The final character and concept chart for 1Q84 is below. Most noticeable about this one is the addition of a new branch from the title—Ushikawa gets his own distinct branch as the third volume does not alternate between Aomame and Tengo, but cycles through Ushikawa, Aomame, and Tengo until the final chapter.
This addition is necessary in order to show the investigative aspect of the final events, but there are drawbacks. With three separate narratives running, the narrator rather quickly loses track of their relation to each other as each character’s story is told, each episode confined to the pre-determined chapter length limit. As a result, events are related out of order and, rather than giving the effect that this was intentional, it comes off as rather clumsy. Instead of being Pulp Fiction or 21 Grams, it’s more like a child’s ghost story or a poorly-told joke. Continue reading
The character and concept chart as revised for volume II is posted below. In addition to the concepts outlined therein, I have two major points to discuss about this middle section.
The first involves something of a trope I’ve observed in a number of works of fiction, namely the idea that people choose to die as they grow old. In 1Q84, the doctor caring for Tengo’s father speaks of growing old, past the age of 7o specifically, as a process of deciding when to stop living, and Tengo takes this assumption as granted. I’ve seen this idea elsewhere, including in a rambling lecture for a completely useless Anthropology class. (Don’t take that as a shot at Anthropology; this class was useless because the lecturer had evidently given up on being a professor and abruptly retired after two or three lectures, giving everyone unearned A’s.) Continue reading
Below you’ll find the character, concept, and image chart I’ve made for the first volume of this three volume novel. Apologies for the lack of notes and page numbers, this is due to technical restrictions with the software I’m using.
As the novel alternates between chapters that follow the two main characters, Aomame and Tengo, each character’s narrative has its own collection of characters and images that branch off from their name. Aomame’s branches are blue, Tengo’s are yellow, and when an item becomes cross-referenced by being mentioned in both, I change the branch to green and connect the two with an arrow. (The different-colored connection arrows are only changed for aesthetic reasons; there’s no special meaning attached to the purple arrows as opposed to the blue ones.)
Note that the two characters are also linked, not only by the novel’s title in the center, but also by the fact that each character has remembered the other, independently and albeit anonymously, so far. Continue reading