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)
The story is so vivid, so unique and so well told, that it just takes you by storm, you can not put down the Ipod and go to sleep. I't rich, vast, with many sub plots, and parallel stories. truly the work of a master
Style of writing, few plots.
the narrators do a great job in highlighting the heros.
a must read. but lengthy. be prepared to get immersed.
I have a conundrum regarding this book. It will sit hauntingly in your head long after you finish it with wonder about the ultimate meaning of the events in relation to the characters and wonderment over how satisfactory the ending is with regard to the lengthy build up.
This is a VERY long book, which was originally published as a Trilogy in the native Japanese, although I find it hard to see how anyone would be totally fulfilled without reading the entire set.
The book revolves from the point of view of 3 main characters who are voiced by different readers. The performances are straight-forward and don't pack a great deal of emotional drive into the words, so you're left to that interpretation on your own.
One thing that significantly helps to understand the structure and tone of the book is an understanding of Japanese culture and speech patterns. Some prose will seem needlessly repetitive, but this is the cadence of Japanese conversation. Because the language contains numerous homonyms (words that sound the same, but have different meanings), Japanese speakers often echo back a statement to insure that they understood the meaning inferred from one speaker to another. So you'll hear passages like "I need to go to the train station in the Chiba prefecture." followed by their conversation partner saying something like "The train station in Chiba. Yes, I see."
The plot of this book is sort of twisty and fantastical. It builds on a premise of alternate realities, and the reaction one might have to switching subtly from one reality to another. In the end, it seems to be a story about second chances at love and happiness, a good thing indeed.
I am not familiar with any other work by this author, but there is one aspect to this book that I found rather perplexing. It contains some very explicit sexual descriptions that don't necessarily advance the plot of the story. They might be seen as what the Japanese call "Fan Service" which is in essence meaningless titillation that arouses the user to press on with the story. That's just my guess, but perhaps a less cynical person might conclude that the author is simply using sexuality to express the wholeness of a person beyond the dimensions that are known publicly. Much of the motivation of the characters is driven by the desire to keep secrets and discretion, and what may seem more indiscreet than sexual situations. If you are offended by explicit sexual descriptions, you may want to pass on this book.
Overall, its a worthwhile journey through some unusual circumstances, and was definitely worth the time I spent with it.
Storyline...Rad Fem serial killer meets lackluster geek and they live happily ever after. Man, I'm really getting sick of all these contemporary authors trying to sell books to mindless feminists who mostly buy books. That pretty much sums up all American Art at this time. Truly lame. That said, I liked the Japanese setting and would like to know more about the culture. There were also some themes and characters in here that rang a bell. The writing was pretty good and the narrator, Marc Vietor, who also narrated my all time fav book, "Lucifer's Hammer", did an amazingly good job on the main character Tengo Kwan.
This was my first but not my last Haruki Murakami book.
I bought this book because it was described as Sci Fi and on so many Best Books of 2011 lists. In my opinion this book is a love story with a little Sci Fi thrown in.
The writing in this book is beautiful. The descriptions in the book are simple and almost unnervingly vivid at the same time. But…this is a long book with a slow pace. The story, although not uninteresting, unfold very slowly.
If you like fast paced books with big payoffs at the end, this book is not for you. I don’t mind books that leave loose ends but I could understand why some people would be disappointed after 42hours.
I’m conflicted about this book. The last book to leave me this conflicted was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In the end...this book reminds me of Music by Chanting Monks. The first time I listened I thought it was incredibly beautiful. But after an hour I thought…”that’s enough Chanting Monks” and I put in different music.
All the characters described were pretty lifelike and quite believable despite the sometimes unbelievable story.
One long story of so many scenes...
I am not sure the end justified the means.
The female narrator, Allison Hiroto, is so absolutely annoying to listen to that she actually makes it very easy to hate one of the main characters, thus ruining the book for me. I can't imagine who cast this person, but they should get a hearing aid prior to losing their job. Hiroto over enunciates every word, sounding stiff and impersonal. Nobody talks like this naturally for good reason. That's because it is ANNOYING! I'll sum it up by saying that she pronounces the
I like least the female narrator. When I was listening to the female character kill someone and it just sounded like she was reading. I think I even heard her swallow.I also didn't think the lesbian encounter that she was remembering while walking down the stairs in the first chapter pertained to anything! The female character was just a male fantasy. All of the sex was just stupid and didn't seem to add any value to the story.
Description of the surronding make things come alive. However I thought his was too much. It was also repetitive. I didn't think it helped direct the story in any direction. For example I did not understand why I needed to know that the female ate a vegetarian diet to help prevent constipation.
After 8 hours of listening, I found nothing to convince me to go further. If even one character had seemed real to me I might have persevered, but the humans in this story were all unpalatable, distant and gave me no reason to root for any of them. Not caring whether any of them lived or died, loved or hated, laughed or cried - I stopped listening.
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.
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