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: 2018-01-03
I have yet to try my hand at Murakami.
Reviewed: 2016-07-08
At 925 pages, this is an absolute cat-squisher of a book. I wasn't too worried because I’m a fangirl, and I figured the more, the better, right? Well, yes and no.

1Q84 is at once typical and atypical Haruki Murakami. His usual tropes – ears, cats, jazz records, awkward sex, missing women – all make an appearance, but almost like afterthoughts, as though he suddenly remembered, “Ah yes, I am Haruki Murakami, so at some point my main character must be fascinated by a woman’s ear.” But the story is unusual in that it is, first and foremost, a love story. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, then – very unusual for Murakami – boy finds girl again. Incidentally, love between boy and girl allows their escape from sinister religious group. That’s pretty romantic, in my opinion. He must be going soft in his old age.

Disappointingly, there weren’t many of the truly fantastic episodes that mark his best work, e.g. [b:Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|18115724|Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|Haruki Murakami|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1410778749s/18115724.jpg|2531376]. Murakami is famous for his flat writing style, but 1Q84 is especially sparse. There is so much of the mundane - cooking, exercising, drinking, writing, etc. - that without the flashes of magical realism to break it up, the story would really drag. I don't really understand why the book needs to be this long, but enough niggling questions were raised that I simply had to find out what happens next.

So even though it wasn’t the masterpiece that I hoped for, I did enjoy 1Q84. If you are a newbie, I wouldn’t recommend this to be the first Murakami that you read, but if you are already a fan, I say go for it!
Reviewed: 2015-09-30
So far I'm really enjoying this as I've enjoyed mostly everything by Murakami I've read previously. Bonus points for it being such a long audiobook (46 hours) and having two really good readers. The shifts into alternate realities have been rather subtle and the characters have reacted first with the belief that the differences in universes were always there and somehow they'd just overlooked them which seems an imminently reasonable response. I'm intrigued to see how the two characters will intersect as their paths are so different but also tinged with the tiniest of overlaps. Murakami's flat, matter of fact delivery is a deft tool to deliver the more incredible events in his fiction.

There was a moment where I started to flag in my concern for the two leads, as the action seemed to be in a holding pattern. It seems the author sensed this too, as a third narrative perspective started, and the book regained its early energy. But the end fell kind of flat for me. I don't want to give any spoilers but it all closed much sooner than it seemed the storyline required (at least as far as I was anticipating).
Item Posts
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@becandbones began #0000000001q00000... on 2015-02-23
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@cawilson118 completed #01q84... on 2017-01-16
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@cawilson118 began #01q84... on 2017-01-02