Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
**I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because originality is beautiful.**
My, my, my...what a whirlwind of an adventure this has been. 1157 pages and 6 days later I am here, though I am certainly not the same person as when I began. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle was incredible. I knew this novel was bound to be good, but little did I know it could actually change the way I see the world.
This novel, as you may have guessed, is largely inspired by George Orwell's 1984. I read this work in high school and I look back on it as one of the first novels I read for school that I actually liked. Orwell's totalitarian themes have come up in a number of other works that I've read and I always see it as an interesting subject. In 1Q84, Murakami introduces two characters who have what seems to be only a small connection.
Aomame (green peas in Japanese) is a verging on 30 year-old woman who specializes in muscle stretching and teaching women extreme self-defense from woman-hating men. She is a slender woman with few friends. It seems she just wants to keep to herself for the most part. Probably because she is a hired assassin (again, only killing men who have greatly wronged women). Her character reminds me a bit of Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, though less hardcore.
The other main character is Tengo. To me, he is a lovable character. Gentle spirit, smart, child prodigy. He teaches math in an incredibly inspiring way, and is writing a novel on the side. He's a big guy, not too attractive but never had a hard time finding women interested in him. But when the novel takes place, he is also pushing thirty, and has a married girlfriend who comes to his house once a week. He also does some work with an organization that has a writing contest. Tengo has always tried to win but never made it farther than the short list. But when a mind-blowing but poorly written story by a 17 year-old girl comes through his hands, the editor, Komatsu, has an idea. Tengo is to rewrite the story but no one is to ever know.
Both he and Aomame went to the same elementary school and shared one small moment. It is this small moment, however, that drives the entire plot. In this novel there is love, hate, mystery, and the threat of conspiracy all intertwined into an addicting and beautiful story.
I think one of Murakami's strongest skills is effectively creating atmosphere. His writing style is so distinct, and the details he includes make his work stand out all the more. When I read his work, there is no doubt that I am in Murakami's world, and I like it there. This novel is highly charged with surreal imagery, what I can only describe as psychedelic situations, and a little bit of magical realism. Prepare yourselves for a wild ride.