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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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1Q84 (edition 2012)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3321761,632 (3.8)3 / 582
Member:calm
Title:1Q84
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel
Info:London : Harvill Secker, 2012.
Collections:borrowed, Read but unowned, reviewed, fiction
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, translated, Japanese, read as two volumes, 12 in 12

Work details

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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English (162)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
Well, I read the whole 925 pages. It's difficult to categorize this kitten-crusher as it touches on elements of dystopia, paranormal, intrigue, crime, romance - the list goes on. The main thread is limited to only a handful of characters. There are glimpses of some good writing, or was it good translation. Many things are left unexplained such as the wisdom of the Little People. Murikami also seems to have some unusual sexual fixations in this work, some of which don't really fit into the story line other than to add perhaps a touch of attempted eroticism.

I have to admit that I wasn't tempted to put the book down and walk away, (only to rest my arms - read it on a Kindle if you must) but I did read it for a library book discussion group and was partially motivated by that responsibility. It was, overall, an interesting book, and I am a bit partial to foreign writers because of their often unique perspective on the world. An excellent translation erased much of that and left me with - well, a big book. 3-stars ( )
  mldavis2 | Aug 20, 2014 |
1Q84 is an immersive, and amazingly fleshed-out dystopian world set in 1984, paying homage to George Orwell's eponymous novel.

The plot centers around two characters: Aomame and Tengo. To put it simply, Aomame and Tengo are two vastly different characters inexplicably drawn to one another. Murakami weaves a complex web of stories, adding several supporting characters that add flavor to the story. Murakami spares no expense with his words in the 1000 page meganovel; developing both his characters and the world they live in.

Generally, the book moves along at a brisk pace, and had me hooked right from the first 2 chapters. In Its difficult to pinpoint exactly what drew me in, but if I had to take a guess is because of the author's ability to create characters that so distinct and unique that they deserve a book on their own. For the sake of keeping the review spoiler-free, take Chapter 1 for example. It starts of with Aomame talking to the cab driver whilst stuck in a traffic jam. In 20 pages, Murakami managed to set up both a compelling premise and interesting characters. It is a shame that we never get to see the cab driver in the story again.

The book is split into 3 volumes. Volume 1 & 2 were great, with 2 being the strongest third. However, at Volume 3, readers would expect the plot to be winding down and coming to a close. However, Murakami instead chooses to bloat his novel by rehashing old plot lines and introducing redundant ones. Especially in the final third of the book, Murakami gets a little over-zealous with his descriptions, resulting in occasional groans having to plow through a plot moving at a snail's pace. Adding to this grievance is that he even repeats phrases and paragraphs to remind readers what happened in the book 300 pages earlier.

Why I still gave this book 4-stars is because my problems would have been mitigated if I had more time on my hands, and a glass half-full view of it is that Murakami adds even more texture to his beautifully 3-dimensional world. As such, even the more fantastical elements of the book feel believable. In conclusion, I definitely recommend this book if you have time on your hands. Get comfortable and lose yourself in the world of 1Q84, where there are two moons in the sky, twin forms of yourself and Little People exists.

TL;DR Great book, better if you have time on your hands to really immerse yourself in the world and willing to sit through a couple of boring bits.

( )
  AlanYuen | Aug 17, 2014 |
Haruki Murakami is an important writer, and 1Q84 is an amazing and wonderful story. But I must warn readers there are about a half-dozen explicit scenes, which account for about a dozen or so pages of 925 but are easy to spot and skip. But one such scene has important implications for the plot. In part one and two of the novel, the chapters alternate between two characters.

Tengo is a 30 year-old-man who is a math prodigy and teaches at a cram school for students preparing for college. He is a “gentle giant” figure and liked, loved, and respected by everyone he meets. He pines for a woman he loved and lost. He also works for a literary magazine. While examining manuscripts submitted for an important literary prize for new authors, he comes across a wonderful story titled Air Chrysalis. The manuscript purported to be written by a 17 year-old high school girl, Fuka-Eri, but it is full of errors and omissions, and it lacks clarity and organization. Something about the story enchants Tengo, and he takes it to his editor. Together, they decide to re-write the story to make it a prize winner. Tengo is reluctant. He recognizes the plan amounts to fraud. He agrees to meet the peculiar young lady and her guardian. They okay the plan, but Tengo says he will adhere to the voice of Fuka-Eri. He rewrites the story, it wins the prize, and quickly becomes a best seller.

Aomame is a 30 year-old woman who has a black belt in Karate, and works as a fitness coach and a physical therapist. She lives alone, and dreams about a man she loved who is no longer in her life. Aomame lost her best friend when she committed suicide as a result of a seriously dangerous husband who constantly physically abused her. Aomame takes matters into her own hands and kills the husband. She escapes cleanly, and, because of her skills in physical therapy, the death appeared to result from a heart attack. Aomame partners with a woman who lost a daughter to spouse abuse, and she runs a home for abused women and children. When one of the husbands shows up and attempts to cause trouble, Aomame takes care of him. Aomame carries out her last murder of a powerful figure, and she is in hiding awaiting plastic surgery and escape to a place far away.

In Part 3, a private investigator – a most unpleasant man by all and every measure – is hired by the dead man’s family to find Aomame. They know who she is, but she has completely disappeared. Ushigawa begins alternating chapters with Tengo and Aomame.

When Tengo was ten, he was teased by students, and had no friends. Aomame was peculiar, and she also had no friends. One day, Tengo was crying, and Aomame held his hand tightly for a few minutes. Neither spoke a word. She left the classroom, and he never saw her again. 20 years later, he begins searching for her. Aomame has not forgotten Tengo either, but she is in hiding and cannot risk leaving the safe house to look for him. The lives of these three people are closely intertwined in ways none of them fully comprehend.

Murakami has an amazing style. His attention to detail can sometimes put off a reader, but the devil is in the details, as they say, and I have a clear and full picture of these characters and their habits. He also uses frequent references to music and literature. My recent review of In Praise of Shadows by Tanizaki stemmed from this novel. I have two other intriguing books on my shelf, which I hope will enlighten me as much as Shadows did.

Murakami’s 1Q84 is long, but it as an amazing story. I was never bored, never had a moment of hesitation in turning to the next page. I have admired this author for a long time, and any serious reader who enjoys a complicated story and the patience to make it all the way thorough the novel will agree. 5 stars

--Jim, 8/7/14 ( )
  rmckeown | Aug 9, 2014 |
Probably the longest book that I've read this year, but entertaining and different, though somewhat repetitive.
  Musefall | Jul 29, 2014 |
The fates of a schoolgirl, an ethical assassin and a math teacher who moonlights as a writer are revealed to be deeply entwined in this deeply engaging fantastical tale. ( )
  kivarson | Jul 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (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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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
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
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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)

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 6 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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