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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sonia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 05-13-12

Imagine if you were a character within a book...

Imagine how it would feel if you were a character within a narrative world - and knew it. To top it off the pesky author of the novel you live in keeps changing his mind. There are subtle differences in the way your world is articulated - mirroring the editing process.

There is a sense of melancholy in that some characters, such as the Leader, are unable to be something other than how they are figured in the narrative. He is restricted by this story world. His communiaction with the little people suggests his constructedness - he is aware of his fictionality - he knows he is merely a figment of an author's imagination, and is bound to do what the little people tell him to do.

I don't think I could get through this book by reading the print version. I've read a lot of Murakami's novels before, but this one is particularly long. In addition, there is a lot of layering to this novel, where there is the slightly nuanced repetition of story lines. It was nice listening to them- they are like the receding and returning tides of the ocean (yes, a weird simile, but you'll get what I mean if you listen long enough).

I highly recommend this to people who enjoy fantasy,science fiction, magic realism, narrative studies, Eng Lit majors, people who love Japan, Murakami, etc. etc.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Phillip
  • Lilyfield, Australia
  • 02-04-12

complex, surreal and very very long

I am a huge Murakami fan. I think his style is very suited to the audiobook format, especially as music features as almost another character. In addition to listening to the audiobook I also ended up downloading several songs, and searching for albums that the characters were listening to.

This is a vast novel, and if you have not encountered Murakami before, perhaps try something like the windup bird or a shorter story to begin with. For me, IQ84 is a wonderful story, that turns in on itself and was the perfect companion on a long hour long compute back and forward to the office.

It is a story about murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties but at its heart it is about love. It is wonderful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Blown away by this

OK this is not for Murakami virgins.
We have three voices. Same alternate world of two moons.Girl, Boy and a mystery.
I think the music is important, and I think Art is important. Intentional or not I see Jeffrey Smart in the freeway and steps and "Tiger in your Tank' signs.
A kind of shared dreamscape. A shared reality that does shift.While each voice connects, the shared experience of sitting on top of the slippery dip and looking at the two moon is an image I will not forget.
I put this, 1Q84 alongside James Joyce 's Ulysses, each explores the limitations of the spoken or written word and deliver human experience of this world.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • christ church, Barbados
  • 04-19-12

How many loose ends can one book have???

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

The story sets up so many intriguing scenarios that you want to keep reading, the female role was completely repetitive and annoying at times but it was still enough to keep on. It was on the verge of becoming an intricately bound novel with multiple layers, instead it fell flat in almost all plot lines, Characters appear & disappear,they suggest a larger story which is then left mostly untouched, yes there are 2 moons we get it!.I got to the end and went back through the book again to see if I missed any chapters?????

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

no

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

The ability to finish, far to long and repetitive in the main points.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

1Q84 - Romantic sci-fi saga by Murakami

phew. One has to say as great of an author as Murakami is this story is a little long winded and probably slightly over indulgent on the author's behalf. It's essentially a beatiful love story and worth reading of you have weeks to spare. it's not one of Murakami's best works but I'd be stunned if it wasn't the longest.

Anyone familiar with the author will recognise some of themes and characters that have been rehashed (somewhat aimlessly) here. Some of the story's subplots are a little tangient and never conclude (again somewhat typical of the author's spiritualistic stightly endulgent style. sometimes working in his favor).

Great translation I'm sure. A lot of skill and effort was out in by the team who made the audio production. Beautifully read. if it wasn't for this I would have given up after book one. Thank you.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Save yourself the effort

Ridiculously and unnecessary long and incredibly repetitive in the descriptive. The story line leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful weirdness

I enjoyed being enthralled in this quirky, suspenseful story of a bizarre journey between the year 1984 and 1Q84. All the characters are totally unique, and constantly in danger of meeting or in danger of not meeting. It left me wondering what if, and what about... So it was great value all round.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Elissa
  • Taperoo, Australia
  • 04-01-15

Long........

It seems to me like the book is a take on the modern version of 'Alice in the Wonderland' The story itself is rather absurd and one keeps waiting for it to develop. It takes so long to get there, that it becomes a little painfull at times.
The performance is excellent and for all the characters.
Somehow mesmerising in its simplicity and purity of form. Poetic and full of symbolism and allegories.
Unnecessarily long, but cannot say I did not enjoy listening to it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Oz Pom
  • WA, Australia
  • 12-01-14

Revisiting this novel was a real pleasure.

What made the experience of listening to 1Q84 the most enjoyable?

The magnitude of Murakami's work and his attention to detail made this a pleasurable experience. I first read the novel - Books 1 to 3 - when it was released as one volume in 2010. To revisit it now as an audio novel was like hearing an old friend's voice once more.

What did you like best about this story?

The complexity of the story, its story-within-a-story concept and the wonderful way the two protagonists were narrated by Alison and Marc, were the highlights for me rather than one specific point. The subtle references and repeated themes were cleverly woven into the story and you couldn't help but become filled with hope for Tengo and Aomame as they seek out one another.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The narrators were magnificent and the use, towards of end, of both protagonists' 'voices' made their final union all the more special.

Any additional comments?

Long, complex, unforgettable and real value for money. This is an excellent audio book and I highly recommend '1Q84' to the Audible audience.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story, excellent narrators

What did you love best about 1Q84?

The magical world of Murakami pulls you in. I found myself looking up at the sky, searching for that second moon.

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

The narrators gave life and depth to each of the characters in a way that made the story come to life.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 01-22-12

Murakami sparkles as ever

The publicity surrounding this novel has attracted listeners and readers who have not read Murakami's work before and the negative reviews that some of them have posted here are to be expected. He is not going to be everyone's idea of mesmerizing. But to me and others with whom his writings resonate he is long overdue a Nobel prize for literature.

1Q84 is rather orderly and less fantastical that his other novels but no less gripping. It works on a number of levels - his characters are still social misfits trying to fit in or trying to figure out if they even should, the plot weaves the mundane and dream-like fantasy into a single confused strand of narrative, and violence and sex create their endless ambiguities and problems for the participants.

The sex, whilst often graphic, makes an important point about the the hero and heroine that becomes clearer as the novel progresses. Indeed, the novel displays the triumph of true love over physical loving in a world where the latter has by and large eclipsed the former.

Morality is expertly examined as the novel continues to pose the question as to how to assign right and wrong to any given action, the means or the end; and, like anyone else who has engaged with ethics, never really finds it possible to make a final judgement.

Whilst the book is hardly fast-paced, it is a surprisingly good page-turner and the narration is just fine. It's rather flat in places, failing to deliver the right inflections, but Allison, Marc and Mark are suited to the characters they depict and the shortcomings are easily forgiven.

Every time I finish Murakami novel I can't wait to listen to another. Given how weird they can be, I do wonder what that might say about me! Whenever I try to explain his books to my wife she says, "you're not selling it to me." Perhaps his novels are best consumed by restless, inquiring souls. But I would urge everyone to at least try one. If you like it, then it will open up a whole library of joy.

45 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Helen
  • 04-16-12

Story sneaks up on you, so don't give up too soon

This story starts slowly, but I enjoyed the detailed writing about Japanese society. Suddenly I didn't want to stop listening, I needed to know what happened. I will certainly download more by this author. Don't give up on this as it gets better and better.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Abigail
  • 11-26-11

Exceptional *****

I have a long journey to commute to work and decided to join Audible to fill some usually dead time in the car. I started with Stephen Fry's recent autobiography as I love his fiction. Having finished this, I decided to choose something different to my usual taste in fiction, opting for the sci-fi & fantasty genre.... I checked the reviews on Amazon for this book and they were mixed, but the synopsis made me curious.

I have been utterly fascinated by the tale so far. I'm on Chapter 7 and find my time in the car is now the highlight of my day! I love the narration and the story is gripping. The realism of the tale kind of lulls me into a false sense of security, before shaking me with surreal, sublime and actual jaw-dropping moments. The semi-passive experience of listening to a story being read to you is far more jarring and engaging experience when the tale is such a brilliant one.

I would thoroughly recommend this to all but the most prudish and narrow-minded. If you enjoy a diverse taste in fiction you can't fail to love this.... even though I haven't finished the book I would heartily suggest you try this yourself :Dbeta inappVoteInfo

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • HappyLuckyAlix
  • 05-02-12

Murakami by numbers and much, much too long...

I found a four hour chunk towards the end of this to be suspenseful and absorbing, but otherwise this is dull. I've read a lot of Japanese literature in translation and am comfortable with some of the cool strangeness of it, but it's obvious from the beginning of this that getting the English edition and the audio out quickly was more important to the publisher than editing well and getting a good translation: the language is clunky, repetitive in an ugly way, the speech and dialogue unconvincing: I just can't believe the original prose was like that. The two male narrators were fine, but Allison Hiroto's reading was laboured and in places horribly overacted and I found her voice really irritating. The book contains many of Murakami's trademark motifs, and his imagination amazes me, always. If he'd written this as a hardboiled thriller (a style he borrows from a lot) and had the book been one third of the length, it would have been fantastic, but as it is this is tiring and ultimatley not very satisfying to listen to. Not worth 46 hours of anyone's time...

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • P. J. Williams
  • 02-26-12

Too slow for me

Seems an ok storyline but the pace and the narrator just don't work for me, got a couple of hours into it but have given up. Could well be as good as its reported to be but it doesn't work for me as a story for driving to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. E. Brewington
  • 10-29-11

Worth more than it's weight in 'whoa'

I had the unique opportunity to read this as a proof prior to it's release. I was absolutely blown away by the imagination of Murakami. Upon logging in and seeing the book has become available here, I didn't even hesitate purchasing it despite my normal rule of never listening to a book I have read.

57 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mordy
  • 02-23-12

First book I ever gave up on.

I've never given up on a book before, let alone so near to the end but I realised that after a plot which moved forward so glacially slow that I had literally fallen asleep listening to it more than once - I honestly didn't care how the story finished or what happened to the very dull characters involved in it. I've read thousands of books and listened to maybe a hundred audio books of varying sizes (I usually aim for the epic-length ones though) and I've never given up on anything before - I just didn't expect the "climax" of this one to be any more than tepid like the rest of the story had been. The narrators I think were also poorly cast - not that they are poor narrators individually but they both have a very dry and gentle tone so that the two of them together left the delivery feeling very bland.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mendo Shutaro
  • 12-08-11

Dreadful narration makes this a difficult listen

Audiobooks depend on good readers to work, for obvious reasons. Sadly Allision Hiroto bungles this one dreadfully. She's best described as 'cooky'. Her airy voice wafts around all over the place, and her delivery is so painfully slow as be quite maddening.

This is a long book, and I intend to suffer through the narration to finish it, but my goodness it can be hard work. Please Audible, get better readers.

41 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • TheoryTestNovel
  • 01-30-12

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.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-16-13

Strange insight into the Japanese way of life

If you could sum up 1Q84 in three words, what would they be?

Different, interesting, engaging

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

Aomame on the Expressway, about to contemplate suicide.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Allison Hiroto totoally convinced me that she knew Aomame inside out.
Mark Vietor showed the personal struggles that Tengo faced, and Mark Boyett's baddie was great.

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

No as it was way too long.

Any additional comments?

It made me Google places, recipes, and the Tokyo expressway on Streetview!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr. Jeannette Kavanagh
  • 03-20-17

Third time around even better.

I've read this book twice before listening to it. The narration was perfect and made the work more entrancing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 09-25-15

Struggled to finish. Unnecessarily Long.

Too repetitive. The story was interesting but I kept thinking 'I get it already' . His short stories are better. The male narrator was good, the female no so much. I felt that this was a kids story trying to be adult literature. a bit pretentious ..would be a fantastic anime.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 05-20-15

I loved this book

This was an amazing storytelling the narrators brought the characters to life
I have never read a translation from Japanese and I must say I loved it and are now searching for similar works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tessa
  • 02-14-15

Captivated the entire time

The narration for this story is very well done, the book is so large and daunting that I don't think I could have maintained reading it as regularly as I did when listening to this audiobook. I love hearing the surreal and detailed descriptions and listening to this book provided a very convenient means of escape during the work week.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-18

long and surreal

A typical Murakami surrealist journey. so much detail... he said, she said etc etc and alot of repition. great to listen to however as an audiobook while working or pre occupied with some monotonous task.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-18

Beautiful story told with patience and care

For me 1Q84 is about falling in love with the details. Aomame, one of the protagonists, is a very detail oriented person and so Murakami (the author) spends time to paint a picture of various elements of her world. At time this might seem like too much detail, but it serves a purpose and reinforces the joy of resolving the subplots.
The book is beautifully narrated, giving the work a quality of a life performance. Especially the last few chapters, where both Tengo and Aomame get a chance to speak, are really touching.
Overall a wonderful book with great narration.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M Kelly
  • 04-20-18

Disappointing and clumsy

It read like a teenage boy had written large parts. I don't know any women who think about their own breasts half as much as the female characters in 1Q84. My eyes were nearly rolling out of my head by the end.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Justinecs
  • 01-24-18

Long strange but intriguing

Murakami at his most detailed and strangest. It seemed to go on a bit too much but it was still enjoyable. I found it very well narrated .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MFR
  • 01-19-18

Long ride - but worth it.

If you could sum up 1Q84 in three words, what would they be?

Long surreal romance.

What did you like best about this story?

Multiple viewpoints of different characters converging.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The meeting of Tengo and Aumame.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Beware the town of cats.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lily
  • 10-02-17

Interesting story, very long but worth it

I did this this story was very long and in some points repetitive but overall I really enjoyed it. The narration was excellent and very entertaining and the story is really intricate and woven together tightly, much like murakami's other novels such as Kafka on the Shore and The Wind up Bird.