At the great risk of sounding insufferably pretentious, I am a fan of Haruki Murakami. I first received Kafka on the Shore for Christmas in 2005, when I had just recently returned from my first trip to Japan as part of a high school study tour. My mind thoroughly blown, I searched for other Murakami books and have enjoyed most of them. It must be confessed, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle sits half finished on my shelf. But I loved A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance and Sputnik Sweetheart. And I read Norwegian Wood at precisely the right time of my life, in my early 20s and on holiday. Though it remains one of my favourite books, I’m afraid to reread it and lose the magic of that first emotional sweep. So with all that said, of course I wanted to melt similarly into 1Q84 in all its expected weirdness, letting the musical references sail over my head like I usually do.