Home > Postmodernism > Reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 on the First Day of the Chinese Lunar New Year

Reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 on the First Day of the Chinese Lunar New Year

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Broccoli, Hokkaido scallops, pine nuts Chicken rendang with unfortunate oil slick
Tomato-based minced meat bolognaise pasta sauce Chinese New Year Durian Cake, Jane's Cake Shop

After attempting to obey the fifth commandment with some un-inspired cooking for/entertaining guests who had come over to the family home to celebrate the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year,

A slice of lemon cake, cubes of cranberry walnut brownies, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, Chinese New Year decor

settled down for a long read of Haruki Murakami‘s 1Q84 tome that i’d picked up at Kinokuniya Liang Court after some CNY eve grocery shopping at Meidi-ya.

Rather enjoyed it though couldn’t help thinking that Philip K. Dick and Jorge Luis Borges would have written this more succinctly and with more oomph. Still, its 925-page length and generous vagueness would provide something for everyone to feed on: if one wished to view the book as touting the power of literature (eg. Douglas Haddow for The Guardian), well…then as the Little People might say, though only as Marshall McLuhan,”Ho ho.”, as they might also chuckle if one was inclined to contrast the insidious tyranny of the Little People in 1Q84 with George Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984. Someone else (perhaps the scriptwriter for the movie spin-off) might also quite easily read it to mean that only true love will keep people alive.

In 1Q84, Murakami’s usual OCD-ly-disciplined alienated protagonists find themselves picking their way again through the leitmotif sands of shifting reality, only this time, the alternate reality is easy to identify – it has two moons. (For a summary of the plot, try: Boyd Tonkin for The Independent, Christopher Tayler for London Review of Books.) In the parallel world, there are cults with their own version of reality (see New York Books’ quick reference to Murakami’s earlier research on cults) – the suffering Leader willing to sacrifice himself, the prayer of the Society of Witnesses for the forgiveness and for the Lord in Heaven’s kingdom to come, closely referenced Christianity.

It had been my argument, many years ago, that Christianity was just another cult trying to impose its warped version of reality on the right-thinking postmodern public, until someone pointed out that the truth was easily evidenced and that if i actually looked, i would see that twin moons hung in the night sky.

PS:
Lemon cake, All Good Things Bakery, Watermark, Robertson Quay Tub of cranberry walnut brownies, All Good Things Bakery, Watermark, Robertson Quay
The lemon almond cake with pistachio and rose flakes, and the cranberry and walnut brownie cubes were delicious in a good homemade way: the barely-discernible almond in the cake kept it moist and the thin icing provided just the right amount of sweet sourness; the brownies were made with melted chocolate and cocoa for a properly chocolatey taste. Everything was baked in situ at All Good Things Bakery (facebook) at Watermark, Rodyk Street, Robertson Quay:

All Good Things Bakery, Watermark, Rodyk Street, Robertson Quay All Good Things Bakery, Watermark, Rodyk Street, Robertson Quay
All Good Things Bakery, Watermark, Rodyk Street, Robertson Quay

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