Waiting for the paperback version of 1Q84 meant being rewarded with a manageable three-volume set and also hearing the mixture of enjoyment and ambivalence that early readers already worked through. Since I’ve read so much of Murakami’s work, I knew I’d read it regardless of the overall less-than-stellar trend in responses. Most of the book was entertaining to read, but the length is a tough aspect. At times it feels long for the point of being long, like content is just padded on to draw the story out longer. Murakami loves the banalities of his characters’ lives, so this level of detail is not entirely out of place in his work. But there were also moments of inconsistency and contradiction that felt a little sloppy, and it’s often hard to tell if it was written that way or if it could be the translation.
For me 1Q84 peaked midway through the second book, so it’s a pretty long decline to denouement. In the end I was glad mostly that I made it through the book fairly quickly, so it didn’t feel like I’d spent a lot of time slogging through a story I wasn’t that excited about. But I can appreciate Janet Maslin’s snarky review at the same time.