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1Q84

1Q84 - Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami I hate this book. I have the time to continue, but am disinclined. It's always tough with translated literature to criticize the author's skill, but if this bears any resemblance to the original structure I think it might be a prank by Murakami.It may have been a fun, writer-ly exercise to draw a stark contrast in style with an author/editor character. As Tengo is working to edit one author's spare, ungrammatical text, revising his own writing style in the process to be more concise, Murakami dwells in scenes that fail to progress the story. He's repetitive and pedantic and seems to revel in the parts of the story most authors avoid, mostly because they're not 'story'. Characters cannot manage a simple 'hello' in fewer than five paragraphs. Certainly, name-checking Chekhov's maxim not to introduce a gun into the story unless it is to be fired is a deliberate contrast between content and style. "I'm writing about unembellished, straightforward characters in the most ornate and meandering style possible." It's a waste of time and is aggravating.While screwing with the reader this way, Murakami also avoids telling parts of the story that ought to be told. One character tells another character that impossible things from one novella are actually true accounts, but this scene is skipped over and mentioned later as an aside after the first character disappears. It's as though Murakami forgot to add the scene but needed to bring up that it had occurred in order to explain what happens next or why one thing is significant. Perhaps Murakami's stature has grown so great that editors no longer feel qualified to guide his text.There is so much sex in this book and I'm abandoning it before the halfway point. I'm assuming more breast fixation and scrotum massaging will follow but I'm just not interested. There have been enough Goodreads reviewers that don't understand spoilers that I am certain that this continues to be front and center until the last page of the book. Just, well, just grow up. Rapes have occurred offstage. I'm abandoning the book before Murakami makes them a central feature. This is just an assumption, of course, but I don't trust this author's handling of such events. Not in 1Q84.If I were to attempt to write in the style of 1Q84 it would be something like this: "Hello," said the man.He was a man of average height, average for his community, that is, when he said 'hello'. But when he had been a boy of 11 in the public middle school in a small town 50 miles away he was the tallest male in his class. Only one girl had been slightly taller than the man, then just a boy, of course. That had been before the death of his parents and long before his realization that he was a homosexual. So, it was perfectly natural that he should be saying 'hello'.Also, the man was in the act of greeting a woman he knew, so 'hello' seemed a good choice of word for the occasion. People often began exchanges that way and the woman received the salutation with no obvious surprise. It was, one could say, a perfectly natural way to begin a conversation. In fact, using 'hello' in almost any other scenario than the one here described would likely lead to an awkward moment that would be mulled over by both of them for the better part of the day."Hi," she said, using a variant form of his greeting in reply, as was her wont and habit. Had he begun with 'Hi' she would likely have responded with 'hello'. She played on a community recreation softball team, usually as the catcher, and had a high batting average, so this practice was not out of the ordinary. It suited her.The two were in a small, plainly decorated room with a small table in the corner. On the table lay a telephone, a notepad for taking messages (presumably), and an automatic pistol. It is unclear how or if any of these objects influenced the beginnings of the conversation.I can't do another 550 pages of this. If you are a reader, this book wasn't written for you. This is the result of one author playing around with forms in order to please himself. Cut the repetition and the padding and I could have finished this novel 100 pages ago.