From the Muse’s Bookshelf: “1Q84 (Book Three)” by Haruki Murakami + Final Thoughts

I finished off this three-part mega-novel last night at around 3 in the morning, and to be honest, I cannot fully describe how I felt upon finishing it. “Indescribable” seems like a good word to use, so I suppose I’ll use that word to sum up how I felt. Like usual, my thoughts on Book 3 will be spoiler-free, but my thoughts on the trilogy as a whole will contain spoilers, which will be behind a cut.

Now, to sum up the final book in the trilogy, things converged and intersected. Paths crossed. Aomame is literally on the run after completing her task, only to find out she is harboring something within her. Ushikawa is tailing her, so he can bring her back to Sakigake. And Tengo deals with more loss, only to gain something that he thought was truly gone after two decades.

These three individuals converge and meet, with plenty of near-misses. There were times when I was literally screaming at my copy of the book, wondering if the two main protagonists would meet at one point. And when they did meet, well, it didn’t go the way I expected. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I really had no idea where the story was taking me. As for the ending, it seemed open-ended. Some plot points didn’t have their ends tied up, but again, that’s not a bad thing.

Under the cut are my spoiler-filled thoughts on the novel itself, so if you’ve finished the book, click away. If not, you’ve been warned.

My thoughts on the trilogy as a whole are as follows: There were many points where the story dragged. There were some parts that were—as I often like to say—squicky, and I won’t delve into that. It has to be noted that things were intersecting all along, also. As an example, Tengo’s father was in a comatose state, but then both Aomame and Ushikawa had a strange visitor in the form of a very stubborn NHK salesman. It isn’t until Tengo’s speaking with his father that we realize that Tengo’s father’s consciousness was projected out into the world as what he did best.

The maza and dohta aspects were a tad confusing. The Perceiver and Receiver aspects I did get, but I guess the only thing I can say about maza and dohta is that one is the main, and the other is nothing more than a copy; whether that copy has its own free will is something debatable, but if Eriko Fukada is the “maza,” then surely the girl that the Dowager and Aomame meet—Tsubasa—is the dohta. Both are indeed the same in terms of appearance, but since Eriko was away from Sakigake, surely her dohta couldn’t survive for long.
But then it makes me wonder, what if I had it wrong? What if Eriko is the dohta and Tsubasa the maza? How, then, could Eriko have survived all those years (7 in total) away from the Sakigake compound? The only reason I think Eriko was the dohta was because of that one scene in book 2 where the lightning storm occurs, where she takes Tengo’s essence in the same moment that Aomame kills Leader.

I didn’t realize it until sometime around book 3, but there was hardly any mention of Tengo’s mother. Book 1 we were treated (somewhat repeatedly) to the image in Tengo’s mind about his mother, something that stuck out a lot. Then we’re introduced to Aomame’s friend Ayumi, who later dies in a rather gruesome manner. After that, we are later introduced to Nurse Adachi, a woman who works in the sanatorium where Tengo’s father is located. Adachi tells Tengo that she was reincarnated. Plus, it was real intriguing that Adachi gave Tengo two vital directives, one of which was to “leave the Cat Town before the exit was blocked.” Now, I originally thought it meant that little town where Tengo’s father was located, but the more I read that final chapter, the more I kept wondering, “What if Adachi didn’t mean that little town, but the world of 1Q84?”

What happened to Ushikawa (and Sakigake as a whole) at the end was a bit of a loose thread, but then again, I guess it’s a “time continues to move on” sort of thing. Just because Aomame and Tengo left the world of 1Q84 doesn’t mean that things will end. And speaking of the aforementioned pair, we very well know just at what point Aomame entered 1Q84, but what about Tengo? I think he stepped into 1Q84 from 1984 when he initially met Eriko—she is, after all, the catalyst behind the major plot points in the novel. She was the link that both Tengo and Aomame didn’t know they needed in order to reunite after two decades. Imagine for a moment if they didn’t meet, if they continued to live their lives in normalcy. Tengo would have continued on as a cram-school teacher and aspiring writer. Aomame would have continued on her vigilante form of justice. They would have continued longing for one another until the end of their days, constantly wondering how the other was faring.

Thanks to the link known as Fuka-Eri, or Eriko Fukada, they don’t have to wonder any more. There is one final thing I would like to say, as stated in the novel itself:

“Please remember: things are not what they seem.”

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One thought on “From the Muse’s Bookshelf: “1Q84 (Book Three)” by Haruki Murakami + Final Thoughts

  1. Pingback: From the Muse’s Bookshelf: “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” by Haruki Murakami | Let the Muse Shout!

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