Haruki Murakami //
As soon as Booktunes began Murakami's long awaited new novel, 1q84, we knew we were in for a good time: the first of the three parts of his magnum opus opens with Janácecks Sinfonietta. Even better, after that the book overflows with references to pop music and jazz. Literature and music, Booktunes' two favourite things, combine to create the complex worlds of 1984 and 1q84 and tell a typically spellbinding story that addresses the usual Murakami themes and subjects.
Happily the second book of 1q84 is equally as full of musical allusions that add to the story's intensity. The music colours the world of 1q84, gives extra insight into its characters, soundtracks the transition into 1q84's parallel world and is a shared source of information for Tengo, Aomame, Fukaeri and the reader. It's not all these three characters share, as this second part of the trilogy sees them grow closer together in an increasingly complex jumble of links and connections. Aomame and Tengo seem to stand alone in their fight against evil, a position which inevitably raises the question of whether they should abandon their position and choose evil above good. Ultimately both characters find themselves trapped in 1q84, the world of the double moon, with no way back.
Just like its predecessor, Book 2 opens with the now familiar Sinfonietta. This time it's Tengo who's the first to put the record on in the morning. It's become a daily routine for him, as it gives him strength for the rest of the day. He feels the Sinfonietta watches over him. His ex-girlfriend, Kyoko, thinks the Sinfonietta was okay, but prefers classic jazz. But her speech about the clarinet player Barney Bigard opens up another door for the reader; while in Book 1 the parallels are between the Sinfonietta and the events of the book; in Book 2 it's the connection between Tengo and the music (Bigard, in this particular instance) that enlightens us. Both turn out to be the perfect 'second baseman' (a key position in Baseball, another one of Murakami's obsessions).
The Bigard/Tengo comparison refers to Bigards's role in the rewriting of Fukaeri's Air Chrysalis. Tengo lightly compares their collaboration to Sonny and Cher. 'The Beat Goes On', sure, but if they'd fit in Noah's Arc is a little less certain... (This all might sound a bit strange if you haven't read the book yet - even if you have, Murakami's never exactly clear about anything, so the best thing to do is just dive straight in...)
Later, Tengo draws a parallel between the text of Fukaeri's beloved St. Matthew's Passion (by Bach) to the power of fate - whereby the reader realises that Fukaeri made all her predictions through music. The previously mentioned 'It's only a paper moon' is also significant; the leader of the religious sect illustrates his explanation of 1q84 with an allusion to lyrics of this poppy jazz tune: "If you don't believe in this world, and that there's no love in it, it's just a make believe world."
The Sinfonietta is heard continuously throughout the book, and there are many more musical comparisons and allusions to be found as well; from the simple to the more detailed, Murakami ties his text together with tunes. 'Home on the Range' is the hold-music for the nursing home, while Telemann, who's downfall was precipitated by a changing world, plays on the radio.
Booktunes is impatiently awaiting Book 3, and hopes that Murakami will finish off the puzzle for us; that we can expect more of his stunning prose; that his stories will continue to enriched by music; and that these two worlds will be strengthened without shattering the surreal atmosphere that Murakami remains the undisputed master of.
If you want us to keep you posted on the release of 1q84 Book 3, please send us a text
. We will let you know when the book and the music will be available.
text by E. de Loor / translation by W. Georgi / photo by Susumu Kohda