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)
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.
I love audiobooks!
No. There were compelling characters, but the story fell down and the ending was unsatisfying. Also there was a lot of gratuitous sex (i.e., sex scenes that did nothing to propel the story forward and were just there for the sensationalism). There was lots of violence also, although most of the violence was muted.
Even in a fantasy world, the plot has to have a certain logic. It didn't. There were holes in the plot so big you could have driven a truck through. Also there were many loose ends that were never tied up.
Well, there's sex, violence, and romance. All that Hollywood needs for a B grade movie.
This was such a promising book, but so disappointing. There were scenes and turns of phrase that were wonderful, but overall the book didn't hold together.
I like when different characters have different narrators. It gives life to different people.
The vortex of events that make the characters spin around a single concept but still prevent them from interacting.
Tango's personality is more in sync with mine so for that reason I can connect better with him.
I am married ( 26 years and counting!), I have two children a boy 16 and a girl 21. I love reading, gardening, knitting, art! People who say they would be bored when they retire just don't know themselves very well! I, on the other hand can't wait to have the time to do more of the things I truly love! Maybe write a book, a dream I have always had of doing!
I stayed with this book, thinking it would get better, but in the end it was a very big disappointment! I just never understood the story line, maybe it would have been more meaningful if I had been raised in Japan. Way too much sex and the sex never made sense to the story it was just weird! Sorry I spent my credits on it!
Say something about yourself!
About halfway through, I found parts of the story that were a little disturbing but decided to keep listening since I had already invested so many hours and was curious about how it would all come together in the end. It didn't. I had to look online to see if maybe this was just part one, because it ended abruptly without tying up the loose ends.
I would not recommend this.
Tengo's voice did not fit the character.
No TV series, too many controversial topics.
The narrators were actually
No Stephen King here. The novel started out fine and even reminded me of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King for the first 15 - 20 hours. Then it became just plain silly. Other reviewers comment upon the novel's lack of
I started listening to Murakami after reading a NYTimes review of his book What I Talk about when I talk about running. I liked his stream of consciousness autobiographical style and went on to listen to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. Anyone who liked the Wind-Up Bird will enjoy 1Q84.
Murakami has a style all his own. This has similarity to Wind-Up Bird as the narrative jumps between the main characters telling various unique stories yet ties together one story .
The different narrators tie the various stories to those who tell the stories in a way that wouldn't occur in reading. Since the narrators have different styles and voices, what might be a little confusing is clear in narration. The female narrator has a peculiarly Japanese female voice. In my limited experience with Japanese women, they have an unusual delicate vocal quality that the female narrator captures and allowed me to picture the Aomame character.
Murakami is clearly expressing his social commentary on the current lifestyle of many young adults.
After reading the glowing reviews, I downloaded this book. Mistake! I like a long audiobook that I can listen to again and again, this is not one of those books. It's way too long especially the early chapters with too much sex and not enough science fiction. I guess you have to be a fan of Murakami....and I'm not.
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