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.
I enjoyed being enthralled in this quirky, suspenseful story of a bizarre journey between the year 1984 and 1Q84. All the characters are totally unique, and constantly in danger of meeting or in danger of not meeting. It left me wondering what if, and what about... So it was great value all round.
It seems to me like the book is a take on the modern version of 'Alice in the Wonderland' The story itself is rather absurd and one keeps waiting for it to develop. It takes so long to get there, that it becomes a little painfull at times.
The performance is excellent and for all the characters.
Somehow mesmerising in its simplicity and purity of form. Poetic and full of symbolism and allegories.
Unnecessarily long, but cannot say I did not enjoy listening to it.
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.
"Murakami sparkles as ever"
The publicity surrounding this novel has attracted listeners and readers who have not read Murakami's work before and the negative reviews that some of them have posted here are to be expected. He is not going to be everyone's idea of mesmerizing. But to me and others with whom his writings resonate he is long overdue a Nobel prize for literature.
1Q84 is rather orderly and less fantastical that his other novels but no less gripping. It works on a number of levels - his characters are still social misfits trying to fit in or trying to figure out if they even should, the plot weaves the mundane and dream-like fantasy into a single confused strand of narrative, and violence and sex create their endless ambiguities and problems for the participants.
The sex, whilst often graphic, makes an important point about the the hero and heroine that becomes clearer as the novel progresses. Indeed, the novel displays the triumph of true love over physical loving in a world where the latter has by and large eclipsed the former.
Morality is expertly examined as the novel continues to pose the question as to how to assign right and wrong to any given action, the means or the end; and, like anyone else who has engaged with ethics, never really finds it possible to make a final judgement.
Whilst the book is hardly fast-paced, it is a surprisingly good page-turner and the narration is just fine. It's rather flat in places, failing to deliver the right inflections, but Allison, Marc and Mark are suited to the characters they depict and the shortcomings are easily forgiven.
Every time I finish Murakami novel I can't wait to listen to another. Given how weird they can be, I do wonder what that might say about me! Whenever I try to explain his books to my wife she says, "you're not selling it to me." Perhaps his novels are best consumed by restless, inquiring souls. But I would urge everyone to at least try one. If you like it, then it will open up a whole library of joy.
"Story sneaks up on you, so don't give up too soon"
This story starts slowly, but I enjoyed the detailed writing about Japanese society. Suddenly I didn't want to stop listening, I needed to know what happened. I will certainly download more by this author. Don't give up on this as it gets better and better.
"Worth more than it's weight in 'whoa'"
I had the unique opportunity to read this as a proof prior to it's release. I was absolutely blown away by the imagination of Murakami. Upon logging in and seeing the book has become available here, I didn't even hesitate purchasing it despite my normal rule of never listening to a book I have read.
"Strange insight into the Japanese way of life"
Different, interesting, engaging
Aomame on the Expressway, about to contemplate suicide.
Allison Hiroto totoally convinced me that she knew Aomame inside out.
Mark Vietor showed the personal struggles that Tengo faced, and Mark Boyett's baddie was great.
No as it was way too long.
It made me Google places, recipes, and the Tokyo expressway on Streetview!
I have a long journey to commute to work and decided to join Audible to fill some usually dead time in the car. I started with Stephen Fry's recent autobiography as I love his fiction. Having finished this, I decided to choose something different to my usual taste in fiction, opting for the sci-fi & fantasty genre.... I checked the reviews on Amazon for this book and they were mixed, but the synopsis made me curious.
I have been utterly fascinated by the tale so far. I'm on Chapter 7 and find my time in the car is now the highlight of my day! I love the narration and the story is gripping. The realism of the tale kind of lulls me into a false sense of security, before shaking me with surreal, sublime and actual jaw-dropping moments. The semi-passive experience of listening to a story being read to you is far more jarring and engaging experience when the tale is such a brilliant one.
I would thoroughly recommend this to all but the most prudish and narrow-minded. If you enjoy a diverse taste in fiction you can't fail to love this.... even though I haven't finished the book I would heartily suggest you try this yourself :Dbeta inappVoteInfo
"First book I ever gave up on."
I've never given up on a book before, let alone so near to the end but I realised that after a plot which moved forward so glacially slow that I had literally fallen asleep listening to it more than once - I honestly didn't care how the story finished or what happened to the very dull characters involved in it. I've read thousands of books and listened to maybe a hundred audio books of varying sizes (I usually aim for the epic-length ones though) and I've never given up on anything before - I just didn't expect the "climax" of this one to be any more than tepid like the rest of the story had been. The narrators I think were also poorly cast - not that they are poor narrators individually but they both have a very dry and gentle tone so that the two of them together left the delivery feeling very bland.
"Murakami by numbers and much, much too long..."
I found a four hour chunk towards the end of this to be suspenseful and absorbing, but otherwise this is dull. I've read a lot of Japanese literature in translation and am comfortable with some of the cool strangeness of it, but it's obvious from the beginning of this that getting the English edition and the audio out quickly was more important to the publisher than editing well and getting a good translation: the language is clunky, repetitive in an ugly way, the speech and dialogue unconvincing: I just can't believe the original prose was like that. The two male narrators were fine, but Allison Hiroto's reading was laboured and in places horribly overacted and I found her voice really irritating. The book contains many of Murakami's trademark motifs, and his imagination amazes me, always. If he'd written this as a hardboiled thriller (a style he borrows from a lot) and had the book been one third of the length, it would have been fantastic, but as it is this is tiring and ultimatley not very satisfying to listen to. Not worth 46 hours of anyone's time...
"Dreadful narration makes this a difficult listen"
Audiobooks depend on good readers to work, for obvious reasons. Sadly Allision Hiroto bungles this one dreadfully. She's best described as 'cooky'. Her airy voice wafts around all over the place, and her delivery is so painfully slow as be quite maddening.
This is a long book, and I intend to suffer through the narration to finish it, but my goodness it can be hard work. Please Audible, get better readers.
"a bloated, self indulgant white elephant"
It is very rare i feel such disappointment in a novel. What a bloated white elephant, had i been reading i would have given up the will to see it through long before the end, but it is harder to justify giving up when somebody else is doing the work of reading for you. So the hours and the miles drifted by and i thought surely the pace will pick up soon or this must be leading to an epic finale, after all, if you expect your reader/listener to accompany you and invest so much time in your story then you should certainly reward their loyalty with a worthy finale, yet like the rest of the novel, it just fizzled out appologetically and i breathed a sigh of relief that our time together was finally over and i could move on. I am already forgetting the characters despite having spent so much time in their world, they were as wet as the story.
"Drags on pointlessly"
Long - you get your monies worth.
Quirky and imaginative - makes you think for the first few hours.
Long - it drags on and on with no real progression in the story.
Boring and unlikeable characters - just my opinion, could just be a cultural thing I don’t get.
Despite the quirky 1q84 thing the book just began to bore me.
Annoying female narrator - her fairy like voice and odd rhythmic way of narrating drove me mad. The male narrators were ok.
To sum it up I'd say its Norwegian Wood meets Lost.
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