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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 (edition 2012)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,6721971,434 (3.8)3 / 618
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel
Info:London : Harvill Secker, 2012.
Collections:borrowed, Read but unowned, reviewed, fiction
Tags:fiction, translated, Japanese, read as two volumes, 12 in 12

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Recently added byrashkae, private library, MelodicSoul, aka_no_joou, ruinedmap, bwa32, sequing

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English (182)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  Greek (1)  German (1)  All languages (196)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
Random thoughts upon finishing Haruki Murakami's opus 1Q84:

* Prepare to enter a quantum world where characters are like entangled particles and the rules are inscrutable. Reality is shot through with wormholes. Life folds back on itself like an MC Escher drawing.

* Heavy dose of noir. Never a bad thing in my mind.

* Murakami does vague existential dread like no one else since David Lynch.

* One character opines on attempting to read the entirety of Proust's remembrance that time seems to eddy back and forth in the books, and that the story seems to swirl around its points rather than stating them outright. This is seen as a good thing. I think it's key to the experience of reading this--you have to commit to some meandering. You have to commit to an experience. In that sense, it's Joycean.

* This is a deeply moving book that touches on an amazing swath of the modern world. But it is like a watercolor painting--you have to be willing to enjoy the textures and colors and be able to recognize that shapes seep together and not everything is going to be rendered literally.

* Read the lyrics to "Paper Moon" before starting. I waited till the end but wish I'd looked it up immediately upon reading the inscription. Also, listen to the central musical piece when it comes up in the book. I wasn't familiar with it, and the sound would help a lot in imagining the world of the book.

* 1Q84 contains in my memory the single most ... impactful moment I can recall reading. I usually dislike the word "impactful," but I can't think of a synonym for the experience. It is horrifying and beautiful and otherworldly. Thankfully it's not as violent or gory as some of his others, but I think he makes up for it in poignancy. Still, some of the images are unsettling in their mystery and psychological resonance.

* A lot of it is a joke. Dark humor, sure, but still a joke.

* Fewer cats (actual cats, at least) (I've started looking forward to the cats in Murakami's books), roughly the same amount of music, a bit less food.

* This is a great love story. See the "Paper Moon" thought above.

* The connection to the original 1984 is one of the most inscrutable and unsettling points of this book, and I think it's incredibly effective that it is so. Better than perhaps anything else I've read, it puts you in the mindset of questioning everything around you, which seems to be a major part of what Orwell was driving at. The fact that it's incredibly hard to decipher political intents only makes that all the more true. And ultimately, human love and compassion are the only certain antidote.

* I deeply wish I could read this in Japanese. It's so clear that a huge amount of the nuance could never be translated, right down to the title. I found a nice post that outlines some of the challenges of translating Murakami. The writing here doesn't feel as good to me in writerly terms as the others I've read, but of course it's very hard to tell how much of it is deliberate. Given the obvious noir-ish characteristics of the book, perhaps some of it is intentionally choppy on Murakami's part; I tend to think so. Sadly, I won't ever know, likely. But you're also constantly reminded by how many Western references the Japanese characters know and employ in their thinking, and you begin to think they may understand us as well as or better than we ourselves do. Interesting.

* Definitely going up in the "important books" category in my mind.
( )
1 vote wreichard | Apr 24, 2015 |
It wasn't a bad book, it was just a book that believed too much in itself. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
I rarely give such high rating to contemporary literature, but this novel truly is amazing. This is the first Haruki Murakami's novel I have read and I have found the author to be immensely intelligent, unceasingly imaginative and his 'voice' genuinely captivates and interests me as a reader. I LOVE how descriptive, detailed and elevated Haruki Murakami's style is! Firstly, what I love about this novel is its language, change in narrators and points of view. Secondly, the plot of the story, which has all the things I could possibly love in a novel - mystery, history, faith, religion, romance, fate, morality and diferent views of morality. And finally, the lenght of novel gave me a chance to be a part of characters' lives for a longer time. ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
I have long since lost all perspective on Murakami books. Once you have read about three or four, you have essentially read them all. However, that is not such a bad thing and does not mean you should not read the rest of his books. It is akin to watching a familiar TV series: not all episodes are going to be a hit, but you know the characters and the plot and you just want to hang out in their world for a bit. Similarly, nowadays, I read Murakamis more for the feeling of pervasive loneliness it evokes (and the scenes of spaghetti cooking, which, spoiler alert, do not feature here - but the book makes up for it with other food preparation scenes).

I enjoyed the detailed minutiae of the characters' lives, what they are eating for breakfast, how they prepare their meals, how they pack their bags, etc, even if - or is it especially because? - the events do not affect or propel the main storyline in any way. The novel is definitely not a page-turner, I could put down the book at any point and not feel the need to find out what happened next - I suppose it is because I never just had to know if they put mayonnaise on their cucumbers, but it was interesting nonetheless

I liked the characters for selfish reasons - Tengo is a mathematician who spurns academia/research to teach at a cram school just enough to pursue his hobby of writing (I have yet to spurn and read instead of write), Aomame is fitness expert who is also a subtle-murder expert (I just like women in non-conventional roles) and Ushikawa is the best of them all. I would read/watch a spin-off of Ushikawa investigations where he laments his looks, reminisces about his pasts - I really want to know how he was married despite his self-admitted repulsiveness -, lies and be methodical and unerring in his detecting instincts - and maybe occasionally cooperates with Tamaru to work on some particularly challenging case.

The novel's weakness comes in the form of the central but backgrounded love story between Tengo and Aomame. I did not care at all. All the build up to the denouement just made me hope that they will never meet, or one of them sees the other getting killed just before they could meet, or other sadistically tearjerker tear-the-lovers-apart scenarios which of course did not happen but would make the story much better. (half star off) The novel's treatment of underage rape was disappointing, originally depicted as a completely heinous crime which it is, but then handwaved away as but the girls were not ~really~ the girls amongst other handwaves. I am all for twists but the merits for the twist here is far outweighed by the demerits of the set up. (one star off)

Recommended: if you have read and enjoyed other Murakami books for the way they make you feel but are not expecting an original work nor a new favourite. ( )
  kitzyl | Mar 16, 2015 |

I took a couple of long breaks away from reading this one. I’m sure this made for a better reading experience. ( )
  e-b | Mar 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (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
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:08 -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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