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 realises, 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 Ltd
"It is a work of maddening brilliance and gripping originality, deceptively casual in style...vibrating with wit, intellect and ambition." (The Times)
"Eerie, suspenseful and packed full of gorgeous ordinary details and provocative extraordinary events...funny, fresh and intensely surreal. Unmissable." (Marie Claire)
Imagine how it would feel if you were a character within a narrative world - and knew it. To top it off the pesky author of the novel you live in keeps changing his mind. There are subtle differences in the way your world is articulated - mirroring the editing process.
There is a sense of melancholy in that some characters, such as the Leader, are unable to be something other than how they are figured in the narrative. He is restricted by this story world. His communiaction with the little people suggests his constructedness - he is aware of his fictionality - he knows he is merely a figment of an author's imagination, and is bound to do what the little people tell him to do.
I don't think I could get through this book by reading the print version. I've read a lot of Murakami's novels before, but this one is particularly long. In addition, there is a lot of layering to this novel, where there is the slightly nuanced repetition of story lines. It was nice listening to them- they are like the receding and returning tides of the ocean (yes, a weird simile, but you'll get what I mean if you listen long enough).
I highly recommend this to people who enjoy fantasy,science fiction, magic realism, narrative studies, Eng Lit majors, people who love Japan, Murakami, etc. etc.
I am a huge Murakami fan. I think his style is very suited to the audiobook format, especially as music features as almost another character. In addition to listening to the audiobook I also ended up downloading several songs, and searching for albums that the characters were listening to.
This is a vast novel, and if you have not encountered Murakami before, perhaps try something like the windup bird or a shorter story to begin with. For me, IQ84 is a wonderful story, that turns in on itself and was the perfect companion on a long hour long compute back and forward to the office.
It is a story about murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties but at its heart it is about love. It is wonderful.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
OK this is not for Murakami virgins.
We have three voices. Same alternate world of two moons.Girl, Boy and a mystery.
I think the music is important, and I think Art is important. Intentional or not I see Jeffrey Smart in the freeway and steps and "Tiger in your Tank' signs.
A kind of shared dreamscape. A shared reality that does shift.While each voice connects, the shared experience of sitting on top of the slippery dip and looking at the two moon is an image I will not forget.
I put this, 1Q84 alongside James Joyce 's Ulysses, each explores the limitations of the spoken or written word and deliver human experience of this world.
The story sets up so many intriguing scenarios that you want to keep reading, the female role was completely repetitive and annoying at times but it was still enough to keep on. It was on the verge of becoming an intricately bound novel with multiple layers, instead it fell flat in almost all plot lines, Characters appear & disappear,they suggest a larger story which is then left mostly untouched, yes there are 2 moons we get it!.I got to the end and went back through the book again to see if I missed any chapters?????
The ability to finish, far to long and repetitive in the main points.
The magnitude of Murakami's work and his attention to detail made this a pleasurable experience. I first read the novel - Books 1 to 3 - when it was released as one volume in 2010. To revisit it now as an audio novel was like hearing an old friend's voice once more.
The complexity of the story, its story-within-a-story concept and the wonderful way the two protagonists were narrated by Alison and Marc, were the highlights for me rather than one specific point. The subtle references and repeated themes were cleverly woven into the story and you couldn't help but become filled with hope for Tengo and Aomame as they seek out one another.
The narrators were magnificent and the use, towards of end, of both protagonists' 'voices' made their final union all the more special.
Long, complex, unforgettable and real value for money. This is an excellent audio book and I highly recommend '1Q84' to the Audible audience.
The magical world of Murakami pulls you in. I found myself looking up at the sky, searching for that second moon.
The narrators gave life and depth to each of the characters in a way that made the story come to life.
Deeply moving and brilliant storyline. You must read or listen to this book. Even at 46+ hours you don't want it to end.
"Would not recommend it"
This was not my usual genre, but I was in the mood for something different. Took me six weeks to get through it, I somehow managed to stick with it. The woman narration is very slow and half way through I got the bright idea to increase the narration speed. I am glad I listened to this book, but I don’t think I will read any more from this author. The story does seem to ramble on and on, and very conveniently wraps up at the end. It didn’t blow me away that’s for sure
Having just discovered this author,I am amazed and delighted by his imagination. Beautifully written,I love the way this author makes the reader wait to discover what the book is actually about. The narration was excellent. I really hope this author has written a lot of books.
"Glad I did but won't again"
If I had known what to expect, I wouldn't have chosen this, just not my style. However, it was compelling and intriguing, well read and I'm pleased I now know Murakami's style.
Original but drawn out and repetitively slow. Characters ok but not entirely engaging. A reduction in narrative and an increase in pace would have improved this book massively.
"Intriguing, but needs editing and better narrators"
As many earlier reviewers have commented, there are two fundamental flaws with this audiobook. Firstly, the book itself is far too long. This is Murakami's fault rather than anyone else's, and ironic given the emphasis on literary editing in the Tengo half of the book. Actions and thoughts are described at excruciating length, then recapped again and again.
The second problem is the narrator of the Aomame chapters (half the book), whose af-fec-ted-ly arch delivery, stuttering through every syllable, would get on anyone's nerves after a few minutes, never mind 20+ hours.
One other issue is the Americanised translation and narration, which may also grate on British listeners. Also, the two narrators haven't even agreed on how to pronounce some key terms (e.g. Sakigake).
The narration is painful, and the plot is dreadful. It was so bad on so many levels that I started to find it funny.
"1Q84 by murakami"
this is another brilliant book by Haruki Murakami. I loved every minute of it. now i am going to listen to The Wind Up Bird again
a fantastical story wonderfully read by all three narrators.
My first Murakami. I've never read/heard story telling like this before. I am hooked!
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