Is her story really true? While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world? You can now download a free sampler of the first two chapters of 1Q Sadly only available in the UK. Amazon Kindle iBookstore. To access it, fans must "like" the Haruki Murakami Facebook page.
Murakami chats with the New Yorker Magazine's fiction editor. Brief anticipatory pieces from the Guardian and Independent. Very nice article on the design process for Chip Kidds cover for 1Q Round up of some of the many 1Q84 reviews. Murakami reveals plans for third installment of '1Q84' novel - In a interview with the Mainichi Daliy News, Japan Murakami reveals plans for third installment of '1Q84' novel.
After printing over 2 million copies for part 1 and 2 Murakami hopes to have part 3 published next summer. Asked for his reason for continuing the story, Murakami said ' I began wondering how things were going to unfold, and realized I wanted to write the third book'. Shinchosha Publishing Co. New Murakami interview - Aum trials a starting point for 1Q In the second part to Murakami's new interview - Sex, violence 'doors into the human soul' - with The Yomiuri Shimbun , he talks about 1Q84 and how society has changed since he was first published in Murakami reveals Orwell and Aum as twin inspirations for new novel - 1Q84 draws on his interviews with cult's victims and fulfils longheld ambition to write a kind of 'near-past' - by Alison Flood, The Guardian 26th June What is the parallel world in Murakami's new novel '1Q84' - The Mainichi Daily News answers common questions readers may have about the parallel world discussed in Haruki Murakami's new novel "1Q Daniel Morales at howtojaponese.
Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music. Probably somewhere between "very few" and "almost none. He originally wrote the opening as a fanfare for a gymnastics festival. Aomame imagined Czechoslovakia: The First World War had ended, and the country was freed from the long rule of the Hapsburg Dynasty. Two years earlier, in utter obscurity, Franz Kafka had left the world behind.
Soon Hitler would come out of nowhere and gobble up this beautiful little country in the blink of an eye, but at the time no one knew what hardships lay in store for them. This may be the most important proposition revealed by history: "At the time, no one knew what was coming. In Japan's Taisho Emperor died, and the era name was changed to Showa. It was the beginning of a terrible, dark time in this country, too. The short interlude of modernism and democracy was ending, giving way to fascism.
Aomame loved history as much as she loved sports. She rarely read fiction, but history books could keep her occupied for hours. What she liked about history was the way all its facts were linked with particular dates and places. She did not find it especially difficult to remember historical dates. Even if she did not learn them by rote memorization, once she grasped the relationship of an event to its time and to the events preceding and following it, the date would come to her automatically.
In both middle school and high school, she had always gotten the top grade on history exams. It puzzled her to hear someone say he had trouble learning dates. How could something so simple be a problem for anyone? Her grandfather on her father's side came from some little mountain town or village in Fukushima Prefecture, where there were supposedly a number of people who bore the name, written with exactly the same characters as the word for "green peas" and pronounced with the same four syllables, "Ah-oh-mah-meh.
Her father had cut his ties with his family before her birth, just as her mother had done with her own family, so she had never met any of her grandparents. She didn't travel much, but on those rare occasions when she stayed in an unfamiliar city or town, she would always open the hotel's phone book to see if there were any Aomames in the area.
She had never found a single one, and whenever she tried and failed, she felt like a lonely castaway on the open sea. Telling people her name was always a bother. As soon as the name left her lips, the other person looked puzzled or confused. Just like 'green peas. People would stare at the card as if she had thrust a letter at them bearing bad news. When she announced her name on the telephone, she would often hear suppressed laughter.
In waiting rooms at the doctor's or at public offices, people would look up at the sound of her name, curious to see what someone called "Green Peas" could look like. Some people would get the name of the plant wrong and call her "Edamame" or "Soramame," whereupon she would gently correct them: "No, I'm not soybeans or fava beans, just green peas.
Pretty close, though. My life might have been totally different if I hadn't been born with this name. If I had had an ordinary name like Sato or Tanaka or Suzuki, I could have lived a slightly more relaxed life or looked at people with somewhat more forgiving eyes. Eyes closed, Aomame listened to the music, allowing the lovely unison of the brasses to sink into her brain. Just then it occurred to her that the sound quality was too good for a radio in a taxicab. Despite the rather low volume at which it was playing, the sound had true depth, and the overtones were clearly audible.
She opened her eyes and leaned forward to study the dashboard stereo. The jet-black device shone with a proud gloss. She couldn't make out its brand name, but it was obviously high end, with lots of knobs and switches, the green numerals of the station readout clear against the black panel. This was not the kind of stereo you expected to see in an ordinary fleet cab. She looked around at the cab's interior. She had been too absorbed in her own thoughts to notice until now, but this was no ordinary taxi. The high quality of the trim was evident, and the seat was especially comfortable.
Above all, it was quiet. The car probably had extra sound insulation to keep noise out, like a soundproofed music studio. The driver probably owned his own cab. Many such owner-drivers would spare no expense on the upkeep of their automobiles. Moving only her eyes, Aomame searched for the driver's registration card, without success. This did not seem to be an illegal unlicensed cab, though.
It had a standard taxi meter, which was ticking off the proper fare: 2, yen so far. Still, the registration card showing the driver's name was nowhere to be found. What kind is it? That's one reason I chose it. Toyota has some of the best sound-insulating technology in the world. There was something about the driver's way of speaking that bothered her, as though he were leaving something important unsaid.
For example and this is just one example , his remark on Toyota's impeccable sound insulation might be taken to mean that some other Toyota feature was less than impeccable. And each time he finished a sentence, there was a tiny but meaningful lump of silence left behind. This lump floated there, enclosed in the car's restricted space like an imaginary miniature cloud, giving Aomame a strangely unsettled feeling. And—" Aomame waited for what was to follow, but nothing followed. She closed her eyes again and concentrated on the music.
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And how did she know it had been composed in ? The music gave her an odd, wrenching kind of feeling. There was no pain or unpleasantness involved, just a sensation that all the elements of her body were being physically wrung out. Aomame had no idea what was going on. The man who wrote this music. After a brief pause, he added, "It's all mine. My second one. That's why I asked you to take the expressway. You'll never make it. This is no ordinary traffic jam.
We've hardly moved for quite a while. The expressway had been brought to a standstill. He should be listening to updates on the taxi drivers' special radio station. The Expressway Corporation only releases reports that suit its agenda. If you really want to know what's happening here and now, you've got to use your own eyes and your own judgment. When it backs up solid like this, the expressway is sheer hell. Is your meeting an important one?
I have to see a client. You're probably not going to make it. The wrinkles on the back of his neck moved like some kind of ancient creature. Half-consciously watching the movement, Aomame found herself thinking of the sharp object in the bottom of her shoulder bag.
A touch of sweat came to her palms. If we were down on the city streets, you could just step out of the cab and take the subway. We might not get there before the sun goes down, though. Aomame imagined herself locked in this cab until sunset. Muted strings came to the foreground as if to soothe her heightened anxiety. That earlier wrenching sensation had largely subsided. What could that have been? Aomame had caught the cab near Kinuta and told the driver to take the elevated expressway from Yohga. The flow of traffic had been smooth at first, but suddenly backed up just before Sangenjaya, after which they had hardly moved.
The outbound lanes were moving fine. Only the side headed toward downtown Tokyo was tragically jammed. Inbound Expressway Number 3 would not normally back up at three in the afternoon, which was why Aomame had directed the driver to take it. I suppose you need to get to your meeting, though? But there's nothing I can do about it, is there? He was wearing pale sunglasses. The way the light was shining in, Aomame could not make out his expression.
She waited for more with narrowed eyes. See that turnout just ahead? Near that Esso sign. The elevated roadway had no shoulder but instead had emergency turnouts at regular intervals. Aomame saw that the turnout was outfitted with a yellow emergency phone box for contacting the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation office. The turnout itself was empty at the moment. On top of a building beyond the oncoming lanes there was a big billboard advertising Esso gasoline with a smiling tiger holding a gas hose. It's for drivers who have to abandon their cars in a fire or earthquake and climb down to the street.
Usually only maintenance workers use it. If you were to climb down that stairway, you'd be near a Tokyu Line station. From there, it's nothing to Shibuya. Then he said, "I wonder. I don't know all the rules of the Corporation, but you wouldn't be hurting anybody. They'd probably look the other way, don't you think? Anyway, they don't have people watching every exit.
The Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation is famous for having a huge staff but nobody really doing any work. You know, like the ones you see on the backs of old buildings.
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It's not especially dangerous or anything. It's maybe three stories high, and you just climb down. There's a barrier at the opening, but it's not very high. Anybody who wanted to could get over it easily. We might as well resign ourselves to the fact that we're not going anywhere soon. All I'm saying is that there are emergency measures you can take if you have urgent business. She looked up and studied the surrounding cars. On the right was a black Mitsubishi Pajero wagon with a thin layer of white dust.
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A bored-looking young man in the front passenger seat was smoking a cigarette with his window open. He had long hair, a tanned face, and wore a dark red windbreaker. The car's luggage compartment was filled with a number of worn surfboards. In front of him was a gray Saab , its dark-tinted windows closed tight, preventing any glimpse of who might be inside. The body was so immaculately polished, you could probably see your face in it.
The car ahead was a red Suzuki Alto with a Nerima Ward license plate and a dented bumper. A young mother sat gripping the wheel. Her small child was standing on the seat next to her, moving back and forth to dispel its boredom. The mother's annoyance showed on her face as she cautioned the child to keep still.
Aomame could see her mouth moving. The scene was unchanged from ten minutes earlier. In those ten minutes, the car had probably advanced less than ten yards. Aomame thought hard, arranging everything in order of priority. She needed hardly any time to reach a conclusion. She pulled her small Ray-Ban sunglasses partway out of her shoulder bag and took three thousand-yen bills from her wallet. Handing the bills to the driver, she said, "I'll get out here. I really can't be late for this appointment.
And keep the change. Don't slip. The driver chose his words carefully: "It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? People do not ordinarily climb down the emergency stairs of the Metropolitan Expressway in the middle of the day—especially women. I've had that experience myself. But don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality.
This was obviously a live recording.
The applause was long and enthusiastic. There were even occasional calls of "Bravo! He would then raise his head, raise his arms, shake hands with the concertmaster, turn away from the audience, raise his arms again in praise of the orchestra, face front, and take another deep bow. As she listened to the long recorded applause, it sounded less like applause and more like an endless Martian sandstorm.
He was right. A physical object could only be in one place at one time. Einstein proved that.
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Reality was utterly coolheaded and utterly lonely. Aomame pointed toward the car stereo. Then he pulled the lever that opened the passenger door. The applause was still going. She started walking carefully along the left edge of the elevated road toward the emergency turnout some ten meters ahead. Each time a large truck roared by on the opposite side, she felt the surface of the road shake—or, rather, undulate—through her high heels, as if she were walking on the deck of an aircraft carrier on a stormy sea.
The little girl in the front seat of the red Suzuki Alto stuck her head out of her window and stared, open-mouthed, at Aomame passing by. Then she turned to her mother and asked, "Mommy, what is that lady doing? Where's she going? I want to get out and walk too. Please, Mommy! The girl's loud pleading and the mother's glance were the only responses to her that Aomame noticed.
The other drivers just sat at the wheel smoking and watching her make her way with determined steps between the cars and the side wall.
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They knit their brows and squinted as if looking at a too-bright object but seemed to have temporarily suspended all judgment. For someone to be walking on the Metropolitan Expressway was by no means an everyday event, with or without the usual flow of traffic, so it took them some time to process the sight as an actual occurrence—all the more so because the walker was a young woman in high heels and a miniskirt.
Aomame pulled in her chin, kept her gaze fixed straight ahead, her back straight, and her pace steady. Her chestnut-colored Charles Jourdan heels clicked against the road's surface, and the skirts of her coat waved in the breeze. April had begun, but there was still a chill in the air and a hint of roughness to come. Aomame wore a beige spring coat over her green light wool Junko Shimada suit. A black leather bag hung over her shoulder, and her shoulder-length hair was impeccably trimmed and shaped.
She wore no accessories of any kind. Five foot six inches tall, she carried not an ounce of excess fat. Every muscle in her body was well toned, but her coat kept that fact hidden. A detailed examination of her face from the front would reveal that the size and shape of her ears were significantly different, the left one much bigger and malformed. No one ever noticed this, however, because her hair nearly always covered her ears. Her lips formed a tight straight line, suggesting that she was not easily approachable. Also contributing to this impression were her small, narrow nose, somewhat protruding cheekbones, broad forehead, and long, straight eyebrows.
All of these were arranged to sit in a pleasing oval shape, however, and while tastes differ, few would object to calling her a beautiful woman. The one problem with her face was its extreme paucity of expression. Her firmly closed lips only formed a smile when absolutely necessary. Her eyes had the cool, vigilant stare of a superior deck officer.
Thanks to these features, no one ever had a vivid impression of her face. She attracted attention not so much because of the qualities of her features but rather because of the naturalness and grace with which her expression moved. In that sense, Aomame resembled an insect skilled at biological mimicry.
What she most wanted was to blend in with her background by changing color and shape, to remain inconspicuous and not easily remembered.
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This was how she had protected herself since childhood. Whenever something caused her to frown or grimace, however, her features underwent dramatic changes. The muscles of her face tightened, pulling in several directions at once and emphasizing the lack of symmetry in the overall structure. Deep wrinkles formed in her skin, her eyes suddenly drew inward, her nose and mouth became violently distorted, her jaw twisted to the side, and her lips curled back, exposing Aomame's large white teeth. Instantly, she became a wholly different person, as if a cord had broken, dropping the mask that normally covered her face.
The shocking transformation terrified anyone who saw it, so she was careful never to frown in the presence of a stranger. She would contort her face only when she was alone or when she was threatening a man who displeased her. Reaching the turnout, Aomame stopped and looked around. It took only a moment for her to find the emergency stairway.
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