By Haruki Murakami
Alfred A. Knopf, $30.50, 925 pages
Murakami’s book 1Q84 opens with Aomame walking down an emergency exit on a busy Tokyo expressway. This unusual exit leads her to a parallel world that is not immediately evident until she notices some strange events, including two moons in the sky. 1984 becomes 1Q84 (with the Q signifying Question). Aomame is a sports instructor by day but a one night stand, crazed assassin by night. Aomame is financially supported by a reclusive, rich dowager with her own need for revenge. The story also introduces us to Tengo, a math instructor and part-time fiction writer. Tengo experiences his own oddities when he works with a 17 year old that runs away from a cult her parents lead. Tension and danger builds as Tengo and the 17 year old write and publish a novel that reveals too much for the cult’s comfort. Mysteriously, Aomame and Tengo are linked from the fifth grade.
The reviewer’s head was spinning while she was reading this novel. Facts and details are slowly revealed and the amount of detail was excruciatingly painful at the beginning of the book. It took her about 300 pages before she was hooked, by the combination of mystery, fantasy and surprising love story of sorts.