If you think I’d give a thumbs-down to Murakami, you’re crazier than 1Q84’s two moons hanging in the sky (which, by the way, no one notices save our two protagonists). There’s always the intensely weird and uneasily sinister lurking at the edges of (or blasted in your face by) a Murakami novel, and we have that here: multiple realities; creatures existing and acting beyond human moral systems (that enter the world through the mouths of dead goats, no less); a superhuman forced by an undefined religion to rape (or have “ambiguous congress”) with young girls; fee collectors still doing rounds while in comas, that make reading his work more about the experience than understanding. But in IQ84, with its nearly 1,000 pages, we’re slogging through quite a lot of the mundane, the pace-breaking backstory, and the oftentimes too many and too silly analogies to describe simple things, but does that mean you shouldn’t read it? No. Read it twice, once for each moon in the sky. And if you don’t understand it, don’t worry, Murakami gives you a pass: “If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you won’t understand it with an explanation.”
Sean Conaway’s work has appeared in Arcadia Magazine and the American Fiction Anthology. He’s currently working on a novel that he hopes one day you will read.