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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
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    2,847
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    1,990
  • 3 Stars
    1,039
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    488
  • 1 Stars
    344

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 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...

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Mary
  • The Dalles, OR, United States
  • 05-15-12

Irony of a Poorly Written Book

In the year 1Q84, we are introduced to two parallel stories. In one, author Tengo revises an extremely poorly written book-- helping it to win a writing contest and become a best seller. Oh, how I wish he could have revised 1Q84! I am unsure if the problem comes from having the voices of two separate translators, or if this was just a truly poorly written book. A good editor could have reduced the download by at least ten hours and nothing would have been lost. In fact, I skipped one entire section and still could follow the tedious redunancy. One of the most irritating aspects was the repetition of thoughts, facts and actions echoed by the characters both aloud and in their thoughts. Originally the book was published as a three book serial in Japan. A good editor could have removed much of the unnecessary repetition--especially for the audible version. The book within the book was described as "awkward but with great promise." Unfortunately, the same could be said for this download.

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  • VB
  • 05-14-12

Sexually Explicit Content

Would you listen to 1Q84 again? Why?

I would not listen to this story again. I think Murakami wrote better books and the sexually explicit content made me uncomfortable.

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

I liked three stories that converge in the end.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Each of the narrators did a wonderful job at making each character distinct.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wow!

Murakami creates this hauntingly strange world with sticky characters that capture the imagination, both the plot and each character is a mixture of light and shadows, enough of a plot to keep me intrigued.

I have only read the WindUp Girl and that book was only ok for me, so I did not understand they hype about Murakami, now I am so glad I took another chance and read this!

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  • Mark
  • Spring, TX, United States
  • 05-12-12

Twisting Plot, Disappointing Conclusion

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Explain more of the twists;- What happened to Tengo's mother- Why did the Nurse in Cat Town die once- Etc.
Maybe I'm just missing something?

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

Could have been shorter - lots of tangents

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The odd female narration fits well with the unusual story line.The male narration is a welcome relief though - interwoven with the the female.

Do you think 1Q84 needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I think it needs one - lots of unanswered questions.But not sure I could wade thru a follow up....

Any additional comments?

Lots of loose ends left at the conclusion of the story.Who the heck was the NHK Collector knocking on peoples doors? The ghost of Tengo's father????

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  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing, compelling, literary!

I'm not much for Sci-Fi though I do enjoy Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut. So I hesitated to try this one. Until I heard someone read Chapter 1 on a Selected Shorts podcast and became intrigued. I thoroghly enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end.
The seemingly slow pace was perfect for the very interior quality of the story. We really get to know the main characters through their thoughts. The shifts of perspective among the characters were well timed, not confusing. I thought I might have trouble with the Japanese names so I started out writing them down but there was no need--they were different enough and each character had such unique distinguishing features that it was no problem!

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  • Allison
  • NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA, United States
  • 05-11-12

meh, then good, then disappointing

This is my third Murakami book, and I'll be taking a break for a while. I find the supernatural in his books entertaining, but when he relies so heavily on it, and doesn't wrap it up in the end, I'm disappointed.
It took a while for me to get into this book, in the middle I thoroughly enjoyed it, then the ending left me wanting resolutions for plot points I thought were important elements to the story. Oh well, moving on now.

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  • Story

Enjoyable but lengthy

When trying to remember how the various incidents and events of the story were connected, I realized that the book could have been half its length and still surreal and atmospherical. However, it remains an excellent and unique book, definitely recommended, unless you get bored or impatient too quickly.