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)
No offense to the editor, but the story could have been half as long. The characters are constantly repeating themselves like a soap opera that reviews what happened in the previous episode. The beginning of the story if very engaging and intriguing as the author presents the characters and their world, however, the story drags on and the author seems focused on describing, remembering, and rehashing sex scenes rather than advancing the plot.
This book is different from most. It is a mixture of the Japanese anime style and Manga in a long novel. I watched anime when I was younger, and this seems very much in the style of Naruto in its approach to character development and philosophy.
On the other hand, my main objection with the story is that sex is the main topic. Some sex is never bad in a story, but the characters seem obsessed with analyzing their sexual exploits. It gets quite tacky.
One other complaint, is that the main characters are rather weak, boring, and unlikable. I feel more connection with the character who arrives in part4 (don't want to give away the plot), than either of the previous main characters.
Narrators did a fabulous job. The reading was clear and well balanced, giving life and emotion to the story.
It is unique, and the reading is done quite well.
Summary: Editor should have cut half the pages without any loss of detail or meaning. The story is more about sex, than anything else: description of sex, memories of sex, and bizarre sex. I don't expect to see a movie made out of this, but if it is, it would be X-rated.
This book is my first experience with Murakami. This book is without a doubt a unique piece of literature. I figured that with all of the hype that I needed to give it a try. The best way for me to describe it is that it starts out fairly normal and slowly the reality unravels as the supernatural takes it place. With almost 47 hours of listening getting through this book requires a true investment of time. I feel that it is worth it. I enjoyed the voice acting of the 3 narrators and appreciated how their voices interacted with each other's. The novel is actually split up into 3 books that were released in Japan at separate times. As I went further and further down the rabbit hole that is this book, I was compelled to continue reading to see where the bizarre was all leading. Some readers may be disappointed in the ending of this book as Murakami doesn't leave the book with all of the story lines tied up nicely with a pretty bow. I, however, really appreciate how the author ends things. It is as if he is saying "I didn't wrap-up all of the story lines because in the end only one story line matters. The rest is just details." The other story lines remind me of what Hitchcock termed a MacGuffin, an element of a story used to drive the plot but serves no other purpose. This novel may not be for everyone but it is for those who appreciate a story that is in and of itself compelling while at the same time encourages quite a bit of thought on the part of the reader.
Beautifully written. Great and interesting Story; however, it was way too repetitive with many irrelevant details. Never thought I would see the day when I would have preferred an abridged version of any book. At one point, I had to answer my phone and didn't turn off my ipod. When I returned to the story, I hadn't missed much....need I say more? To finish the book, I took one reviewer's advice and sped up the narration. The narration was very well done and kept me interested--even with the increased speed!
This book was certainly unique. I vacillated between confusion, discomfort, curiosity and amazement. Given the length of the book, that was an unusual 46 listening hour listening experience. I thought the readers did a good job and that their voices were very appropriate. I am amused by the frequent criticism of the female voice. I thought it fit with the characters' physical descriptions, but to each his or her own. That is why it is good to listen to the samples first.
Some aspects I never did quite understand. I borrowed the book from the library because I thought maybe I missed something...I didn't. I still don???t understand the forest, the little people, or all the abstract relationships between all the characters. Perhaps the most meaningful phrase in the book is from Tengo's father: ???if you can???t understand it without an explanation you won???t understand it with an explanation.??? Nevertheless, I will think about this story for a very long time and that is part of why it is enjoyable. It is not just a simple "beach read" but a book that is intricate and multifaceted.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It drew me in with its complexity and beautiful writing style. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters and it had a puzzle aspect to it that intrigued me. The interwoven plots added a fascinating complexity that required unusual talent by the author. For those who were unhappy with it I think you didn't stick with it long enough to fall down the rabbit hole into a suspenseful wonderland with Aomame and Tengo.
If it were condensed down to about 7 hours. And if the female narrator woke up... she sounds drugged.
The female narrator was way too slow.
About 75% of the dialogue. I know writers are supposed to show and not tell, and that is often achieved through dialogue...but come on. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Conversations about minutia.
I only made it through the first part before deciding I couldn't endure the pain any longer.
Excellent performance. I loved this story from start to finish. This has been one of my favorite Audible books of all times....and I own hundreds of Audible books!
The play on words-how important certain words are in bringing out the double meanings to a character.
Aomame- how the narrator sets up her cadance through her voice inflection- I really can see her Japanese-essence through this way of reading her parts.
A cadance that helps to set up the tensions in the developing plot and a relaying of the subtlty which is the essence of Japanese culture.
No. There were places where it felt right to pause and reflect on the events which unfolded.
While the translation was good, it would be interesting to be able to read it in Japanese to really get a better understanding of underlying meanings such as the absence of question marks really meanig that the squestion lacked the necessary ka at the end to let the listener know it was a question.
The first 2/3s of the book are fascinating as subplots and characters interact in strange and interesting ways, even if it is rather slow paced at times. But the last third is about as exciting as reading about somebody hanging out in a small apartment and never going outside for months or about a guy visiting an old folks home and reading short stories for weeks on end--cause that's pretty much all that happens in the last volume of the book. I didn't expect every loose end to be neatly tied up or every surreal incident to be explained in a completely logical manner, but some sort of climax might have been nice. Overall an interesting story that feels cheated by a meandering ending
After 39 hours of storytelling, I felt let down by the ending. I actually relistened to the last couple of hours just to make sure that I hadn't missed something critical to the story. I don't know if Philip Gabriel has done a good job in translating the book as I don't speak or read Japanese. The audio performance was done well. My disappointment came with the actual story, which, in my opinion, would have benefitted from editing and shortening the length. If you like books which constantly repeat the thought processes of the characters, then this book is for you. There is little action. 39 hours of little action.
First, the good point. Narrator Allison Hiroto is absolutely charming. It was probably only listening to her voice that made me keep slogging through to the end.
Yes, it is long, and it is wordy, and it is repetitive. But there comes a point when it is nothing short of ridiculous, so ridiculous that there is not enough willing suspension of disbelief in the world to cover it. Worst of all, aside from Ms. Hiroto's charming narration, what kept me going to the end was the prospect of some sort of explanation or resolution. There was NONE, NO explanation, and no resolution.
Terrible, really and truly terrible.
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