As 1Q84 begins, Aomame is stuck in traffic in a taxi on the Metropolitan Expressway Number 3 in Tokyo. The radio is playing a classical music piece, Janáček’s Sinfonietta. Aomame reflects that when this music was written, nobody knew that World War II was coming. In her mind, she broadens this point to express what she thinks is the central lesson of history: “At the time, nobody knew what was coming.”
Next, Aomame’s thoughts turn to her name, which...
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