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)
I promised myself I would not write this until I finished the book so I could be fair. I bought this because it got so many good reviews everywhere. After the first hour though I had a completely different impression than apparently 98% of the readers. The book is so boring end elongated that it is so painful to get through. The story is told between 3 view points and each one tells parts of the other's story; many parts.
The other problem is that the woman who voices Ow Mame is so dry. Here pronunciation is perfect but her speech is so dry it is almost maddening. I would love to hear more from the guy who read Ichikawa though. Especially a crime novel.
The setting is the quite unique: a sci-fi tale told set in 1984 Japan. Also the story is not predictable, you can't guess what will happen next
I didn't like the ending. It was too abrupt and still left questions unanswered.
I thought the narrators did a great job. There are multiple narrators and they were able to help convey the personality of characters through their narration.
I think I would take the private investor character out to dinner (I forgot his name) he seemed to be incredibly smart. He was so interesting that I would listen to a book just with him as the main character.
I was underwhelmed by the plot. It was ok, but not as good as I thought it would be. It was especially irritating to listen to the thoughts of the main 2 characters -- because they would often repeat or rephrase thoughts, or have some tangent, off the wall thoughts that didn't seem to move the story along. I also didn't like the fact that some questions are not answered at the end of the story. However overall it was a good (long) listen.
I loved this story. It was alittle slow to start but once the plot thickend I was pretty rivited.
Murakami???s story was excellent, however, the narrator that read parts by Mr. Ushikawa absolutely destroyed the listening experience for me. What annoying ???Spit Mouth??? clicks and slurps???forget about the violent gasps for air. If / When I figure out which of the male contributors read the Ushikawa character, I???ll never purchase another audio book he???s involved in.
If the story had tied everything together at the end. I felt like I did right after I watched the last episode of Lost on T.V.
First one I have read by this author.
Narrators were good.
Disappointment. As long as this book was, the author failed to tie all the loose ends together and explain everything.
I am left with the impression that the author was paid by the word. There was so much repetition and fluff in this story she made Stephen King look like he writes fortune cookies. I was optomistic in the beginning and then deeply disappointed at the end. I would not recommend this book to others.
I read this book because it screamed surreal to me, and I am left pondering it. Murakami is surreal. There are loose ends. I smile when I find the one star "I don't get it" and "huh??" ratings along with the copious five star ratings. So, if you like to understand everything about a book and have all loose ends tied up in a pretty package, you should probably pass on this book. But if you like to sink your teeth into something big that you will turn over in your mind for days and weeks on end, this is your book. Go for it!
Murakami pays homage to Kafka, Jung, Doystoevsky, Orwell and Tolstoy. Brilliantly even, he weaves them into the story like old friends. I'm not a spoilers person, so let me just say that the way he weaves Jung in is simply brilliant. And to do that in the same scene that he borrows the first line of Anna Karenina from Tolstoy - well, the characters and the scene deserved no less.
Murakami also quietly painted a picture of the 1980's. I was amazed at how Murakami did this with so little reference to popular music. Classical music played a large role in story, as did the noticeable absence of modern conveniences. 1Q84 is a world populated by word processors, floppy disks, pay phones and telephones with cords.
This was my first Murakami book, and now I can't decide between listening to Kafka on the Shore and The Windup Bird Chronicles next. I do plan to start working my way through his works now.
Making the characters more dimensional. They were flat and very much like cookie cutouts. There was too much unnecessary description and not enough necessary description. There were things thrown in that seemed to come out of left field.
An image of what they looked like, above and beyond their descriptions.
None, they all seem to be essential.
This book reads like a first novel with mistakes a first time writer would make. None of the characters seemed to be individuals, with their own individual speech patterns or colloquialisms. Also, none of the characters ever seem to react to situations in a way that would make sense to the average person. Important characters are not given names until near the end of the book, instead being addressed by their title. For example: The dowager. or the much older, married girlfriend. And often descriptions or backgrounds are repeated, ad nauseum. The way the writer has of making one character repeat another character becomes very annoying after a while, as well. Last, but not least, the story line is very confusing. I'm sure it will make sense when I get to the end. If I get to the end.
A plot that went somewhere and a better story line.
Quit repeating everything over and over. It is annoying and offensive. Can the reader remember nothing you've said? The redundancy became insulting.
This is the worst thing I've read in quite a while.
Just some dude.
So far, I can tell that the writer enjoys music and the sounds of his own thoughts and sex.
The story is interesting however not all that original. I enjoy the characters so far more than the story. At first which is this part one of the listen, I can tell you that I absolutely love the readers of this book. A top notch job by the narrators who do a superlative job in reading this book and adding life to the dialogue. The readers have pleasant voices and really care a great deal for the book as well. The story seems a bit contrived. Like a conscience effort to place sex and violence every so often: Roger Corman style.
The writer takes great effort to draw the characters for us to enjoy, however the English translation sometimes might get in the way, especially when eating is concerned. Japanese eating hamburgers and pizza seemed out of place and I dismissed this as a deliberate effort not to alienate American listeners, when in fact I would enjoy the sounds of the authentic dishes such as Meeso soup etc..
I am enjoying this book so far but I have a feeling that I could write the rest of the book myself based on other stories and news articles about a similar vein. I hope I will be delightfully wrong. :)
See my last entry when I get that far.
I'm sure Alison Hiroto is a very nice young woman. But I'm afraid to say that, in my personal opinion, she is not the right choice to give voice to the incomparable prose of Haruki Murakami in 1Q84. She hasn't the chops, training or gravitas, (and again, this is only my own opinion), to handle the job.
I've appealed twice to Brilliance Audio, who published the audio book, to kindly consider re-recording the female part. I don't think they're going to listen to me, but I wish they would. From an R.O.I. perspective, even though they'd have to pay quite a bit to hire and mix a new female reader, they'd more than make that back on the audience that would flock to download the book, once it was re-recorded with another female voice talent.
Perhaps with additional training, coaching and practice, Alison Hiroto could become a great reader. After all, everyone starts somewhere. I sincerely hope she improves over time. But I am truly disappointed in her performance on 1Q84. And it seems from reading other readers' reviews, I am not alone.
So Brilliance Audio, what do you say?
Please work with me to prevail upon Brilliance Audio to re-record the female reader's part.
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