I don't know how many of my book suggestions get acted upon. I know for sure that this particular one will fall on mostly deaf ears. Most of you lead busy lives, and a 900+ page novel translated from the Japanese will probably not get on your short list any time soon.

Still, 1Q84 is a smart and genre-defying book -- it's part science fiction, part metaphysics, part love story and part thriller.  Haruku Murakami, the author, sure knows how to drive a narrative and the translators (it was published as three volumes and different translators worked on different volumes) have done an excellent job of getting out of the way.  In a little while, you'll forget the length and you'll forget the original language. You'll be in the alternate reality of 1Q84.

The title is a play on 1984, and there are traces of Orwell's anti-authoritarian screed in this book, but here, it is conformity that Murakami skewers.  Every character, even those who are introduced as thugs or villains, turn out to be quite rational and sympathetic.

Chekhov is famous for saying that if you introduce a gun into a play, it had better be fired. Murakami is of the same ilk -- there is no prop or subplot that is introduced that doesn't circle its way into the plot. No prop, that is, but for one ironic item. I will let you read the book to figure that out.

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