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)
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"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.
"Long - but kept me interested"
OK - so we have this 1Q84 universe and well - I expected more from the science - but the charaterisation and strory was pretty interesting - an insite into Japanese Westernised culture and quite fun. Worht a listen for sure.
If you like Murakami you will love this long, engaging and magical book. The characters, even the minor ones, are all interesting and original and draw you to them. Some of the professional reviewers said that the plot sagged in places but I did not find this and it maintained my interest throughout. The narration, while not quite of the quality of that of Wind Up Bird, does do the book justice. I did find, however, that in parts Allison Hiroto used the same intonation repeatedly (you'll recognise it when you hear it) and it just jarred a little. If you want a long, leisurely read and a gripping story full of
imagination, drama and surprise then read it. Sex scenes sometimes hilarious!
"Disappointing and Overlong"
I can see that this novel has some literary merit and I imagine that it has a greater significance in the cultural context of Japan. However, I found it a very disappointing audiobook. There is a story in there but it is far too long and embraces too much trivial and unnecessary detail. What might have been an epic was rather more of a bore. It was also spoilt by the narration - in particular, the female narrator seemed to treat the task as though it were a remedial reading class in primary school and I found her tone and delivery very irritating. I love audiobooks and this is the first one I have found disappointing.
"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.
"Overlong and under-planned"
OK - it sounds worth a credit given that it's 6 volumes of listening and if you're a Murakami fan, like me, it's an instant decision to download it. Beware! This is NOT Wind-up Bird Chronical. It sounds as if it's been made up as he went along - and couldn't work out where to stop. The characters are well done, as usual, but the plot is thin and takes hours to get nowhere, with endless repetitions. It needs a good edit certainly, but even then it probably isn't worth the effort.
Murakami's usual brilliant prose is lacking (possibly lost in translation, but nevertheless uninteresting) and the elements of magical realism are almost laughably rediculous. The story-within-a-story idea isn't strong enough to carry the novel and one wishes that there was some element of Vonnegut's Kilgour Trout (who, hilariously, realises that he is a character in a novel) humour in there. Sadly it's all rather dour and serious (unless you are laughing at it, rather than with it), even when the little people emerge from the mouth of a dead goat....
Anyway, my tip for Murakami lovers is to pass this one by and wait for the next...
PS - note for American audio narrators: "route" is not the same word as "rout"; "shone" rhymes with "gone", not with "bone"....
I've got through about six hours of this but am giving up- the narration goes from bland emotionless male narrator to 'bedtime story for six year olds' female narrator. I was willing to put up with it until the female character started to recap earlier events; they weren't that interesting the first time round.
"1Q84 welcome to this world"
Kept me listening for 5 weeks, addictive, not as surreal as some writers make out, belief is easily suspended.
An intimate glimpse into japanese society that most Westerners know little about. The whole novel isn't a 5 star for me, but that is not to detract from it, the readers were superb.
I got nearly halfway through this audiobook but gave up because the storyline was unrewarding and I found the sexualisation of school girls disturbing. I'm not referring to the rapes by 'Baddies' but by the protagonist Tengo's obsession with the pubescent and prepubescent form.
"Strange but adictive"
Only bought it because it features Allison Hiroto, but the story gripped from virtually the 1st sentence. Long, complex and slightly sureal but a wonderful book, wonderfully narrated by all three readers. Highly recommended.
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