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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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1Q84 (edition 2011)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2291681,717 (3.8)3 / 562
Member:Poprockz
Title:1Q84
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator)
Info:Bond Street Books (2011), Hardcover, 944 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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English (157)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
This book was so long and so strange that I’m not even sure where to start telling you what it was about, but I’ll do my best. The story involves two main characters and we alternate between their view points. Aomame is an assassin and Tengo is a writer. As the story progresses, they get pulled closer and closer together by events that initially seemed unrelated but which turn out to have a deep connection. The book involves questions of destiny and pre-determination, parallel worlds and some surprising magical elements.

Like my summary above, the synopsis I read before starting 1Q84 told me what the story was about but gave me no idea what the story was going to be like. I think the best genres labels to describe the book are “literary” and “magical realism”. The writing reminded me of both Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. Like Ray Bradbuy, Murakami shares strange and incredible things as though they’re normal. He also matches Bradbury’s ability to craft sentences so beautiful I just want to read them out loud. Like King, I felt a build up of a suspense through the many mundane details, a certainty that something wasn’t quite right below the surface. Since I like both King and Bradbury, I consider this high praise and well deserved. The writing was superb.

Although I can’t disagree with those who say 1Q84 was longer than it needed to be, I think I liked that about it. I loved the quotes from other stories that seem like the author’s way of telling you something about his story. I loved the beautiful descriptions of people and places and feelings, the incredibly apt analogies. I loved the way everything was interconnected. I loved the way hearing the most intimate thoughts and dreams and memories of the characters gives you a much deeper connection than you can usually get with fictional characters. And I loved that all the characters were so unique. What prevented this from being a five star review for me was the abruptness of the ending. There’s a lot of build up to one particular event, which passed by too quickly and left me with the feeling that this already-long novel still needed a sequel. I have, however, read several reviews that suggest this is not one of Murakami’s best works, so I’ll definitely be looking to read more by this author.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
Genuinely enjoyed this story. Went back and forth between an excellent Audible reading and the Kindle edition (LOVE Whispersync). Characters were interesting and language was lyrical. Story kept me guessing. A few strands left loose at the end, but ultimately satisfying. ( )
  Anraku | Jun 12, 2014 |
The prose is excellent, and from time to time, something interesting occurs. I think I could have selected roughly every 40th sentence and obtained the same book, and saved myself many painful hours of tedious detail that did not reward me with relevant additions to the plot. Punishing. ( )
  hemens | Jun 11, 2014 |
After 1318 pages I must say that this fills my Murakami quota for the year. A compelling book, extraordinary in many ways, but perhaps needed a bit editing. I don't want to say a book is too long because I love thick books, but this just was. Too long. And the story was too slow for the length. Nothing really happens most of the time, and even though the set up is pretty amazing, a parallel world with two moons, Little people and distant pregnancies, NOTHING HAPPENS.
The first book moved on at regular speed, but then the story slowed down like a clock that needed winding, and when it got to the end I really was a little disappointed. For over 1000 pages we waited while everyone basically just sat at home by themselves. And when we got through that, there were about 50 pages left. And then it just ended. Happily. Wait, what? ( )
  Iira | Jun 1, 2014 |
This is an inordinately long novel, too long in my opinion. Length itself, however, is perhaps a riff on a theme, that of the world of the novel, one that is very difficult for the writer of the novel to leave once he or she has created it. For 1Q84 (the other side of the coin of the year 1984 for the female protagonist Aomane) & the Cat Town (the other side of the coin of the place for the male protagonist Tengo) are time & setting for that alternate reality that is The Story. In sum, this is a love story, a two-sided quest on the part of Aomane & Tengo, two lonely children who have a brief but intense encounter at the age of 10 and who, at the age of 30, set off in search of each other. Murakami's is not a particularly surprising take on the idea of the Soul Mate, that Other who defies the existential by being Self & Other all rolled into one, just as the maza and dohta referred to in the novel will become maker & made, parent & child, perceiver & receiver (I presume writer & reader as well) when Tengo & Aomane finally (re)unite. There is much here that brings to mind previous novels, particularly Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. There is that slippage between worlds that is signature Murakami. That said, I was alternately intrigued and bored throughout. Intrigued enough to read all 924 pages, bored enough to wish he had cut out a couple hundred of those pages. In many ways, features of Murakami's flip-side world, 1Q84, are simply too trite or clichéd to be interesting (unless the author meant these as parody, which I prefer to believe is likely): it's a world with 2 moons (ho hum), Little People who come out of the mouths of sleepers & corpses to grow from a few inches to a few feet & who wield extraordinary powers (you've got to be kidding!), a Leader who hears the Voice, etc. etc. Even if seen as parody, they don't work for me. Where parody does work well in the novel is in Murakami's depiction of the character I found most compelling & even sympathetic, the anti-anti-hero Ushikawa. He's a physically deformed (self-acknowledged as repulsive & creepy) Private Eye. He has some of the attributes of a classic Noir detective: he smokes incessantly, for example, but there are no gorgeous women in his past nor future (simply a standard middle class family, irretrievably lost to him), no glamor. Ushikawa's forte is surveillance, which, along with domestic violence & other manifestations of sexual violence, is another overriding theme of the novel. In fact, everything that happens seems to take place as part of an enormous feedback loop: watchers are watched, writers are being written while writing, entrances are exits depending on direction of approach, etc. Murakami is a cultural scavenger, a trait quite necessary to a novelist, particularly one who writes big books. One scene late in the novel, one of torture & inquisition, wherein the impeccable "professional" bodyguard Tamaru intercepts the almost as professional information-gatherer Ushikara, quotes, in style & tone, if not setting or substance, a scene from Quentin Tarantino's movie Pulp Fiction. In Murakami's version, the torturer, Tamaru, discourses on Carl Jung's hand-built house on a lake in Switzerland, with its inscription carved into stone at the entrance: "Cold or Not, God is Present." A weighty statement that would seem to imply some profound idea about human existence, but which, in the context of the novel, remains superficial, which, actually, is all to the good.

( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (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
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Important events
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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.
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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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