No, I haven’t thrown my copy out in the trash (I’m still in love with the slightly creepy cover of the hardback edition). Have the Little People gotten the better of me? Why, how ever could you say so? Be honest.
Actually, yes. Yes. I hate the Little People! I couldn’t care less about the Little People. I think Little People have abducted Mr Haruki Murakami, and ghostwritten this hefty door-stopper in his name. Can this really be the same Murakami who wrote the rollicking Kafka on the Shore, and ever so ethereal Norwegian Wood? What on earth is going on?
The worst part is, to answer these questions to my earnest self, I have to reach the end of the book. And so I have decided to indulge my curiosity and embark on a Japanese literature challenge – the sixth one, to be accurate. I am currently halfway through 1Q84. I began reading it in June, earlier this year, a testament to what a bore this book really is.
I’m actually reading two translations of 1Q84 side by side, one the English Jay Rubin/Philip Gabriel collaboration and the second, a translation in Mandarin Chinese. What’s interesting is that the pared back, almost clinical style of Murakami’s sentences work much better in Chinese (I wonder if this is also the case with the Korean translation, which would have been my preferred choice, since I’m not as proficient in Mandarin). I’ve often wondered if this was a flaw of [English] translation, but I’m only just beginning to form a sense of how close to the original tone and flow Rubin/Gabriel really manage to get.
Midway thoughts? If it wasn’t clear enough from my expression of disgust towards the Little People (above), and the fact that this book is taking me over three months to finish, I’m not sure if I’m liking it all too much…
Also reading Murakami’s (slimmer) After Dark, to try and balance out my dislike of 1Q84, and to remind myself of what he is truly capable of. More thoughts to come.