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1Q84

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,173300963 (3.83)3 / 728
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.
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English (286)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Greek (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  All languages (300)
Showing 1-5 of 286 (next | show all)
This might be Murakami's best book, but not my favorite one since that honor goes to Sputnik Sweetheart, for personal reasons. Still in an objective sense I think this is his best written and best planned book. It's extremely impressive to be able to juggle so many characters and plotlines in such a long book without getting confusing, repetitive, or boring.
I was pretty put off by the long length so this book has haunted my shelf for about three years. But when I started reading it it moved really fast and it didn't have the ambiguities like Wind Up Bird or Kafka (or even Sputnik). Obviously it deals with similar themes, parallel universes, parallel selves, cats, etc., but this seemed like something where a trajectory had been carefully planned out as opposed to the other ones which had lots of loose ends and seemed like they were written hastily and without editing. The alternating chapters format worked a lot better here than it did for Kafka on the Shore too. It was an interesting slow-burn action which wouldn't work in any other medium except maybe film noir, cuz of the copious amounts of dramatic irony. On top of that genre, Murakami uses dramatic irony in romcom ways too, and I definitely felt a lot more feelings about these characters than I did for any romcom I've seen.

That was part of why I liked this so much too, the main 2 characters are actually likeable people. The male protagonist isn't creepy, and the female protagonist is actually well-rounded instead of being a "shaman for men". All the other female characters of course did have that failing, which pissed me off. Murakami said, "Aside from that, women serve as mediums (shamans) in my stories. They guide us to dreamlike things, or to the other world. Perhaps this corresponds to something within my own psyche." and that sums up a lot of my issues with this novel. That and the treatment of the queer women was pretty shitty... though Aomame is absolutely a bicon. Also there was wayyy less weird sex than the other novels, despite this one being much longer than some.

Anyway, en somme, this is probably where newcomers to Murakami should start. Despite the intimidating length, it's a lot more straightforward and easy to understand than some of the shorter novels, and somehow it doesn't feel as long as it is. ( )
  jooniper | Sep 10, 2021 |
Murakami gets two stars because he got me to continue with this overlong drivel and kept me interested enough to finish it, but it was not painless. I had to go through descriptions of a character named Ushikawa (an ugly man with a misshapen head) at least four times. The sex scenes reminded me of bad fan fiction. And near the end it got very insulting when the author entered his voice explaining to me what the characters do not know and what should have been obvious to any even semi-awake reader. That said, I was actually fascinated by the mundane descriptions of daily routine; teeth-brushing, can-opening, shirt-ironing, and vegetable chopping, that wasn't the worst part of it, not at all.

The New York Times book review podcast gave good advice when it recommended this book only to die-hard Murakami fans and invited the rest of the population to start with some other Murakami title. It will take me a while though, especially when some reviewers claim that this to be the best Murakami book ever.

So what is all the fuss about. The book starts out with the two main characters. A mysterious woman named Aomame (surname). She is a fitness instructor who has developed her own regime of stretching exercise. But we first meet her as she is carrying out a dangerous assignment. This assignment is in fact criminal but she has her own moral justifications for doing it. The second main character is a man called Tengo (first name), a part-time math teacher, and aspiring writer. Who gets to ghost-write a strange piece of fiction, dictated by a dyslexic 17 year old girl. The piece depicts a paranormal world with two moon, powerful little people, who spin air chrysalises. The fantasy world and the real world soon collide and we discover the threads that join Aomame and Tengo together.

What first starts as an exploration of social issues, wanders to become a story about religious fanaticism and cult, with a dash of paranormal and destiny (I personally prefer Stephen King for that). Then it morphs into a plain old love story with badly written sex scenes. Most of the threads that we followed faithfully for the duration of this marathon diminish into nothingness. Murakami enjoys leaving the loose ends out there for everyone to see, just because he can. Or maybe there is more to the story? Oh dear.

My final advice: If you read this book imagine yourself on a long long cruise to nowhere for the time it takes to finish over 900 pages of this book, because at the end you will not be going very far, just enjoy the ride while you can. The cruise has it good moments. ( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
Fantastic book. It is amazing to me how he wrapped most all of the threads up. This had to take some extreme planning during the writing process. The story is slow moving but if you can make it through you will not regret it. I already find myself missing the characters. ( )
  Drunken-Otter | Aug 20, 2021 |
At 925 pages, this is an absolute cat-squisher of a book. I wasn't too worried because I’m a fangirl, and I figured the more, the better, right? Well, yes and no.

1Q84 is at once typical and atypical Haruki Murakami. His usual tropes – ears, cats, jazz records, awkward sex, missing women – all make an appearance, but almost like afterthoughts, as though he suddenly remembered, “Ah yes, I am Haruki Murakami, so at some point my main character must be fascinated by a woman’s ear.â€ù But the story is unusual in that it is, first and foremost, a love story. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, then – very unusual for Murakami – boy finds girl again. Incidentally, love between boy and girl allows their escape from sinister religious group. That’s pretty romantic, in my opinion. He must be going soft in his old age.

Disappointingly, there weren’t many of the truly fantastic episodes that mark his best work, e.g. [b:Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|18115724|Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|Haruki Murakami|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1410778749s/18115724.jpg|2531376]. Murakami is famous for his flat writing style, but 1Q84 is especially sparse. There is so much of the mundane - cooking, exercising, drinking, writing, etc. - that without the flashes of magical realism to break it up, the story would really drag. I don't really understand why the book needs to be this long, but enough niggling questions were raised that I simply had to find out what happens next.

So even though it wasn’t the masterpiece that I hoped for, I did enjoy 1Q84. If you are a newbie, I wouldn’t recommend this to be the first Murakami that you read, but if you are already a fan, I say go for it! ( )
  doryfish | Aug 20, 2021 |
Disappointing. Should have been edited down by 40%. Curious whether the cliche-ridden prose was the way he wrote it or a function of the hurried, multi-hand translation. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 286 (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)
 
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.”
 
1Q84 is psychologically unconvincing and morally unsavory, full of lacunas and loose ends, stuffed to the gills with everything but the kitchen sink and a coherent story. By every standard metric, it is gravely flawed. But, I admit, standard metrics are difficult to apply to Murakami. It's tempting to write that out of five stars, I'd give this book two moons.
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, MetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Assassin, cult, love,
two moons over Tokyo.
"Not all wounds gush blood".
(Jenni_Canuck)

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