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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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1Q84 (edition 2011)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator), Philip Gabriel (Translator)

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2632191,164 (3.83)3 / 656
Member:xrob
Title:1Q84
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator), Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Info:Knopf (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 944 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:read

Work details

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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English (202)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  Greek (1)  German (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
Unlike 1984, which is a bad good book, this book is a good bad book. Also unlike 1984, it is a fantasy that is brain candy without much point. There is no question that Murakami is an artist (unlike Orwell, who was so passionate about an idea that his terminology survives despite his lack of style). For example, take this description of the heroine's frown:

"Whenever something caused her to frown or grimace, however, her features underwent dramatic changes. The muscles of her face tightened, pulling in several directions at once and emphasizing the lack of symmetry in the overall structure. Deep wrinkles formed in her skin, her eyes suddenly drew inward, her nose and mouth became violently distorted, her jaw twisted to the side, and her lips curled back, exposing Aomame's large white teeth. Instantly, she became a wholly different person, as if a cord had broken, dropping the mask that normally covered her face. The shocking transformation terrified anyone who saw it, so she was careful never to frown in the presence of a stranger. She would contort her face only when she was alone or when she was threatening a man who displeased her."

Now, that is a frown that tells you loads about the heroine, who means business, even though her name means green bean. And while some people have no patience for that kind of description, the rest of us love it, which is why Murakami is a best selling author in Japan.

What fascinates me with this book is the constant Western references -- typical Asian books do not have this, so it is interesting that a Japanese author who was so heavily influenced by the West is such a big seller in Japan. I even think the ending draws largely from a famous children's book. Throughout the book I kept wondering how much of the Western feel was from the translation, verses from the author, so I loved that the audio version includes translator interviews.

And while I am talking about the audio, I must say that the narrators were wonderful.

Frankly, I liked the book. But the US publisher made two HUGE mistakes. First, I hated the graphic love scenes. Was it because I was listening to the book that it felt like erotica? If I had been reading, I would have just thumbed through to get back to the story, except that it eventually became a part of the story. That aspect almost ruined the book for me -- I almost quit reading -- so I warn you not to read the book if graphic sex scenes bother you in the least. The US publishers should have diluted this, or at least warned us about it. I say this with assurance that I am usually not the least frumpy about this sort of thing and have never complained about it in a book review before.

The second mistake was that this book should have been published in series, instead of all together, just like it was in Japan. Americans have too much else to do to read such a thick book, and are more used to the series publishing now anyway. The thickness of the book turns off even the most ardent reader and makes it hard to digest the story.

So, that leaves the "Little People" verses "Big Brother" [1984]. Murakami really could have done something with that brilliant idea. What an imagination to come up with something that truly does contrast so well with the Big Brother idea. Of course, I think current days have more to do with Little People than the true year 1984 did -- with the internet I believe we are in a "Little People" age. But even in 1984 there were little people cults that were controlling, so it still could have worked. But he doesn't really develop the idea, so don't expect it, even though the book occasionally evokes 1984, making you expect some kind of dystopian diatribe. In the end, it's just a big little fantasy that has an enticing heroine and hero, who have a problem that needs solving, in a world of two moons that the little people control. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Nothing short of a masterpiece. I find myself thinking and perhaps even acting like some of the characters in the book sometimes. How's that for being influential writer? ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I have just spent the last three weeks working my way through the eagerly anticipated English translation of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. The English translation of this best selling novel includes all three parts of the novels that were originally published separately in Japan. The chapters alternate between two characters, Aomame and Tengo, for the first two books. In book three the chapters follow three characters, Aomame, Tengo, and Ushikawa.

Set in 1984, or the alternate reality of 1Q84 (the Q stands for "question mark"), the novel is science fiction but mostly a story about two people who are drawn into an alternate reality and, eventually, begin searching for each other. Aomame is a physical trainer and assassin. Tengo is a math teacher and writer. Aomame enters the alternate reality while on her way to a planned assassination. Tengo enters it after he accepts the assignment of rewriting Air Chrysalis, the debut novel of a young writer. At the beginning, the stories of Aomame and Tengo are separate. About halfway through the novel we learn of their connection and the stories begin to join together.

1Q84 explores the nature of reality - how one's perspective can alter reality and how events are viewed. What is reality for you may not be for someone else. We may all be living in parallel universes, pursuing personal meaning in our own lives. It also explores fate, powerlessness, fringe religious groups, free will, domestic violence, and vengeance.

I'll admit, at the conclusion, to mixed feelings about 1Q84. With the entire prepublication buzz surrounding 1Q84, I was looking forward to an alternate reality science fiction novel. While it fits that description, it also is filled to a much greater extent with the trivialities of everyday life in the alternate reality, and those mundane activities are very much the same activities we would all encounter. There were tantalizing bits of surreal information disclosed and then pages of the banal activities of the everyday life of the characters.

While I read all 900 pages during some very busy weeks, it soon became clear that 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is not really that com­plex, but it is a very long novel. Some of my feelings that it is excessively lengthy could be because it was originally published as three novels in Japan but one very large novel here. That makes it feel like there is a lot of repetition of information and descriptions that feels unnecessary when the three books are published as one novel.

In the end I liked 1Q84, but it is not the novel of the year that I was looking forward to reading.
Highly Recommended - when you have the time and patience to tackle it. http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Interminable. ( )
  seitherin | Mar 2, 2016 |
This is my first Murakami. I will definitely read more of his work.
I preferred Books 2 & 3 to Book 1. Part of that is that trying to get into the weird world took some time for me but once it was established in Book 1 the others really progressed the story. ( )
  Jennie.Cole | Feb 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (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)
 
1Q84 is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy fiction set in fantasy worlds with a deep love story that brings up the questions of fate and pure, true love.
added by alluvia | editExaminer.com, Kristin Wilson (Jan 14, 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.”
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, MetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
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.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
Go down the stairway
The world is not quite the same
Two moons in the sky
(jannes)
Assassin, cult, love,
two moons over Tokyo.
"Not all wounds gush blood".
(Jenni_Canuck)
Q-teen eighty-four,
Two moons o’er Aomame,
Weird Little People.

With Fuka-Eri,
Authoring Air Chrysalis,
Takes two to Tengo.

(PoetVictoria)
First cross the highway
You'll see two moons in the sky
Pretty normal there
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307593312, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: The year is 1984, but not for long. Aomame, on her way to meet a client--the gravid implications of which only come clear later--sits in a taxi, stuck in traffic. On a lark, she takes the driver's advice, bolts from the cab, walks onto the elevated Tokyo expressway, descends an emergency ladder to the street below, and enters a strange new world.

In parallel, a math teacher and aspiring novelist named Tengo gets an interesting offer. His editor has come upon an entry for a young writer's literary prize, a story that, despite its obvious stylistic drawbacks, strikes a deeply moving chord with those who've read it. Its author is a mysterious 17-year-old, and the editor proposes that Tengo quietly rewrite the story for the final round of the competition.

So begins Haruki Murakami's magnus opus, an epic of staggering proportions. As the tale progresses, it folds in a deliciously intriguing cast of characters: a physically repulsive private investigator, a wealthy dowager with a morally ambiguous mission, her impeccably resourceful bodyguard, the leader of a somewhat obscure and possibly violent religious organization, a band of otherworldly "Little People," a door-to-door fee collector seemingly immune to the limits of space and time, and the beautiful Fuka-Eri: dyslexic, unfathomable, and scarred.

Aomame names her new world "1Q84" in honor of its mystery: "Q is for 'question mark.' A world that bears a question.'" Weaving through it, central motifs--the moon, Janáček's Sinfonietta, George Orwell's 1984--acquire powerful resonance, and Aomame and Tengo's paths take on a conjoined life of their own, dancing with a protracted elegance that requires nearly 1,000 pages to reach its crowning denouement.

1Q84 was a runaway best seller in its native Japan, but it's more instructive to frame the book's importance in other ways. For one, it's hard not to compare it to James Joyce's Ulysses. Both enormous novels mark their respective author's most ambitious undertaking by far, occupy an artificially discrete unit of time (Ulysses, one day; 1Q84, one year), and can be read as having a narrative structure that evinces an almost quantum-mechanical relationship to reality, which is not to say that either author intended this.

More to the point, the English translation of 1Q84--easily the grandest work of world literature since Roberto Bolaño's 2666--represents a monstrous literary event. Now would somebody please award Murakami his Nobel Prize? --Jason Kirk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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