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Down rabbit hole in a tale, surreal yet utterly human

By Richard Eder
October 30, 2011

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In such novels as “A Wild Sheep Chase’’ and “Hard Boiled Wonderland,’’ the up-to-date world of comfortable Japanese consumerism is a thin-ice cover over sink holes of the uncanny. Falling into them, Haruki Murakami’s protagonists tend to engage our minds rather than our emotions. In Murakami’s new novel, “1Q84’’, there is more strangeness, more surreal switches tripped suddenly in IKEA-furnished apartments, more jangling abductions of complacent reality. And just plain more: 928 pages worth. Worth? Pretty much yes.

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1Q84 By Haruki Murakami

Translated, from the Japanese, by Jay Rubin

and Phillip Gabriel

Knopf, 925 pp., $30.50