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)
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.
I have been looking forward to the release of this book for ages. I downloaded it so I could enjoy a what should have been a fabulous story. Unfortunately the delivery was SO distracting in that it was so deadeningly boring...a rata tat monotone drone by a woman who should NEVER be allowed to voice another book again. I was glad that that they shifted narrators every once in awhile but the man was no better. It reminded me of the recent Star Wars movies that force the actors to speak in monotone. Perhaps it was intentional but it was so off-putting I couldn't finish it. I will go buy the book instead.
Save your money. They need a redo. This was a disgrace. (full disclosure: this is my first negative review for an audiobook. I've been disappointed before but never felt the need to warn others. This was different. Egregious)
I would give the author another chance, but this book simply fails to live up to the hype.
Nothing by him. Not for a while.
The narrators are very good at what they do. I've hard Mark Vitore (sp?) several times before.
Disappointment. So many unresolved issues. So many characters who didn't serve any real purpose other than to make the book longer and more plodding.
Very strange. I read Stephen kings 11/22/63 and then 1Q84. These books are very similar in many ways. They both have the premise that there are parallel Worlds or universes which can be reached either by a time bubble or ladder if you know where they are located. In each instance the fissure is used to travel between parallel worlds. They are both similarly are driven by powerful love stories and romance and a great deal of detective work to understand how the parallel universe functions. Mr. Kings novel is grounded in a real event, the assassination of JFK, and the consequences of reversing the assassination.In Mr Murakami 's parallel universe there are two moons and little people who direct events through receivers and perceivers and a devoted religious sect. Because this world is so alien and fantastic there is never a clear understanding of how or why it functions. Both books are lengthy and could have used better editing. Particularly 1Q84 gives excruciating details about events such as going to the bathroom, sleeping, inner thoughts that have no meaning to the story. For instance there are pages about a rubber plant which are boring and irrelevant to the story, In the end I did not understand much about the parallel world despite hundreds of pages which dealt obliquely and peripherally with the way the new religion sakikaki functioned. In summary this book was like the movie " who killed roger rabbit", a hybrid between toons and real people. Although interesting, ultimately the experience was like eating junk food . Mr. Kings work is more interesting and has more substance, and because it is anchored in real events and history much more compelling. Also Mr. King has the advantage of being written in English while 1Q84 is translated form Japanese. But, are there really parallel universes and time travel? Lots of thinking about it anyway.
Female voice is a little irritating -- very pedantic especially when it comes to the dowager. Dialogue is sometimes repetitive and a little unimaginative, but the story is gripping.
Tengo - realistic and swept up by the events.
A better production of the voice. The voice over (Alllison Hiroto) has very pronounced syllables and these ruin the entire book. Unlistenable! Also the voice over is whispering pretty much the entire beginning of the book, which leads to an unintelligible experience.
I couldn't get through so far
The voice over (Alllison Hiroto) has very pronounced syllables and the studio has failed to produce these out of the recording, which ruins the entire beginning of the book. Also the voice over is whispering pretty much the entire beginning of the book, which leads to an unintelligible experience.
Haruki Marukami's unique blend of fantasy and reality is on vivid display in 1Q84. The penchant for placing unremarkable characters into fantastic situations, the detailed descriptions of impossible events, the nonchalant presentation of the supernatural, and the utter sincerity of his protagonists in accepting their places in a topsy-turvy world are all hallmarks of Murakami's highly original fiction. Part hard-core detective novel, part historical fiction, part fairy tale, and part love story - all mixed together into a rolling monster of a novel, and don't forget the political commentary and the sex. As you are drawn deeper into this strange and wonderful place, you'll find that it's perfectly natural that little people crawl out of the mouths of sleepers to weave giant cocoons out of lint in the night. It's just another normal day, except that today there are two moons instead of one. A secret underground headed by an old widow that tracks down sex criminals? Why not?
The eagerly awaited English translation does not disappoint, and the team of narrators assembled by Audible does a creditable job of delivering the book - especially Alison Hiroto. 1Q84 is destined to rank as one of Murakami's greatest novels, and Murakami is unquestionably one of the most imaginative writers of our age. Even if you've never read him before, this book would be a fine place to start. At 47 hours, it's a commitment on the scale of War and Peace, but you will find yourself sorry to see it come to an end. Just like Aomame and Tengo, you may find that you'll want to stay in 1Q84 forever.
A bit of everything, it will stay with you for a long time. I will read more of murakamis books the translators enjoyed several of his writings and I also want to continue with his works.
Enjoyable and entertaining
I loved how the littlle people described the muza and the datr and throughout the story they kept the sound of those words.
I thought the voice changes with different charaters was unique.
Thank you for sharing a few quality hours with me.
The plot is very weak and the writing sloppy. Nothing is resolved at the end to reward 20+ hours of listening.
Overall the narration was quite good, but they had to struggle with the repetitive writing and far fetched story line.
A real disappointment from an author that I had previously liked.
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