I had quite high expectations of this book, based purely on the blurb and cover of course. It just looked like something that would be really good, and fortunately it was. It’s got all sorts of elements I am intrigued by, including Japan, magic and cults. It also demonstrated the perfect way to maintain tension and to keep your readers hooked (something I’m trying to deconstruct in the books I read now that I’m writing again). Each chapter is told from one of the two main characters’ perspectives. Usually when writers employ this trick, the reader tends to prefer one character, or one plotline, and so can feel slightly irritated at the end of a chapter, when they realise they have to switch. In the case of IQ84 I did feel irritated at the end of each chapter, but for a different reason – both stories were so good, and they so often ended on a mini-cliffhanger that I would be annoyed I’d have to take a break from one character. But then I would remember I’d felt the exact same thing just a chapter before, when I couldn’t wait to keep reading about the original character, so I was always happy to be reading more about both of them.
It also raises very interesting questions about reality and perception: in short, how can we tell that the world we are living in is a) real and b) hasn’t changed into something else without us realising. My pragmatic response would always be that regardless of any higher truth about reality, we have to live as if this is the only reality we know and always have known. Anything else is futile really, as we have no way of knowing any differently. There’s only one moon in our sky.