A masterpiece by Murakami.
I've been pondering my thoughts about this book. And, ultimately, the word I keep coming back to in relation to this book is... basket.
The construction of the story is woven like a basket. Murakami starts with various separate pieces, then starts weaving them together. As the story circles around & around, the weaving gets tighter, pulling all the pieces closer together while rotating again & again. (I realize that some have gotten bogged down in the repetition of the story, but I found it fascinating to watch his construction, to watch him carefully take one tiny design, include it somewhere else later, and continue sprinkling it through so that the final product produces a beautiful, cohesive design.)
The finished product is an epic, yet simple story, well-constructed. It is an impressive work created by a master craftsman. A universal story that, like baskets that have been used in most societies from ancient times to present day, can appeal across cultural divides, across time divides. Functional, useful, and beautiful at the same time. Universal themes such as love, ethics, religion, reality, and many more are woven into the story -- topics that would have been as appropriate a thousand years ago as they are today to people both far & wide. A design that is recognizable across cultures, yet has unique components that showcase Murakami's style & heritage too. And even though this story is like a modern-day basket, it pays homage to the ones before it, referencing some of the great works produced by artists, authors, and others from past times. A reflection of both old & new (& perhaps what is yet to come?).
And this book made me sure to look at the moon, more than once. And how can I not love a book that reminds me to be awed by the beauty of the moon? Our universal, shared moon... common to every person on the planet.
This is the third Murakami work I've read & I'd definitely rate it as the most mainstream of the ones I've read, yet it's not necessarily the one I'd recommend starting with if you've never read Murakami. Perhaps you can get a deeper appreciation for his skill if you're already a fan of his work. Otherwise, it might be to easy to dismiss 1Q84 as simple or basic, when in reality it may look simple, but is really a masterpiece created by a world-class artist.
Ironically, I was a bit surprised by the (happy) ending. Because, even though I saw the story being crafted through hundreds of pages, I was still unsure if Aomame & Tengo were heading toward happiness or not.... Did fate lead them there or was it their free-will? Once I saw where Aomame's & Tengo's stories ended in this book, I have to believe they will overcome any adversities they meet & enjoy a happy future together. They have already weathered the adverse, the strange, the mundane to get to the end, or beginning, of their story together. Time is a circle, watched over by the moon.