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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 (edition 2011)

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

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1092151,226 (3.82)3 / 644
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator), Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Info:Knopf (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 944 pages
Collections:Your library

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


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English (199)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  Greek (1)  German (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
Whatever topic he's addressing, Murakami is an excellent writer - one of those that it's just a pleasure to read, no matter what the content is. Still, I was delighted to hear that his latest could be described as 'fantasy,' since, well, I love fantasy.

Originally, the book was published in 3 volumes. I'm glad that the English publisher didn't opt for that route (even though the book was heavy), as it's definitely one continuous work.

An aspect of Murakami's work that I have ambiguous feelings about is that his creations are... "floaty." I really enjoy the dreamlike quality of his scenarios, but sometimes I wish his characters were more concrete. This aspect to his writing is very appropriate to the premise of 1Q84, where the main individuals, the sports instructor/hit woman Aomame, and the math instructor/novelist Tengo mysteriously find themselves in an alternate reality where there are two moons in the sky. It highlights the bizarre, surreal nature of their experiences, where fantastic elements from an odd teenager's novel turn out to be true, and an enigmatic cult offers threats...
Perhaps it is only possible because Tengo and Aomame are themselves both odd, isolated individuals, but I couldn't help sometimes feeling that the surreal nature of the fantastic events would be thrown into sharper relief if the characters themselves were initially more rooted in our reality.

The events of the novel are not fast-moving, but they hold the reader's interest. It's wise, however, to read it as an immersive experience, not a goal-oriented one. Don't expect any of your questions to be answered. Regardless of the lack of explanations, I did find the end satisfying. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I love Haruki Murakami's 1Q84.

To paraphrase the blurb: a love story, a fantasy, and a mystery -- all rolled into a dreamy world. In the book, Tengo is a writer asked to rewrite a fantasy manuscript for an enigmatic girl. Aomame is a fitness instructor with special skills asked to do an unusual job. Their lonely paths intertwine in this surreal world, both searching for something they yearn for. Oh, and there's a dangerous religious cult.

Like Aomame, who can't quite explain the world of 1Q84, I can't fully articulate why I dig the book. But I shall try:

The story is imaginative. Weird. In this strange universe, everything seems the same, but the details are off just enough to throw you off balance. There is no formulaic plot with just the characters and the settings changed.

The characters are unique and deeply carved. Murakami tells you a lot of backstories about how they grow up, what they like, how they act, etc. By the end, I really knew the two main characters, liked them, and rooted for them.

My favorite is Fuka-Eri because she's odd, so devoid of normal emotions that she seems inhuman. Nevertheless, she emerges likeable, even endearing. It's amusing how she asks questions without a question mark, as if she's making a statement. I wish there were more stuff about her.

I like the central mystery. Suspense is a powerful motivator in reading. Once I got intrigued by the mystery, I was eager to find out more.

I like the clean, efficient prose. Easy to read. The simplicity is fitting, since Japanese aesthetic tends toward minimalism. I read the English translation, but I wonder how the book would read in its original Japanese. A few of the similes were lost on me, but that was understandable since cultural references sometimes get lost in translation.

The vast majority of books are too long. Few are too short. I'm impatient and like to flip to the end of a chapter to see how many pages remain. If the chapter is longer than 20 pages, I groan. Normally I'd groan at reading a book that's 1,100+ pages (I'm prone to groaning), but this book never felt too long. If anything, I was sad at the end because there was no more.

Interesting trivia: The title 1Q84 refers to George Orwell's 1984. "9" in Japanese is pronounced "kyu" like "Q" in English, thus both 1984 and 1Q84 are phonetically the same. ( )
  alexpwu | Feb 6, 2016 |
I don't really know what to say. Partly because it was a 46 hour listen, and the take home lesson here is that it is time to get a notebook and write down some of my thoughts as they come up because unfortunately, they are long gone by the time I get to writing this. The other part of not knowing what to say is that it was just a unique novel as far as I am concerned. The narration is the best performance I have ever heard. Period. The "bad guy" Ushigawa (sorry about the spelling, remember, I listened to it) sounded so amazingly bad, he made my flesh creep. Early on I remember thinking that the author often repeated himself, but I learned from a book editor friend that it is typical of Japanese culture? I didn't notice it as much after a while. I have avoided reading a lot of the reviews because I know I barely scratch the surface of understanding some of the underlying things and I didn't want to um, cheat per se. So I am looking forward to reading them now. I hope it wasn't truly meant to be fully understood...I don't ever remember waiting so long for two people to be reunited though.... ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
Beautifully written. ( )
  Irena. | Jan 28, 2016 |
Ten year old kids fall in love for life and bump into each others' reality 20 years later in the midst of an improbably incredible alternate world filled with extra moons, disappearing prodigies and the suggestion of alien creatures. This tome can seem overly repetitious, but I think all the detail and repetition help us see these folks as real in an unreal world. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 199 (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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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
First words
The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast.
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
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
Assassin, cult, love,
two moons over Tokyo.
"Not all wounds gush blood".
Q-teen eighty-four,
Two moons o’er Aomame,
Weird Little People.

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


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 7 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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