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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
    1,966
  • 3 Stars
    1,032
  • 2 Stars
    483
  • 1 Stars
    344

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,244
  • 4 Stars
    1,580
  • 3 Stars
    627
  • 2 Stars
    236
  • 1 Stars
    187

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,486
  • 4 Stars
    1,589
  • 3 Stars
    985
  • 2 Stars
    411
  • 1 Stars
    380
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • deborah
  • Saint Paul, MN, United States
  • 05-27-12

CHRISTIAN OVERTONES?

What did you love best about 1Q84?

The story brought the reader back and forth between alternate universes. The sense of time shifting kept me engaged and curious about how they tied together. It was like switching from one language to another for a new speaker of a language.

What did you like best about this story?

I was intrigued by the Christian themes of rebirth, immaculate conception and naive faith. I remain curious about these aspects of the book and continue to mull them over in my mind well after reading the book. I find it odd for Murakami and I am intrigued by it.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

At first the narrators drove me nuts but they became endearing to me as I became pulled further and further into their lives.

If you could take any character from 1Q84 out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would find it difficult to eat with any of them for fear of being swept away into another reality.

Any additional comments?

Be patient as it takes a bit to get pulled into this book but once the magnet gets you it is difficult to let go.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

It unfolds.

Would you listen to 1Q84 again? Why?

The first time through you listen to it in a rush because you want to know where it's going to go next. I'd listen to it for a second time to pick up on the finer interweaving of the story.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was both surprised (which is good, I don't like predictable) but also I felt like that's where it had to end. I like how the author didn't tie up all the details. He left the reader/listener to think on these and come up with their own ideas.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've never listened to these narrators but I think they did a wonderful job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It was an easy book to listen too but long.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jessica
  • PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA, United States
  • 05-23-12

Sorely disappointed

Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

Absolutely not.

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

Disappointment. I was very unhappy with the story.

Any additional comments?

I only listened to the first couple hours. I was so disappointed with the book that I never finished it. I wish that I had been able to return it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • Groton, MA, United States
  • 05-23-12

Time I'll Never Get Back

Any additional comments?

The style of the book was stiff and the story line was equally so. I only listened to the remainder of the book out of the same curiosity that a bad car accident brings on my ride to work. Save yourself from this car wreck.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An Imaginative world, without a strong storyline.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The first half of this novel was very engaging and descriptive. I enjoyed every moment listening. The details were vivid and interesting and the ideas were imaginative. The second half unraveled some of the mystery of the first half, but then left me restless to get to the end.

Would you be willing to try another book from the authors? Why or why not?

Possibly. I think the novel was too long for the story, so I might consider trying a shorter novel.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first performance I have heard from these narrators. I enjoyed them very much and felt their range of voices was convincing.

Could you see 1Q84 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I can not imagine this as a movie or series that would not fizzle part way through.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Could have been half as long

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

It was a good deal in that it was very long for the 1 book credit. On the other hand, it wasn't all that great. If Murakami wasn't such a famous author I would guess an editor would have cut out half of the book. It was repetitive and the story was pretty silly.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I enjoyed the strong female character but felt the whole story was was pretty ridiculous.

Could you see 1Q84 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I'm sure it could be made into a movie--it read like it was written to be ready to be a movie.

Any additional comments?

I'm glad I was listening and not putting in the hours reading the actual book! I would have really felt like I wasted my time if I had.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent until the last half

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The first part was good, kept you on the edge of your seat wondering what where and how. However the second part the cohesiveness of the story fails badly! It feels like two different books, and a lot of the characters you grew to know and care about just simply go poof with out any detailed explanation. I kept waiting for the author to bring all the strange events together with some type of glue, but... 47 hours of anticipation and I am left flat. I feel like I got cheated.. seriously that's the only way to describe the feeling your left with...

Has 1Q84 turned you off from other books in this genre?

No but problay this author

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

N/A

Did 1Q84 inspire you to do anything?

Yeah wish I had my 47 hours of listening back so I could apply it to a book better written

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Emily
  • United States
  • 05-18-12

no good, terrible, awful!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

this wasn't a good story...maybe it"s a cultural thing, but it lacked imagination, creativity, and mostly continuity! i would not waste a credit or 46 hours of your time on this book!

What could the authors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

the story is terrible and down right strange....there's no twist or exciting ending....it's really terrible!

How did the narrator detract from the book?

the narrators were fine....it's the story that just simply doesn't make any sense...it just never comes together....i warn you....don't do it!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

the narrators were ok and the premise could have developed into something good....it's super repetitive and spends countless hours on pointless boring details...

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Slow as molasses...

I really do not understand all of the overly positive reviews for this book. There is a creepy and creative storyline, way down deep in this book somewhere, but it is smothered by childish body fixations and overly verbose descriptions of unnecessary details that, ultimately, go no where.

It seems like a lot of people have been convinced that this is one of those books one "must" like, because I honestly don't understand the appeal otherwise. There are some really creative characters and twists in here, but those are the least described pieces of the book...no joke, it is like 300 words to one in terms of coverage.

Especially ironic is that he keeps citing Chekov's "one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it," because he does EXACTLY the opposite throughout this book. A rubber tree here, a goldfish there, spiders over yonder, a piece a celery over there, a crazy drunken foursome sex romp that can't quite be remembered...none of which serve any purpose whatsoever, but take up PAGES.

If they ever come out with an abridged version, MAYBE go for that...just make sure it is only about 10 hours long, because that is all this "story" actually requires.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Still Thinking About It

First Considered 3 stars, but as the weeks go by, I find myself ruminating on the story at odd moments. Definitely an author to keep my eye on.