Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Celebrating Asian & Pacific Island Heritage Month: Murakami and our fake, parallel worlds

Henry Bemis Books continues our celebration of Asian & Pacific Island Heritage Month with more interesting titles on our shelves!


In a 2010 reflection for the New York Times on the significance of 9/11, the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami asserted that “we are living in an age when reality is sufficiently unreal.” In the essay, Murakami divided the world into two parallel realities: Reality A, “the world we have now” in which 9/11 happened, and Reality B, “the world we might have had if 9/11 had never happened.” “Reality B,” he wrote, “appears to be realer and more rational than the world of Reality A. To put it in different terms, we are living a world that has an even lower level of reality than the unreal world. What can we possibly call this if not ‘chaos?’” The ripples from 9/11 across the globe, Murakami believed, had altered it forever, eroding open a mossy door and unleashing something inexplicable, something vast, irrational, and scary, into the waters.

One of the most celebrated Japanese writers of the century, Haruki Murakami (1946- ) explores these themes in many of his works, but none so memorably as in his longest novel, 1Q84 (2009). We have an interestingly-designed edition in English:


Murakami, Haruki, 1Q84 (Vintage International, 1st ed., 1st printing, May 2012). ISBN 978-0-345-80293-4. This deluxe three-volume paperback boxed set--gorgeously designed editions in a see-through case, with a removeable sticker on the shrink wrap packaging--is a collector's item in the making. It beautifully showcases Haruki Murakami's most ambitious novel yet, "1Q84"--a love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's. The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84--"Q is for 'question mark.' A world that bears a question."

Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame's and Tengo's narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

An instant bestseller around the world, "1Q84" is a tremendous feat of imagination from one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary writers. Fine condition, HBB price: $40.


Henry Bemis Books is one man’s attempt to bring more diversity and quality to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg market of devoted readers starved for choices. Our website is at Henry Bemis Books is also happy to entertain reasonable offers on items in inventory; for pricing on this or others items, kindly private message us. Shipping is always free; local buyers are welcome to drop by and pick up their purchases at our location off Peachtree Road in Northwest Charlotte if they like.

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