Recently I finished reading Murakami’s 1Q84. The book is of course a spin off *Murakami style* of the very popular Geroge Owell novel 1984. To refresh my memory and understand the plot better I read both of them back to back.
The book has very strong influences of all components that Murakami is very famous for. His whole ‘leaving the soul in another world’ elements, making cats an important symbol of change and the dark side of human mind intertwined in parallel worlds. Of course this along with the skeleton of 1984 plot, made the book a must-must read!
But having said all of this and realised much more, I concluded something. Murakami’s books have reached their peak. I know it sounds blasphemous to many but as my friend Apoorva always says, ‘when you love works of a particular author, you just know this is his last best. You can see a pattern.’
And I am ready with my reasoning as well. Murakami has based almost all his books on similar central ideas. And many of his ideas overlap among his writings. But in my opinion 1Q84 has exhausted all his ideas under one umbrella. This is probably his only novel where all his ideologies and elements have been combined extensively. This clearly shows that this is perhaps his last known different trick.
I am fond of many authors and Murakami does rank very high in the list. But the one who always manages to top is of course Salman Rushdie.
Many people have asked me if I feel he has reached his peak. With much alacrity I often say no. They of course think that crazy fandom has affected my senses but that is not so. What makes Rushdie different from many writers is his capability to evolve his narrative style. He switches from mystical realism to philosophy to romance and back. Also no two novels will ever be same.
Much of this I only believed and did not keep it as sacrosanct in my opinionated head. But having read Joseph Anton a lot changed. Joseph Anton is what he arguably accepts as fictionalised account of his so called autobiography. There in I realsied that a man whose entire set of works is based on only mystical realism and elements of magic can write three hundred pages without it, knows a thing or two beyond writing. He knows the art of it.
He wrote an article in Sunday times about being in a relationship and that thousand word writing piece was beyond enthralling. No fiction no philosophy plain simple straight from heart piece and it stayed with me for years.
I didn’t want to compare the two. Murakami and Rushdie but somehow the thoughts flew that way. And in the end I realised something. We get paid not for our degrees or qualifications or even our experience, we get paid for what we do, what we are.
I will write a post soon on the last bit, but tell me as a reader do you understand the context of these words with Murakami and Rushdie discussion? Do you?
I haven’t read murakami yet. Now I have a reason to. But Rushdie…hes like elusive mist. The moment I think I got him he disappears. N when I give up lo! he’s all so clear in my lap….he never stops amazing me, as an author and as an individual.
Amen to that thought Nisha.. he is like mist. Here there everywhere and yet nowhere..
I am yet to read a Murakami…. but the thought you penned about an Author reaching his/her peak.. I often think about it, esp. in the context of established Authors who have authored multiple books- don’t they run out of ideas? how do they maintain a freshness in each of their works?
Having said that I try not to compare Authors mainly for what you said as well in your post “We get paid not for our degrees or qualifications or even our experience, we get paid for what we do, what we are.”
The last part of it… each author also is what he writes and what he is… I like to appreciate the effort that goes in, given how unique everyone’s style is, I can only imagine the effort that they put in…
Hi Seeta… I feel its when authors reach their so-called “peak” that they offer more value. Then they get into “polishing” detailing, dissecting…for want of the right word. Have you read Geoff Thompson. He repeats the same [his life] in all his books. But each one connects with me differently.
Nisha I kind of believe the same yet that peak too has a peak..
But after a while not efforts but something new to the table attracts more readers.. no? Or so I think.
You had me specs-drawn into my screen with the title of this post itself. Having read pieces from both the works, I was looking forward to a comparative study.
Anyway, I do relate a bit to your thoughts, but the thought of Murakami at the peak is good, but that it goes only down from there is not appealing. 🙁 Both are amazing authors, while Rushdie plays with words like no other, Murakami has his way with the Sci-fi and the components which don’t leave you for a long time after you’re done with his book.
Which is your favorite book of Rushdie, I wonder.
Of course midnight’s children me loves that book as much as I love life. I am a crazy mad fan of that book 😛
I have yet to read a Murakami and I remember Rushdie was a big deal when I was in High School. Great information to ponder.
Giving a Voice to Your Story
Then perhaps you can pick a Murakami and enjoy it like me too!
I heard a lot about Rushdie during the days when he had written a controversial book. I am not familiar with Murakami. you have shared great information on the two.
Yes Siphosith most people remember Rushdie for his controversial book Satanic Verses..
Great post 🙂 Interesting….thanks for sharing 🙂 Shared
Thanks Joan 🙂
Saw the book in a store the other day and was curious about the story. Thanks for this review/discussion. So timely.
Well then go back to the bookstore and pick it up 😀
Interesting comparison. All of a sudden, I am hearing a lot about Murakami, haven’t read him yet.
Well then pick one now! You would enjoy it 🙂
I haven’t read either author yet but you’ve piqued my interest about Salman Rushdie. First I’m going to look for the link to the article on relationships then I’ll head toward the Kindle store. I love the way you write and look forward to reading more.
Thanks Margit 🙂 and Rushdie will surely enthrall you as a reader 🙂
Am I the only one who have not read Murakami’s books ?
Once again Richa, awesome post
Well not the only one! A lot of people in the comments have left similar thing 😀
Interesting concept that an author has reached his peak. I have not read Rushdie for many years and now will put Murakami on my “to read” list on Goodreads. Which would you recommend as the first to read?
I would suggest a great author is a great author and it is the reader that changes. Could it be that the reader peaks?
Perhaps yes, reader does peak too. And as for reco read wind up bird chronicle!
Murakami is new to me. Nice to get to know something new.
Well then you need to read him!
I haven’t read either yet… But I do understand the aspect of an author reaching his peak…Now I wish you recommend me some books by both the authors so that I can also take the plunge
Oh you haven’t read? Read wind-up bird chronicle and read midnight children’s
Thanks for introducing me to this new author sounds like a good one !
He is a fabulous one!
Haven’t read Murakami. But, I feel Rushdie is one of the most talented writers who knows the art of playing with words, building up compelling narratives and makes a good story romantic. He’s one of the best and loove Joseph Anton. He’s a genius.
He is a genius! But I guess you have to read one or two murakami as well!
Hi Richa – I did read 1Q84 and honestly it was a difficult read for me, the non linear story line and the mix of fantasy and real worlds was new to me. But it was an enjoyable read and I am now a fan. George Orwell’s 1984, in my opinion, is the best dystopian book ever written. Loved your write up. Will be a regular reader. 🙂
Giving a link to one of my posts that was inspired by 1984. Please do take a look. 🙂
It is the non linear story that quite caught my attention 😀