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1Q84

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,4972771,043 (3.83)3 / 715
An ode to George Orwell's "1984" told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.
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English (262)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Greek (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  All languages (277)
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
Yes, editing could have/should have taken 100+ pages away ... but Murakami had enough 'magic' to keep me intrigued. (and wanting more!) ( )
  MccMichaelR | Jul 23, 2020 |
I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. Murakami is one of my favorite authors and I've made a point of hunting down and reading everything he's written that's available in English.

But it drags. It drags like no other, and the plot is lacking. Honestly, at least 1/3 of Tengo's chapters and 1/4 of Aomame's could have been cut and it wouldn't have suffered from those missing descriptions of them walking around town or eating spaghetti or having sex (though I will admit that whenever he writes about pasta dishes, I get a craving for spaghetti).

Underneath all the unnecessary chapters and the pointless little details, we have a fairly basic story, particularly for something by Murakami: a mostly unsuccessful writer gets pulled into a world of a troubled young girl whose story at first seems like a fantasy but then turns out to possibly be true; a woman is a hired assassin on behalf of a rich dowager and the domestic abuse victims she takes in, only to get mixed up with a dangerous cult; and both of them had 'a moment' when they were in grade school that made them fall in love and stay in love over some twenty years in which they never again interacted...?

I love the first two ideas, can totally dig them and I think Murakami worked these stories together really well. The part that I couldn't find believable was this deep relationship between Aomame and Tengo. As much as I liked them individually, their love story was bland. There was literally nothing about their relationship that could be called credible or particularly romantic, unless you're really keen on those 'red string of fate' type stories. As a conduit for these surreal occurrences, and as intertwined stories, they were excellent. As romantic characters and lovers, their story was less like watching a rose bloom and more like watching grass grow. ( )
  gleipnir | Jun 20, 2020 |
Wow. Just wow.

I admit to being slightly intimidated by the idea of reading this novel. I read a novella of his from before and while I thought it was stylistically pretty great, I didn't FALL for it as I fell for this.

Haruki Murakami's longer fiction is amazing. :) It is smooth, full of great ideas, magical without being pretentious. And especially for it being closer to a mainstream book than a fantasy, I was worried it was going to wind up being something like a David Mitchell book.

But no. I thought it was a great pleasure to read from the first page to the last.

So, yeah, the great bits and great ideas abound. It's not just an easy and fun read, it's about a fantastic female assassin revenging abused women, it's about literary fraud, it's about slipping between dimensions and dealing with the Little People, Air Chrystali, religious cults, Receivers and Perceivers, and best of all, it's about a love that transcends time.

Sound great? It is great. I never once got bored.

It's a near-perfect blend of reality in Japan in 1984, sometimes altered in dimension, and a fantastic shout-out to old SF, modern magical realism, and epic transcendental love. :) Totally recommend. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Blech. I was going to give it one star, but the ending was kind of sweet. Not without some pretty deep flaws, mind you--one of the few thoughts that was exchanged upon the lovers' long-awaited reunion was Aomame's concern that Tengo would not be pleased with her small, uneven breasts on what was otherwise--often--described as her flawless body. Not "oh, I used to be a paid assassin," not "yikes, so I escaped from a religious cult during my childhood and I haven't seen my family in decades." But the ending felt sweet, and I can appreciate its sweetness.

At first I thought Mr. Murakami was a run-of-the-mill misogynist, as the most comprehensive descriptions of the women in this novel mostly concern the size/asymmetry of their breasts and dearth or surplus of pubic hair. As the novel wore on, though, I couldn't say the men, especially Tengo, were developed in any meaningful way either. This novel has a lot of "why" problems: why are the characters acting this way, why was this book written, and, finally, why am I reading this. My friend Shak provided an answer only to the latter: Know thine enemy. So now I can complain about him.

The worst offense to me was that, in a book of this heft, I expect the author to sink into some really beautiful prose. You have the room, you have the audience--no excuses. But that was just not the case here. Overwhelmingly, the prose is broad descriptions of events as they unfold, and any insight the reader gets into a character's psyche is flat and pretty superficial. This is the only Murakami I've ever read, but from talking to his more faithful readers, this more utilitarian approach to writing is emblematic of his works. This book was a disappointment, and I do not anticipate picking up another of his in the near future, though I've heard "Kafka on the Shore" is better. ( )
  jostie13 | May 14, 2020 |
Before diving into a brick of a book like this, I was expecting the usual sweeping timelines, huge casts of characters, multiple plot threads, etc that one would find in "mega novels". Something like a Neal Stephenson or Stephen King. But this was not my first dive into the wonderfully weird world of Murakami. So I did not know what ot expect but I knew not to expect the same old same old brick of a book the writer will tell you all the things ever kinda of a deal. It is long. You will be told many things but in a different way than you have ever experienced from a long tome.

To the contrary, while epic in size, Murakami has created a very concise story with two alternating main protagonists that takes place over a relatively short time frame. That he is able to hold interest and patience to slog through 1100 pages of this is testament enough to the author's gifts. That it shot up to the top of my favorite Murakami books makes it more than worth the read.

It has got that slightly off, weird vibe one would come to expect from the author... off handed one liners... THE MOON BASE... and the language is as beautiful as ever, I would even say subdued (in the best way possible). There are too many beautiful metaphors packed in here to even begin to count, and the prose and descriptions will quickly absorb you into this world that is like our own, but mysteriously not. The way Murakami brings them together too just just stunningly beautiful and odd and unique and well just so Murakami! ( )
  modioperandi | May 12, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
Murakami name-drops George Orwell's laugh-riot 1984 several times. Both books deal with the concept of manipulated realities. And while Murakami's book is more than three times as long, it's also more fun to read.
added by WeeklyAlibi | editWeekly Alibi, John Bear (Jan 26, 2012)
 
As always, the experience is a bit like watching a Hollywood-influenced Japanese movie in a version that’s been dubbed by American actors. This time, sad to say, it also reminded me of stretches of the second season of Twin Peaks: familiar characters do familiar things, with the expected measure of weirdness, but David Lynch has squabbled with the network and left the show.
 
I finished 1Q84 feeling that its spiritual project was heroic and beautiful, that its central conflict involved a pitched battle between realism and unrealism (while being scrupulously fair to both sides), and that, in our own somewhat unreal times, younger readers, unlike me, would have no trouble at all believing in the existence of Little People and replicants. What they may have trouble with is the novel’s absolute faith in the transformative power of love.
 
One of the many longueurs in Haruki Murakami’s stupefying new novel, “1Q84,” sends the book’s heroine, a slender assassin named Aomame, into hiding. To sustain her through this period of isolation she is given an apartment, groceries and the entirety of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.”

For pity’s sake, if you have that kind of spare time, follow her lead. Aomame has the chance to read a book that is long and demanding but well worth the effort. The very thought of Aomame’s situation will pain anyone stuck in the quicksand of “1Q84.” You, sucker, will wade through nearly 1,000 uneventful pages while discovering a Tokyo that has two moons and is controlled by creatures that emerge from the mouth of a dead goat. These creatures are called Little People. They are supposed to be very wise, even though the smartest thing they ever say is “Ho ho.”
 
1Q84 is psychologically unconvincing and morally unsavory, full of lacunas and loose ends, stuffed to the gills with everything but the kitchen sink and a coherent story. By every standard metric, it is gravely flawed. But, I admit, standard metrics are difficult to apply to Murakami. It's tempting to write that out of five stars, I'd give this book two moons.
 

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, MetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It's a Barnum and Bailey world,
just as phoney as it can be,
But it wouldn't be make-believe
if you believed in me

"It's Only a Paper Moon,"
~~ Billy Rose and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg
Dedication
First words
The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast.
Quotations
I'm taking you straight to bald heaven, nonstop.
Don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality.
Please remember: things are not what they seem.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the smell of evil
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is those works (sets, single-volume editions) containing the complete text of 1Q84. Please do not combine with any single volumes from multi-book versions.
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
Haiku summary
Assassin, cult, love,
two moons over Tokyo.
"Not all wounds gush blood".
(Jenni_Canuck)

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