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.
BONUS AUDIO: Audible interviews the translators of 1Q84, Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.
©2011 Haruki Murakami (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Murakami is like a magician who explains what he's doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers.... But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves." (The New York Times Book Review)
“Profound . . . A multilayered narrative of loyalty and loss . . . A fully articulated vision of a not-quite-nightmare world . . . A big sprawling novel [that] achieves what is perhaps the primary function of literature: to reimagine, to reframe, the world . . . At the center of [1Q84’s] reality . . . is the question of love, of how we find it and how we hold it, and the small fragile connections that sustain us, even (or especially) despite the odds . . . This is a major development in Murakami’s writing . . . A vision, and an act of the imagination.” (David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times)
“1Q84 is one of those books that disappear in your hands, pulling you into its mysteries with such speed and skill that you don’t even notice as the hours tick by and the mountain of pages quietly shrinks . . . I finished 1Q84 one fall evening, and when I set it down, baffled and in awe, I couldn’t help looking out the window to see if just the usual moon hung there or if a second orb had somehow joined it. It turned out that this magical novel did not actually alter reality. Even so, its enigmatic glow makes the world seem a little strange long after you turn the last page. Grade: A.” (Rob Brunner, Entertainment Weekly)
This very long book had a number of story lines that were interesting at some point, but which fell flat or just petered out. The conclusion left me thinking, "...I just listened to 47 hours of storytelling and the best you can give me is two grade school kids who were fated to be together?". The book made some feeble attempts at being thought provoking and asking interesting questions, but these were short lived, with the story soon headed off in other, more banal directions. Even the fantasy aspects of the novel were never developed. The writing and performance kept me engaged to the end, but there is no part of the story that I am glad to have experienced.
I would re-listen again, just like to re-visit the people and intriguing places created so fully here.
The unfolding of the story is done by adding layers, as if the creation of the story is happening in real time. The listener becomes a co-creator as discoveries are made in the narrative. This is brilliant storytelling.
Aomame was complex in her background, yet the simplicity and innocence was conveyed in every word. Her sections were my favorite.
There is a lot here - 40+ hours of narration - but the slow unfurling is very enjoyable (and peculiar - it is Murakami after all!). Ultimately, despite the oddness of some elements, it is a wonderfully humanistic story, with heart - and love!
I would probably not listen again. Simply the story gets off to a slow start and the convergence doesn't happen until a third way through, which is quite frustrating. The audio is also very long meaning the week investment is something that would probably be at the end of the queue for listening.
The playground scene at the end of the book. The female and male voice playing off each other was epic and was an unexpected and nice surprise.
To be honest, I would rather think I would enjoy it better if I read it myself rather than listen. The narrators read so slowly and are pretty dry.
Probably none, because every character is probably not one you'd want to meet in real life. The character quirks are what makes the story, but I can't help but think that they are pretty insane.
The story is worth listening to. The fantasy elements are unlike anything I've read or listened to and the depth of the characters and their story lines are very interesting.
Is it science fiction, phantasy or a bit of both? Perhaps it is philosophy in disguise of either or both. Story is unique, and somewhat familiar. I think Haruki may have used an older story line and dressed it up. He does have tendency to repeat himself, but when he does is to bring something new or to add another twist to it. Isn't life like that? Novel is long and dragged out. It does carry you on and there is a mystery that gets revealed painstakingly slowly, and by the time it does I didn't even care, I was so mesmerized by the whole thing not to even care. By that time I was immersed in the reality and trying to figure out how did it inspire this work.
Listening to this work made me get a book on history of philosophy, which enlightened to me some of the far fetched images Haruki introduces. This made it interesting and I wish the book wasn't that long I would like to listen to it in a condensed form which retains some of the main storie lines. Wonder if we could get that version.
I like his short stories better. This novel doesn't really use it's size to develop the saga it could do. Instead it mulls and rehashes the same precepts as if we needed to be reminded or that it is important, which isn't really in the perspective of the whole novel.
It was a good listen. I didn't have any problem with it.
Title does not really inspire me to want to read it. The reference to 1984 is really not supported since it does not develop new society, it is suggested that what happens it is personal and psychological and relevant to only few.
I would call it "Two moons". This title would suggest scifi, phantasy and psychology, and discovery would be that philosophy is interwoven and plays a role in the story line. And in the end it is romance and relationships that are of a mystery to be decoded, which Haruki is really trying to do.
I was under its spell for a week while driving cross country. It is easy to listen and deceptively easy to understand, but it does not give you any answers on how to live life. There are few jems hidden and it is worth listening to.
Addressing the plot that was created. I spent the whole book waiting to understand 1Q84 and the little people and everything the author spent sooooooo much time on only for those points to be ignored. The book could really have been 1/4 of the length. There was so much repetition and very long excerpts from other "novels". It really felt like Murakami was trying to achieve length at the cost of quality.
I would be hard pressed.
The only narrator I could really tolerate was the voice of Tengo. The female narrator has been reviewed enough on this board and the other make narrator had a tendency to whisper. I found this so distracting I almost stopped listening to the book when he started speaking.
I'm not sure who would enjoy it more...clearly some people have since there are favorable reviews. I do like science fiction. I don't mind creepiness if the story is good. This book had me rolling my eyes.
Maybe a detective story
Maybe Hiroto's performance. Her narration was so void of feeling, but maybe that added to the story.
I was hoping for some interesting and thought provoking ideas. I guess there may have been a couple but I was really not impressed.
It almost seems as if the book was written in parts as a short story since there is so much repetition. I don't understand that.
Nothing better than a well-written long book that is well-narrated and tells a unique story. A few weak points towards the end but still one of the best books I've ready in a while.
In the top 25% of the audiobooks I've listened to.
The story was engaging from the beginning and I liked how the characters moved towards each other with the repetition of symbols. The differences between the readers voices helped separate the characters as distinct people which added to the story, as the gradual merging began to intertwine storylines.
The narrators all sound like an Asians speaking English as a second language. E ver y sy lla ble was sound ed out. It was hard to get a good flow with that type of narration
The story was very good and entertaining, although slow at times.
The female reader is painfully slow, the story slows and starts and information is constantly repeated. Edited down, the interesting bits might take up 1/3rd of the total time of this book. An abridged version would be something to consider.
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