Monday, 23 September 2013

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

The taxi’s radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janáček’s Sinfonietta—probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. 

Beginning in a car? I've seen websites saying this is a no-no. I would like to know who first said that. Does anyone know? In any case, this does not hook. It raises no questions, no character, no problem, except that someone is stuck in a traffic jam, and they are not listening to the ideal music for such a dilemma.

The middle-aged driver didn’t seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music.

Now, with the rest of the first paragraph we have a character and a simile.

How many people could recognize Janáček’s Sinfonietta after hearing just the first few bars? Probably somewhere between “very few” and “almost none.” But for some reason, Aomame was one of the few who could.

Then what follows is a history lesson on the piece of music in question.

I've heard great things about this book and have picked it up twice but cannot not get past this banal opening. I promised myself though that if I'm ever at a total loose end, like stranded on a desert island and all I have is my e-reader, I will give this another try. From all reports, I won't be disappointed. I'll just skip the beginning.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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