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)
1. The narrators maintain a pretty consistent voice level and speak clearly.
1. The story wasn't super horrible.
1. The narrator for Aomame spoke slowly, as if she was reading for children.
2. A third narrator is added in part 3 for a character that played a minor role previously and drastically changed the voice of the character.
3. Descriptions, dialogue, and inner monologues often repeated the same points consecutively. He would often describe something the same way or have a character say or think the same thing in three consecutive sentences.
4. There were way too many pointless sex scenes. It was as if the author forgot he was writing a bad fantasy novel and thought instead that he was writing a bad romance novel at times. They did not drive the plot or add substance.
5. Characters jumped to irrational conclusions that were correct, presumably because the author couldn't find a sensible way to have the characters arrive that those conclusions any other way.
6. The author, or perhaps the translators, used the phrase "any number of times" to mean "many times," which is not the literal meaning of this phrase. Things like this are a pet peeve of mine, so this is more of a personal con.
I had not read or listened to any Haruki Murakami books before this. I've read reviews that say this is one of this worst books, but it has made me nervous about trying an other book of his. I'm most concerned that his repetitive way of describing things is part of his writing style.
No. The story started off really well and looked like a typical Murakami book. However, in the middle of the book the story just went bad and a character that was added basically ruined the story. Also, the voice for this character was annoying and made me want to fast forward all the chapters involving this character.
Yes. I have read most of his books. This was by far the most disappointing.
The first part of the story was really interesting. The story dropped off really fast though. If I had not invested so much time in the book I would have stopped listening.
No. Not a very good story.
Read/Listen Kafka by the sea or Norwegian Wood. Murakami has better books out there.
I'm just a simple man who is trying to be water.
The concept of experiencing dual dimensions, although they weren't clearly defined within the universe of the book.
Annoying, consistent, talented.
Find a better story.
I got really used to the characters - felt like I knew them well. There was plenty of time to develop them since the book was so long. That said, I felt like the story went in different directions and didn't tie back cleanly in the end. Make no mistake, this turned out to be a love story. Perhaps all of the other stuff was an elaborate setup for guy gets girl. But there's no reason why they should have ended up together. It just seemed that all of a sudden this is where the author wanted to take us. I know some of the reviews are that this is a
Not too fast, not too slow, but just right. I love the style of the author, narrator and characters who do come alive in this reading.
Audiobooks Make Weed Wacking a Pleasure
This was my first Murakami book, and it'll probably be my last. I actually enjoyed it, but with major reservations.
It was very repetitive. Like watching a marathon end-to-end TV series, when they give you recaps every 24 minutes. Like the reader/listener is stupid, and not paying attention.
The prose was very utilitarian. No wit, no humor.
It's a fantasy, but some parts are so ridiculous that author devotes four sentences trying to convince you why it isn't that ridiculous.
I thought all three narrators were good. Some folks seem to have a problem with the female narrator, Allison Hiroto. She seemed fine, but I wish all three narrators would settle on common pronunciations of the Japanese names.
The ending was the most predictable of any book I've read/heard. If 2/3 way through the book you asked a group of readers how it would end, half would give the exact actual ending, and probably a third would come up with a much better ending.
There are complaints that the audiobook was too long. Yep. I think 1Q84 could have been much better with some tweaking and editing, and a lot more finesse.
I couldn't even finish the first part of the book. The narration of Allison Hiroto was so horrible it made me not want to finish. She read this book as if it were a fairytale. So she's reading a sex scene or a murder scene and it sounds like she's reading to a 3 year old. I don't know why anybody would think that's ok. It really downgrades the story. If I ever actually read this book it would be on paper.
It's long, but it's worth it. Loved this book, and I continue to think of it long after moving on.
So disappointed. I was looking forward to reading this book. I like a long book and the storyline seemed intriguing. It was well written and well narrated but sooooooooooo slow. It should have been 1/4 of its actual length. And the ending!!!!!!! For me, the only great thing in this book was the translation. Superb! As a translator myself, I understand the challenges involved and they were more than surpassed. Add to that the fact that two different people worked on it and the story was still seamless. Extremely impressive!
Say something about yourself!
I don't know if the storyline was ruined in the translation or if Japanese audiences expect such bizarre writing techniques. The never ending unrelated details where so distacting you can't find the essence of the story
I couldn't even get through this book. I tried skipping ahead, tried it at 2x speed, nothing worked to keep me in the book
The narrators did as good a job as they could with the material they were given.
Too many to mention. In addition, the sequence of events was so distracting you couldn't piece it together.
In brief, this story needed a lot of editing I only made it half way through this book, or about 23 hours. This is the first time in three years that I haven't finished a book I've selected and there have been some stinkers. Very little happens in the first 13 hours of the book. The weak characters aren't particularly interesting and are like children in that they are told what to do through the story. The writing is sterile and has very little warmth or life to it; however this could partly due to the narrators who are below average. Even the sex scenes early in the book were described without passion and sounded more like a government report to me.
No. Allison Hiroto was particularly bad. The person that performed Tengo's story was below average. Neither performer brought the story to life.
Boredom. The writing and/or performances were too sterile to invoke any emotions.
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