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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

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.

Critic Reviews

"This imaginative, lengthy novel satisfies as a mystery, fantasy, and humorous coming-of-age tale—all blended with the vagaries of love and loss in a dystopia mired in strange cults and mathematical/musical dreamscapes. One surmises that it's no accident that the book's enigmatic title relates to George Orwell's 1984." (AudioFile)
“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,792
  • 4 Stars
    1,967
  • 3 Stars
    1,032
  • 2 Stars
    483
  • 1 Stars
    344

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    3,246
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    1,579
  • 3 Stars
    627
  • 2 Stars
    236
  • 1 Stars
    187

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,486
  • 4 Stars
    1,590
  • 3 Stars
    985
  • 2 Stars
    411
  • 1 Stars
    380
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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 04-18-12

I can't believe I listened to the whole thing...

And I don't know why. Maybe because I had already made it through about fifteen hours of pointless, over-written, repetitive boredom so that I was determined to discover why this industrial-strength long novel garnered such glowing reviews. And I didn't want to be left out of the intelligent appreciation club.

But...I literally walked away while the narration was going on and then would come back to be hearing the same monologue over and over again in every different form---the character thinks it, then the character does it, then the character thinks about it again, then the character talks to another character about it, then the character thinks about it... . I never missed anything.

And maybe it was the translation, but the constant (and I mean constant) repetition of the characters' names, over and over again, was truly irritating. Speaking of the translation, so much of this novel seemed so "Westernized" to me with little reference to anything Japanese except maybe food. That might have been purposeful, but it robbed the atmosphere of any Asian flavor. And don't get me started on the author's obsession with breasts and pubic hair.

I actually appreciate that others liked this novel, but it sure wasn't meant for me. I need to listen to something light and frothy where things actually happen.

I haven't read any of the author's other works, nor do I know anything about him except what the translators say at the conclusion, but I don't think I'm going to try.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 09-27-12

Er.... Unusual

1Q84 lives along the thin line between mysticism and spiritualism. It is a fantastical adventure through the author's musings about how emotions create reality. I don't know if it is the translators or the author but I did not get the sense that I was allowed to sink into the Japanese culture, but rather cruise a Europeanized/Americanized filtered vision of what might be Japan. It's disconcerting enough to break the reader's mood as are the too frequent allusions and name droppings of stuff the author's read. A couple of times I wondered if perhaps there was a bit of pretension here and there.

Now, do I recommend 1Q84... Well, yeah, I guess. But more for the plot than the blizzard of symbols and allegorical references. The story's compelling... haunting... hypnotic. And well... unusual. You know what? This very long novel is worth the time. I'll think about it... and perhaps feel about it... for a good long time. Which is what I'm thinking this whole experience was :-)

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Get on with it!

This is a book in need of an editor. It could easily be cut in half without losing a beat. I had a miserable time getting through it---the characters are bland, by design, as it is some sort of 1984 type saga. But really, once you get a handle on the personalities, nothing they do is unpredictable. I can't imagine taking this thing on in print.

There are interesting ideas. But to me, the book feels like it was written by a 17 year old with a good imagination but no real writing talent. Hey wait! That's the premise of the book "Air Head Chriswillbuythis". Well I did. I don't regret it but don't recommend it either.

Chris Reich

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Beau
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 04-18-12

Ungodly slow

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

Not if you paid me.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Ultimately, there isn't a character in this book I felt any connection to or compassion for. Each character is mind-numbingly introspective, yet they were all completely unlikeable for the things they do throughout the course of the story. Moreover, the characters never seem to change within the story - they seem to be animatronic props the author simply fiddles with the entire time. Finally I was also highly upset that this book ended so abruptly and with such a simple, cliche ending. There are simply so many loose ends that go unresolved that it's hard to call the book "finished" even though it was a bloated 40+ hour listen to get to the point where the author finally stopped writing. My advice, don't waste your time with this.

42 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stephen
  • Red Bluff, CA, United States
  • 02-03-13

Not much to connect with

the story was pleasant but not great. I could of rated it higher if it was a shorter book. But for a 46 hour book very little happens. The explicit talk about sex does not fill the gaps. There is even talk toward the end on gun control. How politically correct can you get. The writing was good and by that i mean the characters were well developed. Narration was great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jockomo
  • Sacramento, CA USA
  • 12-26-12

Tough to buy, even as fantasy

What would have made 1Q84 better?

You could cut the sappy stuff and the obvious product placements and make this a compact sci-fi thriller.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Maybe John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath"

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from 1Q84?

Too many to count. I just couldn't buy the "little people." I also struggled with how the characters dealt with the "second moon." Some of the writing was really hocky: the use of "It's Only a Paper Moon" lyrics in a grave situation just made me cringe. Finally, I accept product placement in novels, but I got tired of all the pimping

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Surreal. In other words...

This was a strange one. I was never bored, but the ending was not very compelling. A bit anti-climactic. There is a bit of sex throughout the book, so listen responsibly, kiddies!
I really enjoyed the narration. Both of the main narrators were soothing and gentle, and the third introduced late in the book was also very good.
Now, on to the biggest problem with this book. As many reviewers have pointed out, this book is repetitive. Here is an example (don't worry, it's not actual dialogue, just my impression of a typical conversation)
A: Are you hungry?
B: No, I already ate.
A: You already ate.
B: Yes
A:In other words, you put something in your mouth, chewed and swallowed?
B:That's right.
A: Was it good?
B: It was good.
A: In other words, You enjoyed it?
B: Yes.
A:Yes?
B: Yes.
A. In other words, you are stating an affirmative?
B:Yes.

This kind of conversation happened so many times, it may be responsible for an eighth of this book's length.
Though the story had some extremely moving moments, they were few and far between. It was different, though, that's for sure. My final analysis, the long journey is better than the destination.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kathleen
  • Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 09-29-12

Intriguing novel sort of a 1984 plot.

This is a very long book that took me months to read, but was worth it.
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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Lovely but missing resolutions....

What did you like best about 1Q84? What did you like least?

There are so many unanswered questions!!! Next to nothing was explained. I understand that the point overall is the enduring all encompassing love, but just have so many questions. What in the world were the little people? What was their purpose? What was the Voice? What in the F???? I was disappointed that nothing at all was explained about the world of 1Q84. The love between Tengo/Aomame was touching but I wanted a more in-depth trip into this strange world of 1Q84 and did not get it.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was rather good for all narrators. Despite the insanely long passages they kept me interested.

Was 1Q84 worth the listening time?

Only if you go in knowing THIS IS A LOVE STORY - not really heavy on sci-fi fun/action/fantasy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Marquis DeSade meets Alice thru the Looking Glass

OK it's an epic. Initially I thought this would be a good a good mystery adventure but after the first 10 hours it got predictable. Now the world says this is a masterpiece. I just can't buy all the jerking off discussion and gratuitous sex. This is no Steinbeck. Pass on this one

11 of 13 people found this review helpful