it had the feel of a Greek tragedy, who steer towards an unhappy ending, with many chances to avoid it. Aomame's and Tengo's ending is not a tragic one and possibly a happy one, but typically for Murakami, there are no guarantees.

I liked Tamaru, the bodyguard who protects Aomame after she killed the cult leader. He's a charater who doesn't seem like much at first, but the more he chooses to reveal about himself, the more interesting he gets. He feels like he should have a book of his own.

IQ84 is my 49th book for the Library Challenge.

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