Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ToB 2012: 1Q84 vs. The Tiger's Wife

Tournament of Books 2012

1Q84Haruki Murakami

The Tiger's Wife
Téa Obreht 
I didn't expect Lightning Rods to beat The Sense of an Ending.  I mean, I was really dumbstruck when I scrolled to the bottom of the decision and saw that it was Lightning Rods.  I just didn't expect a strange book about glory-holes to beat the Man Booker Prize winner.

But how to compare 1Q84 to The Tiger's Wife?  Téa Obreht's Orange Prize winning, National Book Award nominated debut novel won over the critics and made Obreht a young novelist to watch.  1Q84 is Murakami's most ambitious novel and its highly-anticipated English translation debuted to mixed reviews last fall.

In the Opening Round, judge Bethany Patrick said that The Tiger's Wife "often veers into wacky proto-mythology."  Judge Misha Angrist wrote that in 1Q84, "Murakami is expansive, restless, and occasionally ponderous."  Both books have strange and fantastic story elements, but in the end both are love stories.

According to our contest participant's picks, The Tiger's Wife should easily beat 1Q84, but if there's anything we've learned in this year's Tournament of Books, it's that you can't assume anything and it's really up to the preferences of the judges.  With that said, I'm going to go against the readers and go with 1Q84.  While I didn't love it when I read it, 1Q84 was praised by lots of people as Murakami's best and that's something that can't be discounted.

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