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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
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1Q84

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: 1Q84 (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,4612521,183 (3.84)3 / 693
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English (235)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Greek (1)  Chinese, simplified (1)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
My brain is a big thing of mush right now. 1Q84 is a long book, it’s really three books, but this edition (I think all American editions) combine them into one book. This is the first Haruki Murakami book I have read, which everyone seems to oppose saying this isn’t a good introduction to his work and some go as far as to say don’t read it unless you’re really a fan of his, but I’m grown. Don’t tell me how to read. Besides I love George Orwell’s 1984 so it only made sense for me to start here with Haruki Murakami.

I am going to attempt to summarize this mammoth now. The year is 1984, Aomame is on her way to an assignment and is stuck in traffic on the expressway, she leaves her cab and goes down an emergency staircase, she emerges into 1Q84. She is a gym instructor, but also works for the Dowager killing abusive men, without leaving a mark and making it look natural. Our other character is Tengo, he teaches math and writes fiction. Him and Aomame knew each other in school and were in the same class for 2 years, they weren’t friends or even talked but, when they were both 10 Tengo defends Aomame and later she grabs his hand. This even both stuck with them for the next 20 years. Tengo gets involved ghost re-writing a 17 year old girl’s, Fuka-Eri, story about the religious compound (Sakigake) she ran away from. He thinks this is just a story, but it is very real. The Little People control everything and the leader (Fuka-Eri’s father) can hear them. Fuka-Eri’s guardian is using her book as a way to create publicity for the girl and then have her go in hiding to force police to look into Sakigake’s compound to find out about what happened to her parents. Sakigake is upset at the book selling and wants to put a stop to it going after Tengo. Meanwhile, Aomame is assigned to kill the leader of Sakigake because he is raping girls who haven’t had their period and using religion as an excuse to do so. The leader wants her to kill him, he explains why he had sex with those girls and the role of The Little People. He knows about Aomame’s longing for Tengo and tells her Tengo feels the same way, but that they can’t be together, she either has to kill the leader and Tengo lives, but she is hunted by Sakigake, or she lets the leader live and Sakigake continues to go after Tengo. She kills the leader and goes into hiding. The rest of the book is Tengo searching for Aomame, Aomame is in hiding, but also watching for Tengo, and Sakigake closing in on Aomame and understanding how to get to her through Tengo.

There is so much more to the book that my loose summary, but that’s the build up to the end. Like I said it is a long book, but it’s a good book and really gets you interested. I didn’t mind the length of the book until towards the end, the 3rd book is definitely they weakest section, but it’s still good. There is repetitiveness, but that’s expected since it was originally a series, books always gotta remind readers a little bit what happened before (but if you are reading all 3 in a row it feels unnecessary). When a book is over 1k pages long and the author is giving out long descriptions of characters cooking food, you want to scream (he didn’t do it too much though, but still). The plot is interesting. It’s a slow build up and then drops big revelations fast at a good pace, it keeps you hooked. There is great background to the characters and just a lot of depth to Aomame and Tengo. It’s not just reading about their lives for the events in the main plot, but also their past and what they are like in their life when it doesn’t surround the plot of the story. It has fantasy elements, but it’s like reading everyday life. It’s a satisfying read, the time and effort going into reading 1Q84 is worth it. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
So far, so weird, and not in the ways I'd expected. But in a good way?

One of my regular customers was getting on me for not having read it yet, because she wants more recommendations. I... have no idea what I'll recommend to her next.
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
I had to create a new shelf for this book, because I wasn't sure if it was fantasy, or science fiction, or simply a very long, very peculiar, Victorian novel. I ended up classifying it as "strange."

It is hard to describe the plot because I'm still not sure what it was about. When a book leaves me this baffled I generally stop reading about 50 pages in, but in this case I was too interested in figuring out the mystery and too involved with the characters to even consider dropping it.

There are two murders, mysterious girls, multiple deadly assassins, three different extreme religious cults, a literary scandal, some rapes (maybe), a scary bill collector, and a very strange staircase. They all go together in an interesting and baffling way. At one point all of the main characters go into hiding, each alone in a separate apartment, for long stretches of time. 1Q84 is deeply introspective, with reality dependent on the subjective reality of each character. As their perspective changes, reality changes with it.

But beyond the confusing plot lies a simple message. At its heart, this is a book about isolation, loneliness, and the saving grace of love and loyalty. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Found it a bit slow moving, but it was incredibly well written, the concepts were great, and while the ending felt a bit abrupt, it definitely also feels like it couldn't have ended any other way.

( )
  simonspacecadet | Jul 29, 2018 |
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector. A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.
  Cultural_Attache | Jul 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 235 (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

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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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
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.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

(see all 5 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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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