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Chapter 18 - Proximate Magic

Magical Realism and the City in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84

from Part III - Application

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2020

Christopher Warnes
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Kim Anderson Sasser
Affiliation:
Wheaton College, Illinois
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Summary

A major twenty-first-century fiction, Haruki Murakami’s novel 1Q84 confirms the continuing force of global magical realism. Our analysis centers on a crucial question for magical realist texts: What does their magic achieve? This epic love story chronicles the separation and ultimate reunion of Tengo and Aomame in twentieth-century Tokyo. In its course, the novel’s 'proximate magic' uses magical events and phenomena to draw isolated people together within the city: Tengo writes a story containing two moons and then he and Aomame see two moons in the sky; Tengo sleeps with Fuka Eri and Aomame becomes pregnant, disturbing habitual ideas of space and identity as many magical realist fictions do. This interpersonal magic, together with magical intersections of separate worlds (including – on a metafictional level – the conflation of separate texts) addresses the problem of the separation between inhabitants of a megalopolis, remedying the alienation they experience. Such cultural work needs magic to overcome these strongly divisive social forces.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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