Two moons over Tokyo

This massive novel from Haruki Murakami, despite an intriguing premise and his usual fascinating style, nonetheless disappoints. 1Q84 is fully Murakami in tone, with a suspension of the natural rules of the world and a heavy infusion of 21st-century pop culture and unusual takes on desire, but it never quite comes together. That’s odd, considering that there are 925 pages in which to fully resolve conflicts and tie up narrative strands. Instead, 1Q84 gets lost in itself as Aomame (her name’s a pun), a hitwoman, stumbles into an alternate, two-mooned Tokyo that is ruled by—as explained in the twinned plot starring a would-be writer named Tengo—“Little People” who are more than slightly malevolent. The result is meandering—but not in a good way—and transgressive—but not for a good reason—which leads to a most unsatisfying novel.