The recent metafictional novel 1Q84, by Japanese writer Murakami Haruki, has come under fire from literary critics for its apparent solipsism and misogyny. This essay argues that the novel makes a counterintuitive case for the continued relevance of novel ethics by pointing to the very real pressures that manifestly fictional beings—never mistaken for autonomous others and therefore never fully apprehensible as objects of empathetic identification—can place on characters and readers.
Reflexive Realism and Kinetic Ethics: The Case of Murakami Haruki’s 1Q84
Christopher Weinberger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative and World Literature at San Francisco State University. He is currently finishing a book manuscript, Triangulating an Ethos: Ethics of Self-Consciousness in Modern Japanese Prose Fiction. The manuscript examines formal experimentation, especially reflexive practices of self-critique, in Japanese prose fiction from the turn of the twentieth century in order to address critical issues in contemporary theories of novel ethics.
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Christopher Weinberger; Reflexive Realism and Kinetic Ethics: The Case of Murakami Haruki’s 1Q84. Representations 1 August 2015; 131 (1): 105–133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2015.131.1.105
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