Organized Panel Session
This paper provides a futuristic reading of Murakami Haruki’s IQ84, Murakami’s “post-postmodern” (Tanaka Minoru) retelling of 1984. In addition to addressing the prominent role of prophecy and foreshadowing in IQ84,this paper is particularly interested in the metafictional import of the chrysalis at the crux of 1Q84’s novella-within-the-novel. It is almost impossible to read a metamorphic, chrysalidal narrative without some hermeneutic of the future; the metafictional components of 1Q84 suggest that such futuristic hermeneutics is a general requirement for making sense of fiction, and that literary visions of the future transform readers’ sense of what might come to be. In Futurity, Amir Eshel writes that the traumas of World War II gave rise to a “hermeneutic of futurity,” a desire to interpret the possible futures immanent in the texts of the past. Eshel’s account, however, does not address postwar Japanese literature. This paper will approach Murakami’s IQ84 in terms of New Futurism. New Futurism explores how notions of futurity enable the reading of narratives, and how the reading of narratives shapes human visions of the future. One obvious, justifiable objection to this proposal is to say that we cannot read the future because it has not yet occurred. Literary works, however, do not need to accurately predict the future, because literature can help shape it. Foreshadowing, prolepsis, peripeteia, utopian/dystopian near futures—literature certainly speaks in the future tense, and it is through such narratival techniques that possible futures become comprehensible.