I’m almost finshed reading 1Q84. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously and I think one main reason for this is that I can never really work out what kind of story it is. In the beginning, I thought it was regular fiction, let’s say the kind of book you pick up at the Fiction section at the bookshop. Maybe a love story, or a coming-of-age kind of story – a bildungsroman. I wasn’t sure. But how do you categorise this 1Q84 world with two moons?
As I’ve been reading it, my idea of the genre has changed. For a while, I thought it was a bit like magical realism, and in a way it was – but not really. Then I thought it was more like sci-fi, and it has got some elements of science fiction. But it’s not a sci-fi novel, not really. After that, I thought it was more like fantasy, but that didn’t stick either. It’s too realistic.
Two-thirds through the novel, I suddenly came to think of it as a crime novel, a whodunnit. You’ve got the detective trying to work out who murdered the victim. The problem with that classification is that we alrady know who murdered the victim. Aomame, one of the two main characters, is an assassin, so that’s not a mystery. What’s interesting with turning the whodunnit on its head here is that we are following the detective in his work even though we already know who did it, which adds a different kind of dynamic to the story.
Now, as I’ve only got 25 pages or so to go, I’m thinking that maybe this novel is mainly love story after all. But who knows, I might change my veiw again before I finish it. Needless to say, this refusal to be categorised is definitely one reason why I’m still reading 1Q84.