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1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3

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1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3 PDF, ePub eBook The year is 1Q84. This is the real world, there is no doubt about that. But in this world, there are two moons in the sky. In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both. Something extraordinary i The year is 1Q84. This is the real world, there is no doubt about that. But in this world, there are two moons in the sky. In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both. Something extraordinary is starting.

30 review for 1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    I've decided that 2017 will be the year I take on my TBR "long list". I always find myself torn between the ever-growing pile of ARCs and recent releases I want to read, and those books I've been meaning to read forever but keep putting off. So I've decided to read a book from my "long list" alongside the ARCs/new releases I'm currently reading. 1Q84 got to be the first. Midnight's Children will be the second. And then - deep breath - on to Infinite Jest and maybe the rest of - gasp - In Search of Lost Time. As for I've decided that 2017 will be the year I take on my TBR "long list". I always find myself torn between the ever-growing pile of ARCs and recent releases I want to read, and those books I've been meaning to read forever but keep putting off. So I've decided to read a book from my "long list" alongside the ARCs/new releases I'm currently reading. 1Q84 got to be the first. Midnight's Children will be the second. And then - deep breath - on to Infinite Jest and maybe the rest of - gasp - In Search of Lost Time. As for 1Q84, for a 1100+ page book, it was extremely readable. Very easy to dip in and out of in a way that I suspect some of the others on my list won't be. The translation is perfectly smooth. I enjoyed the story and the characters, especially Aomame, who is a total badass and spends her spare time disposing of men who are violent towards women. It's really hard to explain what it's about. Several people have spotted me reading this beast and have expressed curiosity over the story and I'm like "Um, so it's kind of a magical realism dystopia set in 1984 with parallel universes, religious cults, and a love story". Well, I guess that about sums it up. The story moves between the perspectives of Aomame who "offs" abusive men, and Tengo who is an aspiring novelist. Though their stories are separate for the most part, it becomes apparent as the tale unfolds that Aomame and Tengo's pasts - and futures - are entwined. Aomame's "job" leads her toward the religious cult, Sakigake, and Tengo agrees to participate in a rewrite of a novel - Air Chrysalis - by Fuka-Eri, a young woman who escaped said religious cult. The rewriting of the book sparks many strange events, as the plot gives up some of Sakigake's darkest secrets. As parts of Air Chrysalis start to bleed into reality, we see that this might not be the world it always was; that at some point, something changed, and 1984 became 1Q84. I'm not going to lie to you - I have never read a 1100+ page book that didn't waffle on in parts, and this one is no exception. There are times when Murakami's attention to detail, especially attention to the small behaviours of characters living alone, becomes too much, and repetitive. I grew tired of hearing about Aomame's dissatisfaction with her breasts (sex, sexual desire and the human body are some of the major themes in Murakami's work). And yet, I looked forward to picking it up again. The story interested me. The characters interested me. I needed to know what would happen. One thing I can say for certain is that I've never read anything quite like it. 1Q84 is a bizarre blend of fantasy, religion, sex, and loneliness, and everything is connected in subtle ways. There's a whole lot of synchronicity, which in itself feels like an act of synchronicity, given the mentions of Carl Jung, who himself first explained the concept. But, most of all - and surprisingly - the story is romantic and hopeful. For a book that gets up to its neck in the bizarre and otherworldly, it was pleasing yet strange to see it all come back to a love story. Even a cold unromantic like me was convinced. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Myrtle

    I just finished 1Q84 and already I've begun to notice strange peculiarities in the world around me. As I closed the book and stood up, I looked around my shabby apartment. Same walls, same badly painted walls, same James Dean poster, but something seemed off. Something infinitesimal. The walls seemed closer or were they further away? And James, wasn't there a cigarette clasped between your lips before? Now you're just staring off into space with that amazing, casual air of indifference. I shut my ey I just finished 1Q84 and already I've begun to notice strange peculiarities in the world around me. As I closed the book and stood up, I looked around my shabby apartment. Same walls, same badly painted walls, same James Dean poster, but something seemed off. Something infinitesimal. The walls seemed closer or were they further away? And James, wasn't there a cigarette clasped between your lips before? Now you're just staring off into space with that amazing, casual air of indifference. I shut my eyes and shake my head. It's just the residual effect of Murakami's prose, I tell myself. Nothing more. I went about the rest of my day as usual but late that night I fell into a restless sleep. I had the strangest dream... I dreamt of him. You know... the one. The one I love. The one separated from me because of timing and distance and all the other inane trivialities that prevent us from taking the next logical step. In my dream he was reading 1Q84 as well. Well actually he was just finishing it, closing it with a self-satisfied thwack, for it is quite a tome. Then he just sat there, comtemplatively, his fingers steepled together in a pyramid under his chin. And suddenly I appeared there with him in my dream. I, like, just walked in from off-stage and sat down on the floor in front of him cross-legged. Is it weird to appear in your own dream? I don't know if that's ever happened to me before. Anyways, we just talked all night about 1Q84, about Tengo and Aomame, the star-crossed, NO moon-crossed lovers. We talked about the people they knew and loved. Ayumi, Komatsu and Tengo's dad. Tengo's married older lover. The dowager that befriends and mentors Aomame and her stoic level-headed gay bodyguard Tamaru. We discussed Fuka-Eri and the strange cult, Sakigake, she escaped, and the stranger story she wrote that Tengo had been hired to ghostwrite: Air Chrysalis. How this story acts as a catalyst for the whole novel, it gets is moving. Ushikawa, Leader, Buzzcut and Ponytail, Tsubasa, Professor Ebisuno, and the three nurses that Tengo meets. How he compares them to the witches from Macbeth. And so many literary references, it's like Murakami is name dropping! Dickens, Proust and Chekov- to name a few. And The Little People. How could we forget The Little People?! How they just appear strangely and build the elusive Air Chrysalis. The huge, womb-like, peanut-shaped, furry, glowing, egg thingy that materializes by their hands seemingly out of thin air. What does the Air Chrysalis represent? And how does it tie in with Sakigake and Fuka-Eri? And, utimately, what's inside it? But more than anything, as I looked up into the eyes of the man I adored, we spoke of love. How this is above all A Love Story, and an unbelievably hopeful one at that. Because in 1Q84 true love exists and it matters, it makes a difference! It obliterates obstacles, it takes on a life of it's own. And the connections that we make, that we forge, they last. They live and breathe. They are not ephemeral... they are not gossamer. And then I just woke up, the dream dissolved as abruptly as it began. Anyways after that I didn't really notice any changes in the world around me. James Dean looks normal to me now. But maybe I've just become accustomed to it all. I don't know what Murakami is tapped into, I don't know where his talent, his inspiration comes from, but it never fails to move me. There's an ease and an elegance to his prose. And it is absolutely, magnificently beyond beautiful. He defies classification... I could go on and on. He's a world class writer and this is a world class book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    I guess I can now write this review since I've settled down from doing a victory lap around my house as a result of completing this steaming pile of hot garbage. Maybe before I totally slam the book, I should say what I did like but to be honest there was very little to like. The plot wasn't bad. The love story & connection between Tengo & Aomame was somewhat cute. I could roll with all this. What blows my mind is that Murakami felt he needed 900+ pages to drag this whole shebang out. The p I guess I can now write this review since I've settled down from doing a victory lap around my house as a result of completing this steaming pile of hot garbage. Maybe before I totally slam the book, I should say what I did like but to be honest there was very little to like. The plot wasn't bad. The love story & connection between Tengo & Aomame was somewhat cute. I could roll with all this. What blows my mind is that Murakami felt he needed 900+ pages to drag this whole shebang out. The prose was so mundane and the narrative dragged on and on and on that it was difficult to accurately gauge the turning points and climax of the story. Oh, and let's not talk about the constant repetition and writing about wasting time while wasting my time because I'm reading about him writing about wasting time. Are you still with me? I enjoy mind-twisting and mind-bending elements in a novel but I need some sort of anchor to base these things on. Murakami introduces Sakigake, dohta, maza and the Little People yet he only explores the periphery of these concepts (especially the Little People! Murakami, please tell me who they are and what the deal is with them. Like seriously, I really want to know). So then the question is what did he use the 900+ pages for? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine because after this slugfest I remain completely and utterly bewildered. Things also happen in this novel just because. There is no explanation and very vague character development. Upon completion, I just felt I was left with nothing. Nothing. I've heard positive things about some of his other works but after this experience I cannot say when next I will be picking up another Murakami to read. It shall surely be awhile yet, if ever. ETA (on 24 January 2014 1:35AM Central European Time (CET) 1. By some miracle this review has garnered a boatload of likes. Thank you good people. 2. However, I must say I am tired of random people flocking over to the comment section to (loudly) voice their disagreement, question my reading choices, question why I finished the book and just generally be condescending. This is my review space. I read the book, didn't like it and expressed it all in a review. If you disagree and you loved it, that's absolutely fine. Use your own review space to worship it. Don't come to mine and be a nuisance. 3. Goodreads, please introduce the option to lock the comment section of specific reviews for the love of God. ETA (on 10 February 2014 12:30AM Central European Time (CET) 1. On January 31 2014 Goodreads honored my request and locked this review. 2. I am grateful that Goodreads honored my request and even though I am aware of the setting that blocks non-friends from commenting on my reviews that still seems to me to be an extreme option. I'm not averse to non-friends commenting on my reviews. I would just like the option to lock certain reviews to prevent them from descending into an unnecessary bitch fest from non-friends like this one did prior to the lock.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marius

    So, Love transcends dimensions... And something interesting:

  5. 5 out of 5

    Arielle Walker

    1Q84 is undoubtedly the biggest literary let-down I have ever come across. The synopsis and plot outline sound fascinating, the reviews have been glowing - am I (trying to) read a different 1Q84 than everyone else? Apparently not, judging by the far-too-few reviews that sum up my feelings towards this nothing of a book. One of my favourite lines from one of my favourite of these few reviews is as follows, from theatlantic.com: "It's hard to believe that some of the critics praising 1Q84 didn't really f 1Q84 is undoubtedly the biggest literary let-down I have ever come across. The synopsis and plot outline sound fascinating, the reviews have been glowing - am I (trying to) read a different 1Q84 than everyone else? Apparently not, judging by the far-too-few reviews that sum up my feelings towards this nothing of a book. One of my favourite lines from one of my favourite of these few reviews is as follows, from theatlantic.com: "It's hard to believe that some of the critics praising 1Q84 didn't really feel, at times, like throwing the book in the air and walking away. Trying to say anything definite about it is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. (Even the title's allusion to Orwell seems vague. It's an elaborate puzzle... which, when assembled, adds up to a picture of a perfect blank. For me, reading it was the literary equivalent of biting into a large, pumped-up soufflé. After finishing five pounds of book, I was still hungry — for a novel." The only difference between this critic's view of the book and mine is that I remain unable to finish the damn thing. Putting the nothingness of the book aside, there are plenty of other, more frustrating issues to contend with. These are a few of the problems I personally had with 1Q84: Aomame comes across as a flat, two-dimensional character whose main purpose is to serve as (an older male) fantasy. Within a few pages of meeting her, she experiences flashbacks of a detailed lesbian encounter she experienced with a friend, though she is not, in fact lesbian, bi-sexual, in the slightest bit attracted to woman. This would not be an issue if it appeared to serve any purpose towards her character development - but it doesn't. Instead, it begins to follow the pornographic trend of girl-on-girl sex for the sole purpose of pleasing men. Literally, Aomame and the other woman have sex for NO other reason then to attract the men they have picked up. (To clarify again - Aomame doesn't particularly want to have sex with the other woman at all.) This (sterotypically) male "fantasy" further continues as the reader is told countless times how she is attracted only to much older men with receding hairlines, and proceeds to detail each of these sexual encounters. There is nothing wrong with any of the aforementioned as it stands, to each their own, and it would not be a problem if it served a purpose to the story but as far as I'm aware so far it really doesn't. The story would in no way be impacted if any of these scenes were to be removed. Aomame is in no way empowered by the depiction of her sex life, instead she is an object - a pornagraphic object, again apparently designed for the titillation of the reader. If it's in the best interest of the book in question, I am perfectly ok with reading about bigoted characters, or even books written by writers with an obvious agenda that clashes with my own beliefs, if the book is good, and provokes thought. 1Q84 is not one of these books. The blatant misogyny does not serve a purpose and therefore I must assume that it was not considered to be an issue at all for the purposes of the book. I honestly felt that all the female characters in this were written as fantasy - not just Aomame, but Every. Single. Woman. There is the "older married girlfriend" who serves no purpose other than to be a sexual object for Tengo (she doesn't even have a name); there is the police woman who befriends Aomame and constantly wants sex with her though she is self-declared "completely straight" (and appears to serve no other purpose in the book - she isn't grappling with her sexuality, she simply is there to have girl-on-girl sex without the complications of character development); and even with Fuka-Eri more attention was spent on the shape of her breasts than on her merits as a person or writer. Other books allow viewpoints such as this to be limited to the perspective of a character. The narrator in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World muses on his attraction to an slightly overweight woman, and his surprise that she is attractive. A little unpleasant, yes, but it fits in with how his character progresses. He is largely respectful towards the girl in question and to the other women in the book, and is overall a rather sympathetic character. Hajime in South of the Border, West of the Sun is rather more unlikeable in this respect, with the way he treats the women in his life, but again this is part of the journey of his character. 1Q84 goes so far beyond that, the sexism that permeates this entire story is not limited to character and is irredeemable. Tengo is likeable to a point, but all his segments of the story are the most repetitive in the book, which is a constant source of frustration. Also - and likely because of this - he doesn't really do much. He has a lot of sex with his older, married girlfriend (and we know that she is older and married because that statement appears to have taken the place of her name, appearing at least 5 times in every chapter about Tengo). (view spoiler)[I will also admit that I grew very, very weary of every conversation she had with Tengo being punctuated by lines such as "she said to him, massaging his scrotum in her hand." (hide spoiler)] As with Aomame's segments, the sex all truly appears to serve no purpose, and is crudely written at that, meaning it all comes across as both needlessly pornographic, and incredibly boring, two things good writing - and good sex - should never be. When Tengo is not having dull sexual encounters with his older married girlfriend, he mostly wanders around not doing anything. This is described in detail, which I will admit is a fairly impressive feat considering he really isn't doing anything. Moments of this novel appear to hold onto a central plot, but it is so bogged down with mundane details (view spoiler)[ along the lines of "Tengo got up, showered and dressed. Then he cooked his breakfast. He sat down to eat his breakfast, after which he wandered around the room for a while. After this, he made a phone call, wrote some of his book, made some rice and salad, and waited for his older married girlfriend to call. She didn't call, so he went for a walk outside. HI walk outsdie was long and went nowhere. While he was resting after his walk outside, Tengo read a book about the indigenous people of some country out loud and in minute and soporous detail so that the reader of THIS book can also experience the pedantic boredom of the book he was reading. After he had finished reading, he made dinner and went to bed. He couldn't sleep, so he got up and wrote some more of his book, though he found writing at night to be difficult and not as good as writing in the day, even though in the day his older married girlfriend was sometimes a distraction and got jealous at anything that took attention away from her even though she was older and married and nameless and the married aspect of her life should probably have been enough of a distraction to not be sleeping with someone else. But that was fine with Tengo because he liked sex with his older married girlfriend very much. As he wrote his book he thought about..." etc etc (hide spoiler)] that it is near impossible to discern what is actually worth reading, rather than skimming over. I'm pretty sure that if all the moments of needless, boring repetition were removed, the novel would come well under the 500 page mark - but then the appalling details and lack of plot would have nothing to hide behind at all! The characters reactions to everything were utterly implausible to me. Tengo and his editor are totally panicked about the idea of anyone finding out they re-wrote Air Chrysalis (the idea of co-writing or "editing" is completely out of the question) but Aomame isn't even bothered by the fact that she is in a world that is not her own. She has essentially fallen into a parallel universe and her reaction to that is... actually, I'm not even sure if she reacted at all to this knowledge. She also freaks out when she holds a gun, but has no apparent qualms about killing a man with a needle. There are many, many other reactions that bothered me but I can't think of them clearly enough to write about them - I think my mind has an innate defence against boredom that means I forget anything that has bored me to this degree. The very worst part about this vapid 1000+ page novel, however, is that people who have finished the book tell me that nothing else happens!!!!! I can't handle it, I really can't. Perhaps if I'd come into this with lower expectations, I may have been less disappointed. It would have still been a terrible book, but I would feel less betrayed by this fact. 14/4/16: Final note: I have since read at least ten other books by Murakami (and counting), so I am 100% certain that my dislike of 1Q84 has nothing to do with his "style" of writing. Many (most) of his other stories don't exactly have... plots, or things that "happen" - a "point", or concrete endings of any kind but they work. Some more than others, of course, but while I have adored many (Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage stand out at the top of the list) and found others somewhat less enjoyable (South of the Border, West of the Sun), none of his other works I have read are on the level of 1Q84 at all. So I still stand by this review completely. I also strongly recommend you don't give up on Murakami if 1Q84 is your first encounter with his work and you find you share my opinion of the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alisan

    "Reading a Murakami book is like diving into the ocean only to discover that you have always been a fish. Things suddenly start making sense"

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    I'd heard it was a difficult read, and certainly it is long, at well over 900 pages, but I find that I'm flying through it. Murakami knows how to keep the pages turning with a brilliant mix of mystery, fantasy and intrigue. Two characters, Aomame and Tengu, find themselves slipping into an alternate version of the world in 1984 -- a world Aomame names 1Q84. What is causing this shift, and whom can they trust? Those are just some of the questions facing them. The book reminds me of Orwell, of cou I'd heard it was a difficult read, and certainly it is long, at well over 900 pages, but I find that I'm flying through it. Murakami knows how to keep the pages turning with a brilliant mix of mystery, fantasy and intrigue. Two characters, Aomame and Tengu, find themselves slipping into an alternate version of the world in 1984 -- a world Aomame names 1Q84. What is causing this shift, and whom can they trust? Those are just some of the questions facing them. The book reminds me of Orwell, of course, but also Gabriel Marquez and some early dark urban fantasy like The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll or Little, Big by John Crowley. (Which you should read, if you haven't.) Yet Murakami isn't really like anyone else, exactly. He has that fresh 'something,' just like the fictional editor Komatsu in his narrative is looking for. Check out the book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Aomame, a small-breasted woman, is an assassin who targets men who mistreat women. Tengo, a large man, teaches math, and is a writer. Tengo, the large man, and Aomame, the small-breasted woman, once held hands as children, and although they have not seen each other in the twenty years since, they are still soul mates. Tengo, the math teacher, becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to re-write the novella “Air Chrysalis,” by Fuka-Eri, a large-breasted teenager, which is a good story written poorly. Te Aomame, a small-breasted woman, is an assassin who targets men who mistreat women. Tengo, a large man, teaches math, and is a writer. Tengo, the large man, and Aomame, the small-breasted woman, once held hands as children, and although they have not seen each other in the twenty years since, they are still soul mates. Tengo, the math teacher, becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to re-write the novella “Air Chrysalis,” by Fuka-Eri, a large-breasted teenager, which is a good story written poorly. Tengo, when he is not teaching math or writing, misses Aomame, the small-breasted woman with whom he once held hands. Aomame, when she is not killing misogynists or lamenting the size of her breasts, misses Tengo, the large man with whom she once held hands. Aomame has mysteriously been transported from her own world of 1984 to the mysterious new world of 1Q84, which has two moons and is controlled to some degree by the Little People, who say “ho ho.” Aomame sees there are two moons. Tengo sees there are two moons. There are two moons. One is normal, the other is small and green. The normal moon is the moon from 1984, but the other moon, which is small and green, can be seen only in 1Q84, the mysterious other world which is controlled to some degree by the Little People. Tengo has a recurring memory from when he was an infant of seeing a man who was not his father suckle at Tengo’s mother’s breasts. Women have breasts. Some breasts are large (Fuka-Eri’s), while others are small (Aomame’s). Aomame laments this fact. Aomame yearns for larger breasts. She also yearns for Tengo, the writer whose hand she held twenty years before, when they were ten. They have not seen each other since, but they still love one another. Aomame does not allow this to distract her from her mission, which is assassinating men who have grievously mistreated women. Aomame was raised in the cult of the Society of Witnesses. Tengo was raised by his father after his mother died when he was young. His father collected NHK fees. This was not the man Tengo recalls seeing suckle at his mother’s breasts. Tengo was often forced to accompany his father on his work trips, collecting NHK fees. Aomame was often forced to accompany her parents spreading the evangel. The Little People say “ho ho.” There are two moons. Tengo is a large man. Women also have pubic hair, unless they don’t, in which case they are probably ghosts, or shadows, in which case no man can be held accountable for sexually assaulting them, no matter their age. The Little People are assumed to be evil, although mostly the Little People just say “ho ho.” Women who are victims get what’s coming to them. George Orwell wrote a book called 1984. The year is 1984. Aomame yearns for Tengo. Tengo yearns for Aomame. Ushikawa, an ugly man, is unpleasant to look at.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Begone, ye overblown romance: to the M's with ye, and there ye shall stay. No more will I be forced to read about the "ample breasts" of mysterious, mute women; never again will I be witness to "sexual encounters" that are just a "concept," not the actual bumping of uglies that occurs when a man puts his penis inside of a woman's vagina. Banished will be the sporty assassinatrix who winds down by having one-night stands with bald-headed men; the stocky writer who oscillates between ma Begone, ye overblown romance: to the M's with ye, and there ye shall stay. No more will I be forced to read about the "ample breasts" of mysterious, mute women; never again will I be witness to "sexual encounters" that are just a "concept," not the actual bumping of uglies that occurs when a man puts his penis inside of a woman's vagina. Banished will be the sporty assassinatrix who winds down by having one-night stands with bald-headed men; the stocky writer who oscillates between mathematics and prose and the occasional dalliance with a married girlfriend; and the misshapen cranium of an ugly man who skitters from one plot-point to the next with grim purpose, unsuspecting of the authorial foot that hovers, god-like, above the story's flimsy re-bar. Along with these mundane presences, so too will be exiled the various supporting paper cut-outs, wearing the clothes and skins of nurses and bodyguards and editors, muttering incomprehensible directions that pose as mysterious truths in a world with two moons. Get out, all of you: 925 pages was more than your fair share, and more than its fair share was squandered on wordy mediocrity.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephen M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A mere 29 days have passed since its release, but I have conquered the behemoth. I believe mp owes me 20 dollars for finishing first. Well, since no monetary guidelines were stipulated, I will also accept 3 cats and 2 metaphors that don't make any sense. Before As I eagerly await to tackle this tome I am utterly afraid for the books that I own Especially the texts populating my desk My patience for "Brit-Lit" will be put to the test But my grades will be of little con A mere 29 days have passed since its release, but I have conquered the behemoth. I believe mp owes me 20 dollars for finishing first. Well, since no monetary guidelines were stipulated, I will also accept 3 cats and 2 metaphors that don't make any sense. Before As I eagerly await to tackle this tome I am utterly afraid for the books that I own Especially the texts populating my desk My patience for "Brit-Lit" will be put to the test But my grades will be of little concern When these 900 pages will begin to burn A hole of delight to last for the ages And I won't care about homework while in his pages Because it isn't grades that last but literary heaven Then I'll always say, "I remember Murakami and 1984 in 2011" After As you might be able to deduce from my little poem and the rating, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I think the main reason was the unwarranted length. I wouldn't mind reading a 900+ page novel if it meant that the book was going to really take me places. From what I've heard about Infinite Jest, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and others like it, they are quite the journey. Where you begin and where the book leads, makes for such a arc of character, theme and plot so as to incur upon the reader the impression a fully fleshed out world. I find that exciting. I like to experience whole life-times within one novel. It is the complete escape from this world, when you feel as though you've lived inside another for so long. I felt no such experience with 1Q84. Instead, was 922 pages of repetitious prose. When it boils down to it, there is not much exposition in here. All it is is the same arc of a character moving from the world they are used to, then into the "Q" world and finding everything weird. That happens to three different characters. And we have to be told the same-sounding impressions followed by similar realizations. I think that underneath it all, there is a lot to be said about this book. But I honestly do not feel as compelled to want to do so, since everything was repeated so often and so frequently. Occasionally, the book would break out of its redundancy and work the usual Murakami magic. But those moments were so far and few between, that any momentum gained would be slowed down by 50 pages of nothingness. Murakami loves to say every passing detail, significant or not, that goes through a character's head. He might write something like "Aomame went into the kitchen. She walked up to the refrigerator. She looked at the refrigerator. Then she thought I want to eat something because I know that I should. But I'm not hungry. I haven't been hungry in a long time, not since I parted with my one true love Tengo. She opened the refrigerator and looked inside. She closed the door after deciding that nothing looked appetizing. She thought about her one true love, Tengo. And the fact that she hadn't seen him since she was a child." I think he used a similar technique with other novels, Wind-Up Bird for example. I don't remember it bothering me at all. In fact reading this has made me want to go back and re-read Wind-Up to see how it compares. Because I hate to say it, but this book may have ruined my patience for that type of writing, which I thought worked so well in Wind-Up. Another similarity between the two was the simplicity of the writing. Both books feature straight-forward prose and a plethora of telling. I remember it working very well in Wind-Up, another claim I'd like to re-read for, but in 1Q84, it falls flat on its face. In the kind of the book that this is, it needs something to convince the reader of the unreal elements. I'm not sure what the formula for that is, of course there's no exact way of doing this, but there has to be better ways of writing a convincing magical-realist story than lines like this: "Aomame wondered if Fuka-Eri's dohta had been able to survive for long without her maza. The Little people had said that it was virtually impossible for a dohta to go on living without her maza. And what about a maza? What was it like for her to live after having lost the shadow of her heart and mind?" That could easily be straight out of a YA, fantasy novel. Then there were other lines that were just cheesy: "Ushikawa had a sharp sense of smell, and something smelled fishy" That last line may be due to translation, which I'm always willing to admit as a possibility. But I have faith in the translators, given that Jay Rubin has translated a majority of Murakami's works and the other novels were dissimilar in this regard to this book. There was also some of the ideas, not flaws of translation, that I didn't agree with. A thematic thread that runs throughout, is a zen-like balancing between opposing forces, usually represented in pairs. Murakami reiterates the idea that whenever an imbalance occurs, nature steps in to stabilize itself. This might be cute to find inside of a fortune cookie or on a license plate, but when taken to real life situations or the events of this book, it becomes an unsettling bit of moral relativism. This is especially apparent in a scene where Aomame kills a child rapist. I was somewhat intrigued by this idea at first. I tend to be a fan of stories about vigilante justice. But when Aomame arrives, the rapist explains how he was powerless against the forces that made him to do it. This is when it started to get weird. Because after Aomame kills the man, the next scene is of Tengo having sex with a girl under 18, without him able to control it. When reading that in context of lines like "nature abhors a vacuum", it's pretty weird. It's a dangerous notion to consider something as terrible as child rape in the context of yin-and-yang and everything in harmony. The other thing I disagreed with was the premise by which the entire book hangs. The two main characters are supposed to have held hands once, as ten year olds, and have been desperately in love for all the years that have followed. I didn't really buy that at all. There are many things that can pass off as unreal in a Murakami novel, but absolute, undying love because of a single encounter in elementary school is not one of them. Call me a cynic, but I don't believe that ever happens. This idea comes from a short story called "On Meeting the 100% Perfect Girl" that Murakami had written. Quite the opposite of 1Q84, it runs for only a couple pages. I think I can handle undying love at first sight when condensed down into a few pages. But when repeated over and over and over through 700 pages, it loses me completely. Of course, not everything is bad about this book, hence the 3 stars. As mentioned there are more than a few Murakami magic moments. He was still able to make me shudder, make me stare off into space for minutes at a time in quiet fascination. But I hope for his next book, his editor is given a little more power than he had here.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megha

    If you aren't already enamored with Murakami's writing, I recommend not reading 1Q84 - unless what you want is a treasure hunt for some simple Japanese recipes. 1Q84 is actually a test to see how much Murakami fans are willing to put up with. And the test is a tough one. The first part of the book is nothing short of what you expect from Murakami. But towards the middle it really begins to sag with tedious, mundane descriptions. One reviewer called it memory-insultingly repetitive and that's not e If you aren't already enamored with Murakami's writing, I recommend not reading 1Q84 - unless what you want is a treasure hunt for some simple Japanese recipes. 1Q84 is actually a test to see how much Murakami fans are willing to put up with. And the test is a tough one. The first part of the book is nothing short of what you expect from Murakami. But towards the middle it really begins to sag with tedious, mundane descriptions. One reviewer called it memory-insultingly repetitive and that's not entirely wrong. (To be fair the repetitiveness is due to combining all the three books in a single volume in the English edition. But if they published it as one book, that's how people are going to read it.) Then there are numerous badly written sex scenes. So far, in his other books, I have been giving him a pass for those. But this time I couldn't help being annoyed. You know how when a new characters enters the scene, some authors would describe his/her countenance. Likewise, every time Murakami introduces a female character in 1Q84, he describes her breasts. What's up with that?! And yet I have slapped four stars up there. Clearly the man can do no wrong by me. I don't usually keep track of what books are going to be released soon. This is the only book I have ever pre-ordered. This is the only hardcover I own, because I did not want to wait till the paperback was out. I even carried this monster of a book on a flight because I did not want to put it on a hiatus while I was out of town. There is almost 1000 pages - that's plenty of room for the good and the bad. Tedious portions notwithstanding, what Murakami does best is still somewhere in there. And I am willing to forgive the rest. The world with the two moons is absolutely fascinating and full of intrigue. Despite the complicated plot and multiple threads, he writes with superb clarity and never leaves the reader lost and confused. The last part of the book has us following three intersecting story lines. Ushikawa, Aomame and Tengo are all looking at the same picture, but at different angles. Each one of them is trying to fill in the pieces outside their respective field of vision. And it all comes together very elegantly in the end. And that brings me to David Mitchell. Last year I had swooned all over Cloud Atlas. Since reading 1Q84, I find myself agreeing more and more with the reviews that call it pretentious, gimmicky and what not. Because compared to the way Murakami handles multiple stories, Mitchell does seem to be trying too hard. In any case, I did enjoy Cloud Atlas when I had read it and nothing is going to change that now. So no hard feelings, DM.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    Tengo did as he was told. He began pumping slowly. These two sentences, on the second to last page of this 924 page novel, are a neat summary of Murakami’s methods in 1Q84. Tengo has spent the novel longing for Aomame and they have just been reunited after twenty years. ‘Pumping’ refers to the action of Tengo’s penis in Aomame’s vagina. Underlying Murakami’s general approach to writing is an element of dictation, of simply transcribing the spontaneously generating narrative coursing through his head Tengo did as he was told. He began pumping slowly. These two sentences, on the second to last page of this 924 page novel, are a neat summary of Murakami’s methods in 1Q84. Tengo has spent the novel longing for Aomame and they have just been reunited after twenty years. ‘Pumping’ refers to the action of Tengo’s penis in Aomame’s vagina. Underlying Murakami’s general approach to writing is an element of dictation, of simply transcribing the spontaneously generating narrative coursing through his head. This is what gives his novels their peculiar effortless dreaminess. He admits as much when he says that his first novel suddenly appeared to him while attending a baseball game. He simply went home and started writing it down. So - Tengo did as he was told. He began pumping slowly. - Tengo listens and obeys and gets down to business. This theme of dictation, of hearing alien narratives and putting them into action, of being a medium in its literal sense, is exhaustively explored and elaborated upon in 1Q84. In this way the novel is Murakami’s ultimate statement on his own art. He even goes so far as to make Tengo the author of the novel, or at least suggests as much. Through his experiences in the novel Tengo becomes the novelist he has been striving to become. In this way it is also generally inspirational for the aspiring creator in all of us. So the first sentence in this quote - Tengo did as he was told. - tackles the metaphysical (let’s say) aspects of Murakami’s art, the vaguely spiritual, the elements of ‘another world’, that inform this one. The second sentence - He began pumping slowly. - tackles the nitty gritty of his art, its praxis, while at the same time addressing its sexual nature, and there is plenty of sex and odd (even shameful) eroticism in 1Q84. But I don’t read “pumping slowly” first and foremost as the action of a penis in a vagina. I read it as what I will call Murakami’s ‘marathon aesthetic’. Everyone knows he runs marathons, right? Well, this opus is his marathon mind, that patient plodding single-mindedness and clarity, fully fleshed out. 1Q84 is a marathon transmuted into fiction. This would suggest that some might find it boring, and I will not argue that some might; as it is full of inconsequential detail and repetitions, just as I imagine the mind engaged in a marathon might be, and so requires a certain amount of patience from the reader. And though I am not a runner, let alone a marathoner, I have some understanding of the mind and body engaged in such a difficult and monotonous task (I have worked 9 – 5 in an office for 13 years haven’t I?), and I have an appreciation of dullness transcending itself and becoming fascinating. There is nothing like a stretch of dull repetitiveness to allow the mind to detach itself from its trammels and ‘catch some air’ and experience an unexpected ecstasy. Either that or get mired in routine and plod through a living death. There are strangely satisfying sensations and experiences beyond ‘the wall’, of second (and third and fourth and so on) winds, of ‘highs’, that long distance runners routinely mention, and 1Q84 is an exhibition in extreme detail of these. That takes care of those two sentences. Only 25,000 to go… But I’ll spare you my tiresome exegeses and briefly mention the literary references in the book. First, the title obviously references Orwell directly, but beyond that I didn’t see much meat to the reference. Other than providing a year and a setting before the internet took over our lives, which simplified the plotting immensely, and a few passing mentions of Big Brother in the guise of religious cults, Murakami didn’t go far with it. What was far more substantial were references to Proust – during a long stretch of the book one of the main characters is holed up in an apartment reading him – in that time itself, and its mutable wrap-around nature, is the medium in which the novel floats; so that even the longueurs are justified, in that they help the reader enter the ‘marathon mind.’ Even Proust himself showed the dullness of a dinner party by endlessly elaborating upon its tedium in words, thus giving the reader an even more tangible and personally direct experience of the event. I must also mention Murakami’s referencing of and reliance upon the thoughts of Jung, who is explicitly mentioned quite a few times. 1Q84 is very much a book of myths and how they inform our actions (even beyond our knowledge) and how their inherent power still sways us. The entire novel itself can be viewed as a descent into myth as a fractured being and ultimate reemergence into wholeness, and this is perhaps its most powerful theme, and Murakami’s light touch and his ability to dance with ideas and suppress (for the most part) heavy-handedness help make this the wisest and most profound Murakami book I have read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Xu

    This book is possibly the best book I have read of all times. It has everything that anyone would want in a book because it is composed of a little of every genre. The book has so many symbolisms and imageries that no one can figure it all out in the first read. The book is like all of Haruki Murakami's past books where it is about self discovery of the main character. This time it is about how two long lost lovers find each others to the point that they were meant for each other. The book is ab This book is possibly the best book I have read of all times. It has everything that anyone would want in a book because it is composed of a little of every genre. The book has so many symbolisms and imageries that no one can figure it all out in the first read. The book is like all of Haruki Murakami's past books where it is about self discovery of the main character. This time it is about how two long lost lovers find each others to the point that they were meant for each other. The book is about Aomame, one of the main character in the book where in the beginning, she goes into this alternate 1984 called 1Q84. There she spends time with a old windower becomes fast friend. Soon she finds out the world is not what it seems as she takes down the leader of a cult. Then opposite character is with the male main character, Tengo who is a math teacher, who was a classmate of Aomame. He becomes the writer for 17 year old Fuka-Eri, who cannot write because she has dyslexic. He writes her story down and edits it becoming a national bestseller, called Air Chrysalis, which the plot of the story is the mystery at the center of the book as the two main characters meet, and falls in love. Overall, this is a great story that is highly recommendable to all who love to read, especially to those who loves to take on a challenge or not afraid to read a book that is over 1000 pages long. This is book is well over 5 stars. Haruki Murakmai is already a great writer, who has translated many great masterpieces into Japanese from English, but with 1Q84 he has created a masterpiece that rises him beyond anything ever could be imagined.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    My Sunken Book Review My real review, my Sunken Book Review, complete with unreliable Maps and Legends (not to mention Narrators), is here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2... Only go there if you are a child who likes to be spoiled. It's like a treasure hunt in a secret room. Or a pirate ship laden with booty. The Little People have tried unsuccessfully to sink it without tr My Sunken Book Review My real review, my Sunken Book Review, complete with unreliable Maps and Legends (not to mention Narrators), is here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2... Only go there if you are a child who likes to be spoiled. It's like a treasure hunt in a secret room. Or a pirate ship laden with booty. The Little People have tried unsuccessfully to sink it without trace. They managed to sink it, but I have traced it again. My Superficial Book Review Have you ever been intoxicated by a book? I've had so much to think that, now, I still don't know whether I'm slurring my words or swirling my worlds. Only time will tell. Or Tengo. This might make me sound like a lunatic, but don't the moons look magnificent tonight? And, by the way, your hair is beautiful. It's true, it's not just make believe. I didn't make it up. Or if I did, I promise to make it up to you. I know how to tell a phony from the real thing. I can tell the difference between the medium and the message. So, well done. We two are one. We, too, are one. Reading Notes My reading notes are here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2... A Metafictitious Review That Could Have Been Written in the Land of Questions "As a story, the work is put together in an exceptionally interesting way and it carries the reader along to the very end, but when it comes to the question of what is an air chrysalis, or who are the Little People, we are left in a pool of mysterious question marks. "This may well be the author's intention, but many readers are likely to take this lack of clarification as a sign of 'authorial laziness'. "While this may be fine for a debut work, if the author intends to have a long career as a writer, in the near future she may well need to explain her deliberately cryptic posture." And Another "You could pick it apart completely if you wanted to. But the story itself has real power: it draws you in. "The overall plot is a fantasy, but the descriptive detail is incredibly real. The balance between the two is excellent. "I don’t know if words like “originality” or “inevitability” fit here, and I suppose I might agree if someone insisted it’s not at that level, but finally, after you work your way through the thing, with all its faults, it leaves a real impression—it gets to you in some strange, inexplicable way that may be a little disturbing." "If You Can't Understand It Without An Explanation, You Can't Understand It With An Explanation." "It was probably Chekhov who said that the novelist is not someone who answers questions but someone who asks them." Haiku for the Land of Q: Here is an assortment of haiku inspired (or, if lacking inspiration, stimulated) by "1Q84". Please add your contributions and improvements in the comments. And don't forget to read the interview at the foot of the haiku. Yo La Tengo (HaiQ) Remember your hand, How it held mine so firmly. Now we are grown up. Sonic Youth (HaiQ) Under the two moons. Aomame, Tengo, Q. Fuka-Eri, too. Television (HaiQ) My father collects NHK subscription fees, So I can teach math. MGMT (HaiQ) Come, let us watch the Oracle spectacular Sketch birds, moons and cats. Laura Nyro (HaiQ) So surry on down. There'll be lots of time into Which to disappear. The Strokes (HaiQ) A massage table. I prick the back of your neck. Your wife will thank me. Animal Collective (HaiQ) You should see my house. There's not much fancy in it, Just my girls and spouse. Lou Reed (HaiQ) This time of year, You and I should fall in love. Sleep beneath two moons. LCD Soundsystem (HaiQ) Let all your friends know: Daft Punk, playing at my house, Little People free. Blondie (HaiQ) Twenty-four hours. Can't stop until we achieve Exquisite Rapture. New York Dolls (HaiQ) Dowager avoids Personality crisis Chasing butterflies. Patti Smith (HaiQ) I am out of place, Out of the ordinary, And now, out of time. A View from the Window (HaiQ) Probably pregnant, A large cat licks its belly, Shaded by the tree. New-Fangled Angle (HaiQ) Tengo's shiny smooth Instrument achieves frequent Perfect orgasms. Ushikawa (HaiQ) Large misshapen head. His legs bent like cucumbers. Unkempt frizzy hair. Fuka-Eri I (HaiQ) I could barely move Eri climbed on top of me Prompting intercourse. Kumi Adachi (HaiQ) The smiley face shirt. The hooting owl in the woods. Your thick pubic hair. Tamaru (HaiQ) Card carrying gay, I got a woman pregnant Once, bang, a bull's eye. Fuka-Eri II (HaiQ) Ample breasts revealed She closed her eyes in rapture Her lips spoke no words. Tengo's Recipe I (HaiQ) Edamame, shrimp Celery, ginger, mushrooms Saki, sesame. Tengo's Recipe II (HaiQ) Tofu, miso soup, Cauliflower, rice pilaf, Green bean, wakame. Interview: The Brisbane Airtrain takes many Japanese tourists from the Gold Coast to the Brisbane International Airport. This is a transcript of a recent conversation with a middle-aged Japanese man between South Bank Station and the Airport during the Brisbane Writers Festival. The man was wearing an "1Q84" t-shirt, he looked like Murakami, and spoke like Murakami, but he vehemently denied that he was Murakami at the end of the conversation. He was contradicted by his companion, a quiet but very assertive black cat. IG: There’s been some suggestion that the character Aomame is similar to Lisbeth Sanders. HM: That will always happen, because there aren’t many role models for women capable of violence. IG: Aomame has a particular knack, so to speak, for kicking men in the balls. HM: Realistically speaking, it’s impossible for women to protect themselves against men without resorting to a kick in the testicles. Most men are bigger and stronger than women. A swift testicle attack is a woman’s only chance. IG: So it’s a conscious tactic. HM: A strategy. Mao Zedong said it best. You find your opponent’s weak point and make the first move with a concentrated attack. It’s the only chance a guerilla force has of defeating a regular army. IG: So, the message is “go for the balls”. HM: Either that, or make sure you’ve got a gun. IG: Which is interesting, because later in the book, you give Aomame a gun. Why did you do that? HM: I wasn’t going to, but her friend Ayumi, the policewoman, said something that suggested the idea to me. She was talking about the Steve McQueen film, “The Getaway”, and she mentioned “a wad of bills and a shotgun”. IG: And Ayumi says that Aomame looks like Faye Dunaway holding a machine gun. HM: Yes, but more importantly, Aomame says, “I don’t need a machine gun”. IG: So I guess she wasn’t just talking about kicking guys in the balls. HM: That’s right, I had to give her a gun. IG: Well, Godard says, “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.” HM: The idea goes back further than that, to Chekhov. IG: Really? HM: Yes, not so much guns and girls, but guns generally. IG: I think Tamaru gave her the gun. HM: Yes, but he also quoted Chekhov, “Once a gun appears in a story, it has to be fired.” IG: So the gun… HM: Stop, I’m sorry, that would be a spoiler. IG: Um, Tamaru is quite an interesting character. He’s the one who suggests that Aomame should read Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”. HM: She was supposed to be in hiding for three months. IG: So she had plenty of time on her hands. HM: Yes, someone once said that, unless you’ve been in jail or had to hide out for a long time, you can’t read the whole of Proust. IG: Is Proust still relevant to modern readers? How do you relate to his work? HM: Very relevant, with one qualification. It feels like I’m experiencing someone else’s dream. Like we’re simultaneously sharing feelings. But I can’t really grasp what it means to be simultaneous. Our feelings seem extremely close, but in reality there’s a considerable gap between us. IG: Many critics say the same about your novels. HM: They do. IG: How do you react to these comments? HM: I send them a box of madeleines. IG: Good one. This interview wouldn’t be complete without a plug for GoodReads. Do you realize you’re very popular with Good Readers? HM: I’m very popular with most readers. IG: Ha ha. But not Paul Bryant. HM: Him, the one who would be a parodist! IG: You’ve got to admit he is pretty funny. HM: He’s no funnier than his raw material, and I am his raw material. IG: How do you think you should respond to readers like Paul? HM: I parody them. IG: Really? HM: Yes, I’ve parodied him in “1Q84”. IG: His review of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”? HM: Yes, tell me what you think of this, I can even recite it by heart: "Tengo had been all but lost in the work for some time when he looked up to find it was nearly three o’clock. Come to think of it, he hadn’t eaten lunch. He went to the kitchen, put a kettle on to boil, and ground some coffee beans. He ate a few crackers with cheese, followed those with an apple, and when the water boiled, made coffee. Drinking this from a large mug, he distracted himself with thoughts of sex with his older girlfriend. Ordinarily, he would have been doing it with her right about now. He pictured the things that he would be doing, and the things that she would be doing. He closed his eyes, turned his face against the ceiling, and released a deep sigh heavy with suggestion and possibility."“ IG: No. Nobody would think Paul Bryant wrote that. HM: I would love to argue the point, but I’m afraid this is my stop and I’ve got to get off. Black Cat: Miaow, too (this is a Meowlingual translation of something that sounded like "Nyaa-Nyaa"). Paul Bryant's Review of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" ...is here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Go there, read it, like it and return.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    Sean I must confess that this is my first bold step into the world of Haruki Murakami. After roughly four weeks, my journey through the world of 1Q84 has come to end. I was unfamiliar with this author until this massive yet stunningly beautiful book showed up on the new releases table at the bookstore. I then learned that this author (famous in Japan but relatively unknown in America) titled this book as play on George Orwell’s 1984 (one of my favorites). So I decided to brave the 984 Sean I must confess that this is my first bold step into the world of Haruki Murakami. After roughly four weeks, my journey through the world of 1Q84 has come to end. I was unfamiliar with this author until this massive yet stunningly beautiful book showed up on the new releases table at the bookstore. I then learned that this author (famous in Japan but relatively unknown in America) titled this book as play on George Orwell’s 1984 (one of my favorites). So I decided to brave the 984 pages. 1Q84 This fantasy/romance story takes place in Tokyo in the year 1984 and follows two protagonists, Tengo and Aomame, and their quest to find each other. The only way they can do so is by entering the surreal world of 1Q84. As they both realize that they are not in same world as before, they then begin to ponder the peculiarities of the new world and wonder if they, in fact, are the only ones that are aware that they are in 1Q84. Sean As I began reading the first hundred pages or so, I was extremely curious about where this story was going. Two people, lost in this alternate reality, not really sure what the future holds with them. With much repetition in the story and lots of detail about every action, I thought that it took a lot of time to watch anything happen in the story. After some time, I then became skeptical whether this story would really hold my interest for another 700 pages. I even considered giving up at one point. I decided that since I had already finished 200 pages, I just had to continue. 1Q84 The story switched back and forth between these two protagonists and we eventually learn that each character lives very similar lives. They are both caught up in immoral circumstances and question their actions. Other characters enter the story and all play a critical role in the decisions that the protagonists choose to make. By book 2, the underlying mystery of the story is revealed and the reader eventually learns the motives among all of the characters in the story. Sean As I was well into book 2, this book became very interesting. I began to understand the many methods of duality Murakami uses in the story: Tengo/Aomame, 1984/1Q84, talk/solitude, birth/death, large moon/little moon, etc. As the mystery of the book is revealed, I also realized that the underlying mystery really isn’t what this book is about. I deduced that this book is really an exploration of many existential themes of human existence and duality. 1Q84 At the very center of this story is the theme of loneliness and longing. Other themes explored are parent/child relationships, sexual promiscuity, adultery, fraud, morality, religion, violence, and childhood nostalgia. All of these themes are concocted with simple yet beautiful prose. As a result, Murakami has created a great story that explored much of the dark side to human nature. Sean and 1Q84 It is unclear to me how personal this novel really is to Haruki Marukami. Whether or not these themes are explored based on his personal experience, I could not determine. Nevertheless, Murakami has crafted a complex book that will leave me tossing around many of these themes in my head. Overall, I enjoyed 1Q84 and believe that my time reading this huge 984 page opus was never irretrievably lost.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I bought this shortly after New Year's. I can tell you from what bookstore I bought it. I could point out approximately (but not exactly) the rack from which I selected it. I remember the person who accompanied me at the time. I don't know exactly what I was wearing—but it was probably a sweater of some sort with a t-shirt underneath, worn but serviceable dress pants and well polished brown or black shoes. I know that my clothes were fitting well, and were not too snug, because my recent efforts I bought this shortly after New Year's. I can tell you from what bookstore I bought it. I could point out approximately (but not exactly) the rack from which I selected it. I remember the person who accompanied me at the time. I don't know exactly what I was wearing—but it was probably a sweater of some sort with a t-shirt underneath, worn but serviceable dress pants and well polished brown or black shoes. I know that my clothes were fitting well, and were not too snug, because my recent efforts at losing weight had met with somewhat more than moderate success, even though I'd just come through the Christmas holidays. I don't remember what my friend was wearing but it was probably jeans, a t-shirt and a denim jacket. I could tell you a lot of my friend's back story, although he probably would not appreciate it, and in any case it is not relevant to the review, except indirectly. I don't remember whether there was music playing in the store, how many people were in the line up at the cashier, what the woman who took my money was wearing, or whether the bills I gave her were freshly minted or creased and crinkled. I do know that there was a significant discount on the book, which was a factor that contributed to my buying it. If (in some sort of alternate reality version of our world) I lived in Japan and were enrolled in a creative writing course taught by a doppelganger of Mr. Murakami, I would no doubt flunk out. Spectacularly.

  17. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    You never know where you'll find yourself when you pick up one of Haruki Murakami's novels. I've come to believe that's exactly the way it should be. 1Q84 is no exception. The way Murakami weaves history with a constantly evolving reality gives the feel of a speculative novel offering an alternative history. But, besides seeing 2 moons, where is the difference in what the protagonist, Aomame, has dubbed 1Q84 and 'the real' 1984? When Aomame gets out of her taxi and makes an unexpected/out of the You never know where you'll find yourself when you pick up one of Haruki Murakami's novels. I've come to believe that's exactly the way it should be. 1Q84 is no exception. The way Murakami weaves history with a constantly evolving reality gives the feel of a speculative novel offering an alternative history. But, besides seeing 2 moons, where is the difference in what the protagonist, Aomame, has dubbed 1Q84 and 'the real' 1984? When Aomame gets out of her taxi and makes an unexpected/out of the ordinary decision, does she really open an alternative 1984 or has Aomame simply opened herself up to experiencing a deeper reality? The cab driver had both warned her that "Things are not what they seem" and "There is always only one reality." The interweaving stories of a math teacher, Tengo, and the 17-year old Fuka-Eri (whose novel Tengo rewrites) add surprises and bizarre twists to this nearly 1,000-page epic. This is a fantastic read about finding yourself and finding love! I highly recommend 1Q84!

  18. 5 out of 5

    jo

    i'm 100 pages from the end but i won't finish this. i've been assaulted enough. oh why why why do we let books assault us so? because they show themselves to us in sheep's clothing, and we trust them. this fuzzy, sweet muzzled sheep cannot possibly brutalize me -- can it? can it? this book is relentlessly brutal. the narrative is stretched to its stretchable maximum. there is no good reason for this. i suppose that, if you are a murakami fan and like to hear the sound of his voice, there will be some pleas i'm 100 pages from the end but i won't finish this. i've been assaulted enough. oh why why why do we let books assault us so? because they show themselves to us in sheep's clothing, and we trust them. this fuzzy, sweet muzzled sheep cannot possibly brutalize me -- can it? can it? this book is relentlessly brutal. the narrative is stretched to its stretchable maximum. there is no good reason for this. i suppose that, if you are a murakami fan and like to hear the sound of his voice, there will be some pleasure (even intense pleasure) for you in his enormous wordiness, but the rest of us wish he had exercised some restraint. there are many long and wordy novels. i have read my share. but the words, even those contained in lengthy and boring passages, make sense. i have been waiting for the meaning of this book to show itself to me. i have been willing to read 800 pages of it. so take it from me: there is no meaning. there is no depth. this is an entirely undeveloped love story/religious cult story/crime story passing itself off as a deep book about time, reality, truth, good and evil. the truth of the matter is, murakami has nothing to say about any of these things. i think he has nothing to say about anything worth 5 mins of my time. it's taken me more than a week to figure it out. woe is me. you should read this book only if you find pleasure in murakami's voice. there is nothing else in it. nothing goes anywhere. funny looking characters are funny looking for no reason and moons multiply in the sky for no reason either. add to this the insult of the awfully bad sex that spreads itself all over this book like sticky semen (thanks m. for the image). most of the sex scenes are, you guessed it, meaningless. one or two are violently disturbing and gratuitously exploitative. i disagree with the people who say murakami cannot write. oh he can write. he just doesn't have anything important to say. his only contribution to the reader's imagination is his own vision of things -- their slowness, their bizarreness, their extremely slow unraveling. unfortunately, this vision is pretty much valueless. you won't learn anything from this book. it will leave you depleted and empty, or at least as empty or full as you were when you started reading it -- that is, if this lengthy rumination about the pretend meaning of things doesn't yank your soul from you. my soul is just about all yanked. i'm abandoning this book to save my soul.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Well, shit, it's over. Took me three months to read this one, and after that last page, I want to start all over again. I got to know Aomame and Tengo in every way possible, and I will miss them like old friends. 1Q84 is the third longest book I've read, as far as page count is concerned. It is also one of the only books over a thousand pages that I've read which was not written by Stephen King. I plan on fixing that over the next year by reading Gone with the Wind and Alan Moore's newest, Jerusalem, and any othe Well, shit, it's over. Took me three months to read this one, and after that last page, I want to start all over again. I got to know Aomame and Tengo in every way possible, and I will miss them like old friends. 1Q84 is the third longest book I've read, as far as page count is concerned. It is also one of the only books over a thousand pages that I've read which was not written by Stephen King. I plan on fixing that over the next year by reading Gone with the Wind and Alan Moore's newest, Jerusalem, and any other 1,000-page motherfuckers I can find. Not too interested in fantasy novels, but I might throw The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss, in there too. We'll see how the mood strikes me. What should you know about 1Q84? Well, it's a slow burn. It's definitely not a page-turner. It's literary fiction, so don't expect action and fight scenes and too much in the way of straight-line plot progression. It's magical realism, so expect to find some weird shit going down that people are overall okay with. Two moons in the sky? Why the fuck not. Exploding dogs? Okay then. Whatever you say. Will you like it? See, that's the question I cannot answer with any certainty. If most of you in my friends list asked me if you should read this book, I'd likely say no. It's long and can be boring if you do not become invested in the characters like I did. I say that because you will learn every little detail about Aomame and Tengo, and you might not always be interested in their pasts. I, however, loved every minute of this book. After two duds from Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes and Wind/Pinball... I guess that's technically three duds...), 1Q84 was a welcome return to the style I fell in love with after reading After Dark and Norwegian Wood. However, you should definitely read a shorter Murakami book before reading this one. I can't imagine anyone starting here. It would be like skipping the jungle gyms on the school playground and rushing straight for Mt. Everest. This epic novel is broken up into three books. I believe that the original Japanese text was released in three completely different volumes. I never saw a clear ending point after book one, two, and three, so had I read these separately, I don't think I would have liked them as much. I did find it fascinating that I could tell the difference between the first two books and the final book. Something felt... off, is the best way I can explain it. Then I read the copyright page at the back and I find that the first two books were translated by Jay Rubin, whereas the third book was translated by Philip Gabriel. To me, there is an obvious difference between these two translators, but, if asked, I could not put a finger on what made the experience different. Odd. Murakami nails the opening and closing of the novel. At the beginning, you can feel the shift from 1984 into what Aomame comes to call 1Q84. The last time I felt so certain that I was in a different place was while watching Disney's Alice and Wonderland as a child. The cool part is that there isn't much difference between 1984 and 1Q84, only this feeling that 1984 is the real world, and in 1Q84, anything goes. In summation: This review will likely grow as I digest more of this stunning novel, but for now, this is what you're getting. Air chrysalises and Little People and Sakigake and Buzzcut and Ponytail and Ushikawa and Aomame and Tengo are all part of my life now. I will never forget any part of 1Q84 and I will definitely reread it on occasion. One of the best novels I've had the pleasure to experience. Final Judgment: Magic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Garima

    By the time one decides to read their third or fourth Murakami book, a certain set of expectations already springs up in the form of a private blurb statement which readily signifies that the emergence of a familiar pattern is lined up ahead. A pattern where rearrangement of different elements become inevitable but the prospect of discovering something new turns out to be the key reason for returning to a world where 'suspension of disbelief' is duly carved at the entry point. Whether that world is illumina By the time one decides to read their third or fourth Murakami book, a certain set of expectations already springs up in the form of a private blurb statement which readily signifies that the emergence of a familiar pattern is lined up ahead. A pattern where rearrangement of different elements become inevitable but the prospect of discovering something new turns out to be the key reason for returning to a world where 'suspension of disbelief' is duly carved at the entry point. Whether that world is illuminated by the radiance of two moons or hundred suns, if it’s the magical creation by one of my favorite writers then I simply excuse myself from the tedious reality and get ready for the mystifying charm of another surreal tale. And 1Q84 is no exception. An alphanumeric year, few entangled lives, one ardent love story - what we have is a lengthy book with no shortage of imagination. Murakami’s passion for storytelling really shines through his works. His main art lies in the ability to create a hypnotic yet germane atmosphere wherein his ingenious vision of a parallel universe and the unique mélange of characters is primarily a by-product of our social order /disorder only. He gives fantastical expression to his ideas and gradually proclaims his purpose chapter by chapter, book by book. So what is that 'new' which 1Q84 gave me? It’s difficult to summarize this trilogy but as a reader and an admirer, it gave me an opportunity to recognize the depth of Murakami as a writer. He’s immensely popular as popular can get but I gauged a childlike excitement in his writing. A willingness to stretch his limitations and making them join hands with his strengths. 1Q84 is a subtle examination of desire and how that desire perpetuates both good and evil. It’s a careful contemplation of an inconspicuous planet and how it’s capable of foreshadowing our everyday life. It’s a clever conformity with the world which Orwell predicted and Dostoyevsky imagined. It’s an ode to the crazy notions of love and I love ‘love’. For the most part, what others probably found irritating was a source of friendly comfort for me. What others must have dismissed as silly brought a laughing fit for me. What was never-ending for others was a matter of ceaseless joy for me. But with so much good, there is a good scope for mistakes too. There are apparent flaws here concerning some sensitive issues, which when gets exposed to the cynical red light develops into several problematic images. How one construes those images is a crucial but complicated task for readers and when a book turns out to be 1000+ pages long there should be no surprise if it attracts 1000+ interpretations too. In any case, one surely stands to gain a lot. This book however gained 4 stars and all my discontent, my sarcastic laughs, my rolling of eyes moments and my little disappointments are condensed into one single star which I’m keeping as a bookmark for my next Murakami novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nags

    Phew. Reading this book is like being in a bad marriage but you can't decide if it's actually bad or not. It started out fantastic. I was engrossed in it and couldn't wait to get home from work every day to just cuddle up with the book in hand. Somewhere along the way, I lost a bit of interest and started thinking about the other unread books in my list. I was tempted to cheat but persevered and gave it my full attention. Some days were great, some days were bad. Some so bad that I skimmed. There's a lo Phew. Reading this book is like being in a bad marriage but you can't decide if it's actually bad or not. It started out fantastic. I was engrossed in it and couldn't wait to get home from work every day to just cuddle up with the book in hand. Somewhere along the way, I lost a bit of interest and started thinking about the other unread books in my list. I was tempted to cheat but persevered and gave it my full attention. Some days were great, some days were bad. Some so bad that I skimmed. There's a lot of sex (and an obsession with breasts) along the way too but what really got to me was the fantastical parts of the book. I wish it wasn't so... silly. Yes, that's the word I choose to use although it may not necessarily describe it. The writing is brilliant, the characters are great, but some of the actual ideas, not so much. With all these ups and downs, I managed to hold on to the love I felt in the beginning and guess I largely succeeded because I did finish it. The translation work is fantastic and often made me wonder how they did it so well, especially where references are made to particular words. I think this book taught me something. I can't commit to a long book fully. I am a skimmer and I am made that way. This book probably deserves a 4-star rating at least, and a better reader than me. So now that I am done, I am going to let go. I hope you enjoy it and know that you are very lucky to have a go at it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nate D

    Updated, April 2012. Long theory explained in the spoiler section in the middle... The odd thing about this book is that whether I like it or hate it hinges on a particular point of interpretation, one that I'm not really sure is meant to be dissected the way I'm doing. As such, I literally can't tell if this is a good book operating by rather obscure and crafty methods, or a bad, actually rather reprehensible book, operating by more straight-forward means. The fact that it's Murakami Updated, April 2012. Long theory explained in the spoiler section in the middle... The odd thing about this book is that whether I like it or hate it hinges on a particular point of interpretation, one that I'm not really sure is meant to be dissected the way I'm doing. As such, I literally can't tell if this is a good book operating by rather obscure and crafty methods, or a bad, actually rather reprehensible book, operating by more straight-forward means. The fact that it's Murakami, someone I'm pretty sympathetic to, and who is not usually dumb or simple or reprehensible, makes me want to believe the former, but I feel like it'd be way too easy to miss the things that make this so. Hmmmm. Talk to me, Murakami readers. (Several months later: I do hope that the lameness of the later book was rooted in some kind of post-modern feminist angle, but it seems admittedly doubtful, and contradicts what I know about Murakami's meandering, often under-directed working methods, which are always present, even in the better work, in the inability to write an ending). Basically, the first half of 1Q84 seems like pretty good Murakami all around. More plot-driven and obviously interconnected than usual, but unusually gripping for a while. And of our leads, Aomame initially seems interesting and unique for Murakami (especially vs. Tengo, a typically lost, empty 30ish Murakami avatar). And thematically, Murakami seems to be dealing with some pretty worthwhile social issues, both for Japan and elsewhere. Also, there's this neat post-modern dimension that really bears some consideration. (Actually, it's these post-modern nuances and intrigues that make the more straight-forward-seeming plotting promise something weirder and more surprising to come). THEN, though, that gripping plot? It climaxes in the very middle of the book and unspools. Of the mysteries and intrigues set up in the first half, few will really be revisited. The book enters a holding formation, and when it comes out, the plot has jumped tracks. Or off the tracks, pretty much. But that's not all so serious, necessarily. Much more damaging, all the thematics I liked in the first half seem to have jumped tracks too, into something that is actually diametrically opposed to the first half of the story as I had read it. The force of this opposition is so strong that, to me, it either destroys the book, or is secretly allied with the first half in a scathing criticism of the reader accepts it too readily. I want to be more specific here, now (also added later): (view spoiler)[Basically, the first half of the book seems to circle around stories of abused women and systematic misogyny in Japanese society. Lack of job advancement, viciously domineering and destructive marriages, and even the amazing girl writer has to be re-written by a man to make her marketable. It's all right there. Is this important to talk about? Absolutely. And then? The middle muddles up the themes a bit by making our focus-of-misogyny cult leader a conflictingly semi-sympathetic character and then everything dissolves into the most casually misogynist of setups: Aomame, cold purposeful avenger against masculine aggression, is reduced to waiting endlessly for a man, her new sole purpose in life. And worse, bearing his child. By now the plot is doing nothing, too, of course, but I'm far more enraged by this disregard for the themes. It's absolutely baffling to me. Who, least of all Murakami, could be satisfied by this? Or by the ending that fulfils all this inexplicable waiting? Yet, where are all the angry women readers? Why are we accepting this? It was all so baffling to me that I started thinking there was a chance I was supposed to be mad. (think: Michael Haneke's Funny Games, a movie carefully calibrated to antagonize the viewer for thematically elegant reasons). What if the second half was designed to support the first half by prodding outrage? The greatest possible support for this is in that post-modern angle: earlier in the book, there's every suggestion that Aomame's story is in fact the novel that Tengo is writing. Details from his life inexplicably permeate hers (Chekhov and Janacek are the two most obvious cases), and the whole of the 1Q84 world-detail is explicitly drawn from Air Chrysalis. Later, Tengo gets drawn in as well. At first, this was just a source of weird, thrilling post-modern intrigue and questioning of reality. But in the second half it could be vital. Though the overt references to Aomone's reality being written around her drop away after the mid-point (another reason for second-half boredom), assume that Tengo is still writing her story (afterall, the manuscript returns at the end: it's the one thing he carries with him!). Then everything that disgusts me is turned around. Tengo's misogynist tendencies drag Aomame into a twilight existence where she loses all of her sense of purpose and anger and is reduced to waiting for him, lovestruck. This is such a terrible male fantasy, it seems obvious. The real object of his desire has not been dreaming about him for the last 20 years, to be sure. So he writes her into a stifled projection, cutting off all of her independence and interest as he goes. It's brutal, an act of violence. One that in every way equals the violence against women in the first half. Thus bringing the whole book together into a cohesive whole. Even the iffier bits of the first half are cast in new light: Aomame's beautiful, deadly female assassin is revealed as another kind of reductive male projection, one we see lots of in Japanese pop-culture. And her previously sort of inexplicable tendency to compare breast size with her friends is revealed as, in fact, Tengo's objectifying gaze, once again. Why spend half a book on such a trick? Again, maybe postmodern tactics. Annoy the reader into revolt (like mine!) and they're forced to confront their own complicity in accepting everything up til that point. Come on: did any of you start out rooting for Aomame and Tengo, then find yourself disgusted by going along with the total de-toothing of her character? I expect the pregnancy bit must have pushed someone past their breaking point. Please, someone else corroborate this. Until then, I can't really be sure if this book could be a clever post-modern feminist tirade and maybe actually socially important (the counterpart to the way Wind-Up Bird Chronicle deals with Japan's post-war identity crisis and tendency to bury or forget the gory details of its past), or if it's just muddledly reprehensible, ill-thought-out crap. All of this interpretation seems both deeply worked into the book, but also maybe totally labored and implausible. I really don't know anymore at this point which one I believe. Unfortunately, I'm tending towards hating it. (hide spoiler)] Seriously, I'm stumped. Did he really spend some 400 pages in semi-secret attack on his own story and readers? Are the readers expected to catch on and learn from the experience? Are even a fraction likely to do this if it is so? It's either a one-star book (self-defeating, obnoxious, thematically problematic), or maybe more like a 3.5 star book (super clever and harsh, but why write your longest book as a trick?). Can't decide. If you have theories, let's talk.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Update - 4 years on... Can it really be that long ago? It's a book I listened to over a period of weeks, over 40 hours worth of the normal Murakami mix of sex, food and parallel dimensions. But that's barely scratching the surface. It's a book that still haunts me, though in truth I can no longer recall much of the detail. I do remember that at heart the narrative is a simple one: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy searches for girl - though this might just be the only simple thing a Update - 4 years on... Can it really be that long ago? It's a book I listened to over a period of weeks, over 40 hours worth of the normal Murakami mix of sex, food and parallel dimensions. But that's barely scratching the surface. It's a book that still haunts me, though in truth I can no longer recall much of the detail. I do remember that at heart the narrative is a simple one: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy searches for girl - though this might just be the only simple thing about this book. I know I'll have to listen to it again - and I really do think that audio is the ideal vehicle for Murakami's longer, more complex pieces - probably within the next 12 months. I know it'll call me back. -------------------------------------- An epic, magnificent and surreal love story. A quiet maths teacher realises he loves a girl he has barely spoken to who, unbeknown to him, has become a contract killer. The story unfolds through the eyes of these two and a third character. It moves slowly - well, it's got plenty of room at something like 1200 pages - and sometimes nothing of any consequence happens for quite some time. The whole thing is complex and surprising. It's beautifully told and I found myself able to accept and even welcome the more bizarre elements. In Murakami's best novels (and this one certainly qualifies) the sense of not knowing where he's going to take you and what it's going to feel like when you get there is exhilarating. I know this book divides opinion but I believe it to be quite brilliant!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    5 Stars Haruki Murakami may well be the most technically gifted story teller in the world today. I am such a huge fan, and love every minute that I spend in his imaginative worlds. His works bend genre lines, and twist between fantasy, science fiction, historical literature, and fairy tale in nature. He writes novels that transport the reader to places that they have never been before. This book 1Q84, is no exception. It is a love story that transcends time and space and questions reality i 5 Stars Haruki Murakami may well be the most technically gifted story teller in the world today. I am such a huge fan, and love every minute that I spend in his imaginative worlds. His works bend genre lines, and twist between fantasy, science fiction, historical literature, and fairy tale in nature. He writes novels that transport the reader to places that they have never been before. This book 1Q84, is no exception. It is a love story that transcends time and space and questions reality itself. It is an ethereal, imaginative, and lyrical tale about long a lost love from childhood. It is filled with the unexpected, with “Little People”, and with fantastical tales. Many themes persevere throughout this tome, but “Things are not what they seem” lies at the heart of the story. I am always blown away at how poetic Murakami’s writing is: “The hothouse air was warm and humid and thick with the smell of plants. Hundreds of butterflies flitted in and out of sight like short-lived punctuation marks in a stream of consciousness without beginning or end. Whenever she came in here, Aomame felt as if she had lost all sense of time.” It can be lyrical and delicious too: “Tengo chopped a lot of ginger to a fine consistency. Then he sliced some celery and mushrooms into nice-sized pieces. The Chinese parsley, too, he chopped up finely. He peeled the shrimp and washed them at the sink. Spreading a paper towel, he laid the shrimp out in neat rows, like troops in formation. When the edamame were finished boiling, he drained them in a colander and left them to cool. Next he warmed a large frying pan and dribbled in some sesame oil and spread it over the bottom. He slowly fried the chopped ginger over a low flame.” There is a great deal of symbolism that is repeated throughout this novel that adds depth and meaning to this story. “A trace of fatigue was discernible in his voice. “One thing should be perfectly clear. My wife is irretrievably lost. She can no longer visit your home in any form. That is what I am saying.”” The main story contains a great deal of religious overtones, involves cults, and god theology. In a poignant chapter involving Ushikawa and Tamaru, Ushikawa quotes Carl Jung, “Cold or Not, God Is Present!” They then have a philosophical discussion on the meaning of this that coincides well with the pulse of this story. This is a huge book that is really three books in one. Books numbers one and two are nearly flawless and are a pinnacle achievement from the master story teller Murakami. The concluding third book seemed out of place. It was terribly slow, introduces an unnecessary third POV, and to me, made our protagonists make contradicting character type decisions. Like all Murakami novels there are so many layers that need to be peeled back like an onion to reach the core. The characters are all created and made to seem real, to be likable, and to be identifiable. The supporting cast is colorful and adds a great deal of profundity to this masterpiece. There is a tremendous amount of symbolism and many themes to talk about. Powerlessness might have been the main theme that drove the story forward as all of our protagonists and antagonists suffered from it to one degree or another. There is simply too much to talk about and to summarize to do any justice to this gem. It is a shame that the third book went in the direction that it did, as this would have been a true masterpiece. To me this was the best written novel of 2011, and will be my favorite of the year. You will be thinking about it long after you finish this massive read. I love Murakami and hope that if you have never read his works before that you will give him a try. "Ho Ho".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Early on, I begin to think, “Murakami sure makes redundancy necessary—attractive even.” 700 pages later on, my expectations are blown to smithereens. Before the strenuous trek, though, I had thought that Murakami’s über-simple prose made reading a true joy: reading for hours in a trance that only the best of books can inspire is almost as rare as a decent meal at a fast food joint. "1Q84 (again, early on… perhaps before page 400 or so) was like a delectable miniseries—you know, the ones that riv Early on, I begin to think, “Murakami sure makes redundancy necessary—attractive even.” 700 pages later on, my expectations are blown to smithereens. Before the strenuous trek, though, I had thought that Murakami’s über-simple prose made reading a true joy: reading for hours in a trance that only the best of books can inspire is almost as rare as a decent meal at a fast food joint. "1Q84 (again, early on… perhaps before page 400 or so) was like a delectable miniseries—you know, the ones that rival the silver screen in their artfulness—each teeny moment was overstuffed, nicely, of course, with drama. Soon, Murakami turns into a bit of a chore though—we go around in circles and the most miniscule of details are overemphasized, revisited, reinterpreted, &, in the end, all of it meaning absolutely nothing. Loose ends? For an overwritten hunk of cheese, there are more loose ends at the ends of this than anything by David Lynch. 1Q84 is risky (but NOT risqué) and the surreal details soon turn into a too intense focus on all things (Japan-circa-1984) mundane. There is, sadly, no glorious payoff after so many pages of droll teeter tottering. It's unnecessarily l-o-n-g for all the wrong reasons (mainly, no one nowadays can tell this titan of lit what to do—he goes unaided in the editing). A point comes (for me a tad too late—perhaps page 750 or so) when your enthusiasm has fully depleted. For a Murakami, this is a tad too vanilla—even the climax is so much like the end of the Twilight saga (i.e. insipidly anticlimactic & uninteresting) that it made me, well sad. Not zen.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    It's so much easier when books leave me with a very clear idea of what I want to say about them. It's much more difficult when I don't find that one hook that I want to rant about or laud to the skies. I'm sort of in that position with 1Q84. I enjoyed it, as I always enjoy Murakami, while being at the same time slightly befuddled about it. His books are a little like reading dreams - weird as all get out, with dream logic that makes sense in context, but make me feel foggy and unsure It's so much easier when books leave me with a very clear idea of what I want to say about them. It's much more difficult when I don't find that one hook that I want to rant about or laud to the skies. I'm sort of in that position with 1Q84. I enjoyed it, as I always enjoy Murakami, while being at the same time slightly befuddled about it. His books are a little like reading dreams - weird as all get out, with dream logic that makes sense in context, but make me feel foggy and unsure about what happened by the light of day. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  27. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Pioneer, or Bra-blazer, in the Mazophilous* Fantasy Genre [*mazophilous-- an "abnormal sexual focus on female breasts, or a breast fetishism"] To my female goodreads friends, in a few paragraphs I hope to explain the two rating so please bare with me, and don't assume the negative and bust me for being male. I've been honest and candid in all my reviews, so I'm not about to make a boob of myself here. This novel must be THE pioneer in mazophilous literature, a/k/a mazolit. I've racked my brain and don't recall reading anything approach Pioneer, or Bra-blazer, in the Mazophilous* Fantasy Genre [*mazophilous-- an "abnormal sexual focus on female breasts, or a breast fetishism"] To my female goodreads friends, in a few paragraphs I hope to explain the two rating so please bare with me, and don't assume the negative and bust me for being male. I've been honest and candid in all my reviews, so I'm not about to make a boob of myself here. This novel must be THE pioneer in mazophilous literature, a/k/a mazolit. I've racked my brain and don't recall reading anything approaching this type of obsession in a literary novel by an estimable author: the female breast as an incandescent symbol repeated and varied in its iterations throughout the novel. The female protagonist is a twiggy 30-something physical therapist/masseuse, who is also a part-time assassin of abusers of women and children. Named Aomami (meaning, literally, "green beans"), she has frequent internal dialogues about female bosoms, the small size of her breasts and the resulting inferiority complex she suffers; she even "mourns" the loss of the breasts of 2 murdered women [if you think I'm lying, ask someone who has read this]. Aomami experienced puppy love in grade school with the male protagonist but hasn't seen him since they were both 11. The cast also includes "little people" borne from a goat's mouth; a butterball of a reclusive cult leader who harbors a death wish; his doll-faced 17-year-old daughter with a stone-like personality and an ample bosom who can serve as surrogate sex partner in storms; a very top-heavy lady law enforcement officer who suffers nymphomania; a married middle-aged woman with "pyriform mammaries" [look, I promise you I'm not making this up] and an abnormal possessiveness of her young beau, who is the male protagonist, a part-time writer who teaches a cram course in math; a pestering, porcine private investigator; and, the protagonist's father, a cable bill collector, whose malevolent doppelganger bangs on doors for hours as he harasses the two female leads. Good news for me was that I could finally check the box by Haruki Murukami's name on my list of 1,000 authors to read before I die. I knew from reading descriptions of his novels that I was in for a story that was likely phantasmagoric. I settled on 1Q84, despite its enormity - 928 pages originally published in Japan as a series of 3 novels. While the book generally maintained my interest, I could not shake off my wish that I was finished every time I picked it up. I'm pretty sure if I'd been more attuned to the parallel universe created (called 1Q84 or land of 2 moons), I'd have appreciated its plethora of symbols and literary structure. I wouldn't read it again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    unknown

    This is the first new Murakami book since I started reading Murakami. -- About six months after I finished this book, and I've just lowered the rating. Why, why have I done this? 1Q84 was a Murakami marathon, and by the time I finally finished it, I think I was experiencing a runner's high. Now I've started to notice all the associated aches and pains. Like, why was this marathon so long? It was certainly a lot longer than 26 miles, and even then, I am pretty sure I ran a b This is the first new Murakami book since I started reading Murakami. -- About six months after I finished this book, and I've just lowered the rating. Why, why have I done this? 1Q84 was a Murakami marathon, and by the time I finally finished it, I think I was experiencing a runner's high. Now I've started to notice all the associated aches and pains. Like, why was this marathon so long? It was certainly a lot longer than 26 miles, and even then, I am pretty sure I ran a bunch of those miles twice. Murakami is famous as a seat-of-the-pants writer. He just sits down and starts writing and eventually the story tells him when to stop, which is only sometimes when he has reached the ending. In some ways, this narrative is one of his more linear and comprehensible. Lots of weird things happen, but the plot more or less makes sense even on a first reading, unlike, say, Kafka on the Shore, which makes no sense at all unless you make huge, huge allowances like "nothing made sense because dream logic!" and even then, try getting two people to agree on what it all means. So I think I was happy that 1) I finished and 2) I basically understood the plot. And, I guess, 3) Murakami's writing is, as usual, alluring, hypnotic, hyper-detailed and evocative. He writes very flat prose (in translation, at least), and never met a simile he didn't take home to bed and make sweet, passionate love to, resulting in yet more hundreds of tiny simile babies to populate his pages, but he's as easy and enjoyable to read as ever. But while this book has its brilliant bits (the town of cats, the image of the air chrysalis, and a few tense assassinations), it is also very repetitive. Very very repetitive. Repeating the same things, over and over, not just saying them once but again and again. Usually with the exact same imagery. Which is fine. Except when your novel is 1,000 pages. The repetition maybe starts to look a little sloppy then. Especially when a large section just repeats a bunch of stuff you already know from a slightly different point of view, and then that part just kind of fizzles out, and you're all, "Ok, there was some nice writing there, an interesting character, but... eh?" Which is a lot of the book: Eh? Narrative dead ends. Lots of dull sex scenes. A romance at its core that kind of makes no sense. Eh. Mostly, the book just left me feeling tired of the author. I didn't even have the energy for a review, let alone the kind of creative noodling that I have enjoyed putting together in lieu of reviews of some of his other books. Granted, I have read nearly all said books in less than three years, but my previous pace didn't bother me at all. This one was exhausting, and it reads like it exhausted Murakami too. I honestly don't know if he has anything left to say. Or say to me, anyway.

  29. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This is my 9th Haruki Murakami and for me, this book is not really different from those earlier eight. The two alternating narrators (1 for each chapter up to the end of Book 2), Tengo and Aomame reminded me of the interspersing but parallel stories he used in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (2 stars). Maybe to make this book a bit different (Wiki says he wrote this for 4 full years), he added the third narrator, Ushikawa whose role seemed to be the most interesting only because he is a lawyer-detective who c This is my 9th Haruki Murakami and for me, this book is not really different from those earlier eight. The two alternating narrators (1 for each chapter up to the end of Book 2), Tengo and Aomame reminded me of the interspersing but parallel stories he used in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (2 stars). Maybe to make this book a bit different (Wiki says he wrote this for 4 full years), he added the third narrator, Ushikawa whose role seemed to be the most interesting only because he is a lawyer-detective who can do deductive reasoning ala-Sherlock Holmes but he sure is ugly with his misshapen head so the other characters call him Bobblehead. The usual Murakami elements that I've encountered reading the earlier eight are also present here, e.g., people disappearing all so suddenly and without a trace in Sputnik Sweetheart (3 stars), the cats behaving and talking like human beings in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (4 stars), character's isolation from the world and strange loveless sex in Kafka on the Shore (4 stars), voyeurism in After Dark (4 stars) and also in "Sputnik." Notice that I used to love Murakami because I was mesmerized to find these elements when I was reading these earlier works. My last Murakami book read was "Hard-boiled" and that was in September 2011. I have at least 2 other books by him in my tbr but I hesitated to read them. I thought I had too much of Murakami in just few years and his books were becoming repetitive. However, this book came out in 2010 and the drum beaters said that this was his best. I still did not buy and showed any interest (that's how much disappointed I was with "Hardboiled"). Until the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die editors dropped "Kafka on the Shore," that I thought was his best work, in favor of this "1Q84" from their latest 2012 edition. Oh no, wrong choice! The other thing that I did not particularly like about this book was its repetitiveness. The plot is, to be frank but of course in my opinion, thin. In fact, "Hardboiled" has a more intriguing premise and more engaging prose like a good-till-its-last-page kind of thing. It seemed to me that Murakami just wanted to join the ranks of Thomas Pynchon, James Joyce, David Foster Wallace, Roberto Bolano, Vikham Seth and Leo Tolstoy who are all effective in writing short as well as long novels without tiring or boring their readers. So, Murakami spent a lot of time unnecessarily describing the milieus as well as repeating the thoughts of his characters. At times, he was aware of this because he used words like "parroting" and "at the risk of repeating myself" but oh yes, the characters repeat themselves. Murakami repeats himself as if the readers have low reading comprehension that should be reminded in each chapter lest they would be lost because the novel is very long. An example of this is in page 1148: "Will you tell me you believe it from the bottom of your heart?" (said Aomame). "I believe it from the bottom of my heart," Tengo replied. This is not the best example because there were some that after a similar exchange of sentences by his two characters, Murakami would still paraphrase, sometimes using the same words, what the two talked about. Can't Tengo just say "Yes"? I don't think that would be a lot different. It reminded me of being in grade school when grammar teachers would always require us to answer in complete sentences. But I am not giving this a lone star. This book is hard for me to dislike. First, Murakami is my sentimental favorite author. His books were introduced to me by a dear friend and his "Kafka on the Shore" (my first) accompanied me during the time that I was recuperating from my knee operation in March 2010. Second, the book is easy to read. Even if you are in a crowded noisy restaurant, even killing time inside a gym lounge or even in the office during lunch breaks, you can read and understand the book. I guess the book is intended for young people because of the supernatural elements and its sci-fi, easy, relax mood. Lastly, the book is popular and no one looks at you as if you are a demented geek or old-fashioned college professor if anyone sees you reading this book. The cover is hip, the title is intriguing and Murakami is well-known already and his works have a cult-like group of followers in the internet and he has a legion of fans all over the world. Bottom line, I am glad I was able to finish reading this book. However, I will never ever read this again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    James

    Still mulling it over but below is the jumble of my initial thoughts. Cons... "There’s a kernel of compelling story buried somewhere in 1Q84, but digging through the layers of tone-deaf dialogue, turgid description, and unyielding plot just isn’t worth the strain."--Christian Williams * Reflective dialog that does nothing more than parrot gets tedious. * Tension expands like a rapidly inflating balloon only to e/>

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