1Q84: Finished and Shelved.

There’s some kind of fulfillment once you’re done reading the very last page of a very good novel. More often, when you finally close the book, you’re inclined to take a moment and encapsulate the whole story in your head while holding the book close to your heart. After, more or less, three months since starting 1Q84, that’s what I did when I reached the final period of the last page. As always, Haruki Murakami failed to disappoint me.

1Q84 is basically about the love story of Aomame and Tengo. They were classmates for two years in the elementary and though they have never spoken to each other, their similarly silent loneliness have drawn them together and created a strong connection between them. And though they were separated for twenty years, this strong connection and their longing for each other created and put them in a surreal world which they must escape in order for them to be together – a surreal world that has been distinctively attributed to the works of Murakami.

And of course, my enjoyment and love for 1Q84 wouldn’t be complete without my highlighted parts/lines:

  • Tengo said, “ When I’m writing a story, I used words to transform the surrounding scene into something more natural for me. In other words I reconstruct it. That way, I can confirm without a doubt that this person known as ‘me’ exists in the world…”
  • “Age has nothing to do with it,” Aomame snapped back. “It’s a question of how you live your life. The important thing is to adopt a stance of always being deadly serious about protecting yourself. You can’t go anywhere if you just resign yourself to being attacked. A state of chronic powerlessness eats away a person.”
  • “Because you are neither an angel nor a god. I am quite aware that your actions have been prompted by your pure feelings, and I understand perfectly well that, for that reason, you do not wish to receive money for what you have done. But pure, unadulterated feelings are dangerous in their own way. It is no easy feat for a flesh-and-blood human being to go on living with such feelings. That is why it is necessary for you to fasten your feelings to the earth – firmly, like attaching an anchor to a balloon. The money is for that. To prevent you from feeling that you can do anything you want as long as it’s the right thing and you’re feelings are pure. Do you see now?” –The Dowager
  • The dowager’s beautifully shaped eyebrows drew together. “I don’t have any concrete information on what that is supposed to mean. I never had the slightest interest in matters of the occult. People have been repeating the same kinds of fraud throughout the world since the beginning of time, using the same old tricks, and still these despicable fakes continue to thrive. That is because most people believe not so much in truth as in things they wish were the truth. Their eyes may be wide open, but they don’t see a thing. Tricking them is as easy as twisting a baby’s arm.”
  • A man who finds joy in raping prepubescent girls, a powerfully built gay bodyguard, people who choose death over transfusion, a woman who kills herself with sleeping pills while six months pregnant, a woman who kills problematic men with a needle thrust to the back of the neck, men who hate women, women who hate men: how could it possibly profit the genes to have such people existing in this world? Did the genes merely enjoy such deformed episodes as colorful entertainment, or were these episodes utilized by them for some greater purpose?
    Aomame didn’t know the answers to these questions. All she knew was that it was too late to choose any other life for herself. All I can do is live the life I have. I can’t trade it in for a new one. However strange and misshapen it might be, this is for the gene carrier that is me.
  • “Robbing people of their actual history is the same as robbing them part of themselves. It’s a crime.”
    Fuka-Eri thought about that for a moment.
    Tengo went on, “Our memory is made up of our individual memories and our collective memories. The two are intimately linked. And history is our collective memory. If our collective memory is taken from us – is rewritten – we lose the ability to sustain our true selves.”
  • Tamaru shook his head. “No, I don’t want your money. The world moves less by money than by what you owe people and what they owe you. I don’t like to owe anybody anything, so I keep myself as much on the lending side as I can.”
  • Kindness was one of the things presently (or permanently) in short supply in the world.
  • Tengo went on, “I’m tired of living in hatred and resentment. I’m tired of living unable to love anyone. I don’t have a single friend – not one. And, worst of all, I can’t even love myself. Why is that? Why can’t I love myself? It’s because I can’t love anyone else. A person learns to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else. Do you understand what I’m saying? A person who is incapable of loving another cannot properly love himself. No, I’m not blaming you for this. Come to think of it, you may be such a victim. You probably don’t know how to love yourself. Am I wrong about that?”
  • “In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil,” the man said. “Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa. The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil. If you lean too much in either direction, it becomes difficult to maintain actual morals. Indeed, balance itself is the good. This is what I mean when I say that I must die in order to keep things in balance.”
  • “The religion brings many people together, so some degrees of discipline is necessary, of course, but if you focus too much on formalities, you can lose sight of your original purpose. Things like precepts and doctrines are, ultimately, just expedients. The important thing is not he frame itself but what is inside the frame.”
  • “…People need things like that to go on living – mental landscape that have meaning for them, even if they can’t explain them in words. Part of why we live is to come up with explanations for these things. That’s what I think.” – Tamaru
  • She must have had that same thought at least 72,000 times while looking in the mirror. But so what? I can think what I want as many times as I want. This could be the 72,001st time, but what’s wrong with that? As long as I’m alive, I can think what I want, when I want, any way I want, as much as I want, and nobody can tell me any different. She put on her Charles Jourdan high heels.
  • When he tired of reading aloud, Tengo sat there, gazing at the form of his sleeping father and trying to surmise what kind of things were going through his brain. Inside – in the inner parts of that stubborn skull, like an old anvil – what sort of consciousness lay hidden there? Or was there nothing left at all? Was it like an abandoned house from which all the possessions and appliances have been moved, leaving no trace of those who had once dwelled there? Even if it was, there should be the occasional memory or scenery etched into the walls and ceilings. Things cultivated over such a long time don’t just vanish into nothingness. As his father lay on his plain bed in the sanatorium by the shore, at the same time he might very well be surrounded by scenes and memories invisible to others, in the still darkness of a back room in his own vacant house.
  • But this isn’t their God, she decided. It’s my God. This is a God I have found through sacrificing my own life, through my flesh being cut, my skin ripped off, my blood sucked away, my nails torn, all my time and hopes and memories being stolen from me. This is not God with a form. No white clothes, no long beard. This God has no doctrine, no scriptures, no precepts. No reward, no punishment. This God doesn’t give, and doesn’t take away. There is no heaven up in the sky, no hell down below. When it’s hot, and when it’s cold, God is simply there.
  • “I know. I went through the same thing once,” the man said, as easily as if he were chatting about some trivial gossip. “Only people who have experiences it know how horrible it really is. You can’t easily generalize about pain. Each kind of pain has its own characteristics. To rephrase Tolstoy’s famous line, all happiness is alike, but each pain is painful in its own way. I wouldn’t go so far, though, as to say you savor it. Don’t you agree?”
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11 thoughts on “1Q84: Finished and Shelved.

  1. Pingback: Book #1 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami | Bibliofanatique

    • You should. A few of my favorites among his work are Sputnik Sweetheart, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Kafka on the Shore. Of course I also love 1Q84… now I hope that would get you started. 😉

  2. Pingback: 1Q84: No Thank You | Not the Family Business!

  3. Pingback: I Am My Mother’s Daughter. « the unbearable lightness of being me.

  4. Hey I am a big fan of Murakami and finished reading 1Q84. Its a great read even though I felt a little intimidated by its size initially. I have a post on Murakami on my blog.Check it out sometime

  5. I will read this now. Thank you. I have tread other works from this author, and enjoyed them. But reading comes more slowly to me now. I treasure books. Now I am less able to read anything and everything. I choose carefully, like a suitor!!

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