1Q84

Haruki Murakami
“Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers . . . But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” —The New York Times Book Review 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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-05-09
I desperately wanted to love this book. I love science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and strange cultural critiques—seems like a no brainer, right?

Wrong. It started slow, but I wanted to give it a chance. A third of the way in, I began to like it a bit more, inspiring me to continue. “Maybe this is different and weird enough that I’ll really learn something, and it’ll be worth the slog,” I thought.

Two-thirds through, though, I found myself dreading it. But when you’re 800 pages into a 1157 page book (IMHO) you’ve come too far. You have to find the “exit”, even if it’s a circuitous, confusing, and at times infuriating path to get there.

I respect the art, to some extent. And I’m still curious to read some of Murakami’s other (shorter) work. But 1Q84 just didn’t work for me, and I find myself wishing I’d listened to my gut earlier and invested this time elsewhere.
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