I finally bought 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. When I was younger, I swore off existentialism of any sort. I was vehemently opposed to it (probably because I had no idea what it even was, at that time I just automatically associated it with Nietzsche, who I assumed was just an overinflated pessimist). Now, not only do I find myself reading books of that genre, but also writing in that genre. I think some of the ideas that make up existentialism are just understandings that we reach with the passage of time. The meanings that we assign things are arbitrary; we have been conditioned to believe that there are patterns or things happen for a reason, when in reality, things just happen. What we know as “reality” is subjective and we live through what we know (Matrix, anyone?).
1Q84 is Murakami’s modern take on George Orwell’s 1984 (in Japanese, “9” is pronounced the way English speakers say “Q”). It is a sweeping work with numerous themes; one in particular which interests me. One of the major characters starts noticing small, subtle changes in the world around her and the question is raised: What is reality? I remember coming home one afternoon walking up my driveway and seeing my neighbors front porch; it was exactly as it had been, except all the furniture had been shifted to the opposite side. When I saw this reflected in 1Q84, it was strangely comforting to know that others have thought of this possible “other reality.” This story is also about connections we make in life; sometimes small and fleeting but strong enough to tie us to something in some way or another.
As I continue reading, I will write a more in-depth review. Happy reading!