12 May 2013
But as it is with all magicians, the spell cast by Murakami is a delicate one. In his massive new novel 1Q84, just published in English translation, it never quite dazzles as it should. All the usual Murakami elements are there: the detached protagonist, the creepy authoritarian cult, the mysterious quest, the moments when the bizarre bleeds into the buttoned-up world of modern Japan. Yet too often the words simply lay there on the page—all 932 of them. The effort feels all too forced, as if Murakami set out to write something that simply approximated a great novel. (Murakami has said that he was inspired by The Brothers Karamazov, which is similar to 1Q84 in that it is also very, very long.) This is a jazz solo that overstays its welcome.
I don't think it merely dragged on too long. You could reduce the novel to any length and it would still be immensely disappointing.