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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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  • 1 Stars
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Performance

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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 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
  • Patricia
  • Matthews, NC, United States
  • 05-04-12

1Q84 - A pleasant surprise.

Where does 1Q84 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

1Q84 ranks in my top 10 of audiobooks.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1Q84?

Many of the scenes with Tango were memorable to me. I found his character interesting and very likable. I enjoyed the part when he told the story of the Cat Town to his father.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I believe the narration brought to life the level of loneliness that was present in the many of the characters. I'm not sure I would have been able to sense that as much if I had only read the text.

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

This was not a book I wanted to listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This was a very long listen, but worthwhile. There were times when I found myself saying or thinking the names of the players just going through the day. My only complaint is that Murakami left a lot of unanswered questions. I wish that the story had tied up a few more loose ends.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing book

What did you love best about 1Q84?

The plot.

What did you like best about this story?

Human characters

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

Yes

Any additional comments?

This book captivated me from the start. I am not a big fun of the Si-Fi. But this story got me in and I was listening all my free time.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Gabriel
  • Duluth, GA, United States
  • 05-03-12

Why all the hype?

I listened to the entire book to make sure I wasn't missing any major plot twists or surprise endings. There were neither. The book plods along for 46 hours with no real tension. The characters are flat, and even when shocking things were happening in the book, I didn't feel a sense of tension.

Perhaps I missed the finer allusions, and lost some of the Japanese cultural references, but I did not like this story. I thought it was long and boring. Do yourself a favor, get "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. Just as long and far more engaging.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story to many commercial breaks.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It's a good story, but after the fist few hours felt like it was discovery Channel, that re hashes everything after every commercial break. I kept on saying to my car radio " Ok We know that already let's get on with the story !!".
Luckily the Audible app has double speed, helped to get thru the commercials.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It's as if it was written with TV in mind, I'd find a better way to jump between characters and not re hash every move.

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

no

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

No

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Japanese literature

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

Murakami's use of similes and metaphors is extraordinary. One that stands out is "he stood out like a bug walking across yogurt." He did weave the three narratives together very well.

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

The ending was like so many other long novels, you feel like the author reached a point where he was tired of working on it and wanted to wrap it up very quickly.

Any additional comments?

1Q84 was three novels in one; however, each could not be told on its own. It reads like three separate novels because of the many,many repetitions. If they had edited more carefully, it would not have been so long. I got to the point where I was fastforwarding, something I never do. The plot was good; however, the way he ended it left many questions unanswered. With all of that said, since it was my first foray into contemporary Japanese literature, I did enjoy most of it. I am glad I listened to it versus reading it because I would have gotten hung up on much of the pronounciations.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Disapointment

This very long book had a number of story lines that were interesting at some point, but which fell flat or just petered out. The conclusion left me thinking, "...I just listened to 47 hours of storytelling and the best you can give me is two grade school kids who were fated to be together?". The book made some feeble attempts at being thought provoking and asking interesting questions, but these were short lived, with the story soon headed off in other, more banal directions. Even the fantasy aspects of the novel were never developed. The writing and performance kept me engaged to the end, but there is no part of the story that I am glad to have experienced.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Incredible and fantastic!

Would you listen to 1Q84 again? Why?

I would re-listen again, just like to re-visit the people and intriguing places created so fully here.

What did you like best about this story?

The unfolding of the story is done by adding layers, as if the creation of the story is happening in real time. The listener becomes a co-creator as discoveries are made in the narrative. This is brilliant storytelling.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Aomame was complex in her background, yet the simplicity and innocence was conveyed in every word. Her sections were my favorite.

Any additional comments?

There is a lot here - 40+ hours of narration - but the slow unfurling is very enjoyable (and peculiar - it is Murakami after all!). Ultimately, despite the oddness of some elements, it is a wonderfully humanistic story, with heart - and love!

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  • Performance
  • Story

Strange weird interesting

Would you listen to 1Q84 again? Why?

I would probably not listen again. Simply the story gets off to a slow start and the convergence doesn't happen until a third way through, which is quite frustrating. The audio is also very long meaning the week investment is something that would probably be at the end of the queue for listening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1Q84?

The playground scene at the end of the book. The female and male voice playing off each other was epic and was an unexpected and nice surprise.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

To be honest, I would rather think I would enjoy it better if I read it myself rather than listen. The narrators read so slowly and are pretty dry.

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

Probably none, because every character is probably not one you'd want to meet in real life. The character quirks are what makes the story, but I can't help but think that they are pretty insane.

Any additional comments?

The story is worth listening to. The fantasy elements are unlike anything I've read or listened to and the depth of the characters and their story lines are very interesting.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Vaguely familiar

What did you love best about 1Q84?

Is it science fiction, phantasy or a bit of both? Perhaps it is philosophy in disguise of either or both. Story is unique, and somewhat familiar. I think Haruki may have used an older story line and dressed it up. He does have tendency to repeat himself, but when he does is to bring something new or to add another twist to it. Isn't life like that? Novel is long and dragged out. It does carry you on and there is a mystery that gets revealed painstakingly slowly, and by the time it does I didn't even care, I was so mesmerized by the whole thing not to even care. By that time I was immersed in the reality and trying to figure out how did it inspire this work.

Listening to this work made me get a book on history of philosophy, which enlightened to me some of the far fetched images Haruki introduces. This made it interesting and I wish the book wasn't that long I would like to listen to it in a condensed form which retains some of the main storie lines. Wonder if we could get that version.

If you???ve listened to books by the authors before, how does this one compare?

I like his short stories better. This novel doesn't really use it's size to develop the saga it could do. Instead it mulls and rehashes the same precepts as if we needed to be reminded or that it is important, which isn't really in the perspective of the whole novel.

What about the narrators???s performance did you like?

It was a good listen. I didn't have any problem with it.

If you could rename 1Q84, what would you call it?

Title does not really inspire me to want to read it. The reference to 1984 is really not supported since it does not develop new society, it is suggested that what happens it is personal and psychological and relevant to only few.

I would call it "Two moons". This title would suggest scifi, phantasy and psychology, and discovery would be that philosophy is interwoven and plays a role in the story line. And in the end it is romance and relationships that are of a mystery to be decoded, which Haruki is really trying to do.

Any additional comments?

I was under its spell for a week while driving cross country. It is easy to listen and deceptively easy to understand, but it does not give you any answers on how to live life. There are few jems hidden and it is worth listening to.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • April
  • Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 04-22-12

What was the point?

What would have made 1Q84 better?

Addressing the plot that was created. I spent the whole book waiting to understand 1Q84 and the little people and everything the author spent sooooooo much time on only for those points to be ignored. The book could really have been 1/4 of the length. There was so much repetition and very long excerpts from other "novels". It really felt like Murakami was trying to achieve length at the cost of quality.

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

I would be hard pressed.

How could the performance have been better?

The only narrator I could really tolerate was the voice of Tengo. The female narrator has been reviewed enough on this board and the other make narrator had a tendency to whisper. I found this so distracting I almost stopped listening to the book when he started speaking.