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4.1 out of 5 stars151
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 15 February 2013
A great story about some great (and typically Murakami-esque) characters. It felt a bit slow in places, but the writing style kept me hooked and the intermittent references to mysteries such as the Little People and the crow really piqued my curiosity. I loved how the story left questions unanswered, and reflected the in-story best seller 'Air Chrysalis' - a complex fantasy, which, although revealing little about its fictional world, grabbed readers attention thanks to its gripping style and curious plot. Very nicely done.

I was left thinking about it for days afterwards, which I always see as a sign of enjoyment. Murakami takes such care over his characters, and I always find that you can't help missing them a bit once you've finished one of his books! The book didn't quite make 5 stars because I got the feeling that it could all have been done in fewer pages, but I would absolutely recommend it to fans of the author nevertheless. If you are looking for your first Murakami read however, then look elsewhere (Kafka on the Shore, Hardboiled Wonderland).
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2011
Taken as a whole, and not just book three, I've found 1Q84 a big disappointment. In all honesty, it's just a bit boring. Even if the three books were edited down I don't think that would make the novel any more exciting; the core of the story is empty and dull.

The whole way through 1Q84 I just kept thinking that the book felt like someone else trying their hardest to write a Murakami novel. The references to classical music and jazz, the bits devoted to food, the ear fetish, the surreal touches - all the boxes were being ticked off. Even the central premised was there - average 30 something male lead caught up in a whirlwind of confusion - classic Murakami.

But this time it all felt so hollow. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is very similar (on a simple level: average guy looking for his wife whilst strange things happen around him) but 1Q84 lacks the underlying darkness and vague menace that runs through TWUBC. Murakami does a very good job in TWUBC of highlighting some rather sinister undercurrents in Japanese society. 1Q84 is devoid of that. Sakigake or the Little People just never really felt like actual threats or forces that needed to be countered.

This left a gaping void in the story, which meant I experienced 1Q84 as a novel full of average characters doing very boring things. It didn't bore me when Mr Wind-Up Bird spent time in the bottom of a well but it DID bore me in this novel when Tengo or Aomane spent so much time doing not very much.

And their relationship / feelings were something I had a hard time buying into. I could accept it from Aomane's side but Tengo seems to wake-up about halfway through the novel and suddenly remember that he's had a life-long crush on his former class mate. Up until that point he's fine having his adulterous relationship and admiring Fuka-Eri (even if he says he doesn't feel any sexual feelings towards her). But suddenly that all changes in a flash. That undermined another central part of the story for me.

The prose in 1Q84 seemed unusually lifeless too. The usual sparkle was missing and in its place was a whole lot of repetition (Fuka-Eri conversations were a special bore). Oh, and there was a whole load of needless sex and large wads of Chekov dumped in the story too, all of which seemed thoroughly self-indulgent (though, yes, that criticism mostly applies to books one and two, and not three).

1Q84 isn't terrible but I struggled to finish book three and came away with very little love for the novel (by contrast I had to skim the end of Kafka on the Shore I was so bored with the book, so it's not THAT bad). Is it just me then? It's true my favourite Murakami novels (and I've read all his works) are his earlier ones (AWSC, HBW, DDD). After Dark was fine but it was also very slight. I'm feeling unconvinced by Murakami's latest offerings and 1Q84 was a big disappointment after the expectations I had. This might well be the last time I get one of his novels in hardback at launch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2012
Hugely repetitive, Book 3 of 1Q84 should have been condensed down into a few chapters and tacked on to the end of the first two books. Nothing really happens for the first half, then it resolves slowly in a fairly predictable manner but leaving many questions unresolved.

Overall, I felt it was trying too hard to be a lengthy 'classic'...
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2011
If you're a Murakami fan you'll love 1Q84. It's definitely up there with "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" and "Dance, Dance, Dance". All the elements and characters you would expect of a Murakami novel are present. The lead male character - Tengo - is a sensitive young man with an unhappy upbringing ploughing his idiosyncratic and troubled furrow through life. He is on a quest to find what is missing from his life and as well as wanting to unravel some of the mysteries relating to his past. He is of course both discriminate and passionate about food, drink, clothes, music and literature. The main female character - Aomame - is beautiful, determined and very capable young woman who has also had to overcome a very unhappy childhood and is every bit as much a loner as Tengo. The mandatory weirdness includes "Air Chrysalises", "Little People" and a second - little, green - moon.
Murakami is a superb story-teller, who writes with intelligence and compassion about real people who have to cope with very real human issues like family, sex, love, death and loneliness in a world where fantastical things can and frequently do happen. If you've never read a Murakami book before you're in for a treat so long as you're prepared to go with the flow. You'll also learn a lot about Literature, Classical Music and Japanese vegetables.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2012
First two books were excellent but I thought the ending was weak
leaving too many loose endings.What characters were left in the
so called different world, had any of them survived from the first
world where the story originally started? It left too much hanging
for me, it became just a weak love story.
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on 14 May 2013
I think this deserves a high rating because it was a cracking yarn, in that I wanted to know what happened and this drove me forward. Murakami's characters are loners but never boring because they are subject to strange experiences and it is difficult to work out whether the strangeness rises out of the character itself or whether it really is the external world that drives them to do what they embark on. The plot is interesting and it is satisfying to see how it comes to almost full circle. The characters are fascinating - usually quite ascetic but have particular standards whether in their clothes or in this book, their attention to the kind of food they eat as well as the process of making it. Quite a few questions remain unanswered but then - why not? Must the reader have everything sewn up and put into its place? I like the strangeness of plot, the strangeness of character and while it seems too easy for the happy ending, again, why not?
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on 5 September 2012
I read this book earlier in the year and, for reasons that I now completely fail to understand I was not impressed - in fact I remember saying in an earlier review that I found this final volume disappointing and had wished that Murakami had left the story at the end of Volume 2.
I don't know what sort of mid-life crisis I was experiencing then but I could not have misjudged this marvellous book more egregiously. This third volume is simply fantastic, in all senses if that so heavily overused word.
The characters of both Aomame and Tengo ae simply charming, and the plot that Murakami weaves is utterly enchanting. I am so glad that I read his lovely book again, and am now worried about what other misjudgements I might have made.
I see that Penguin's paperback edition now groups all three books in one volume, which probably makes more sense.
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This final book in the 1Q84 trilogy has attracted mixed reviews, and frankly I can agree with the vast mix of good and bad reviews that I have read. Personally this is probably my favourite of the three, though in truth virtually nothing happens. Despite featuring a hit woman laying low, a sinister cult, supernatural ‘little people’ this is at heart a book about the mysteries of death and love, and how we live with ourselves.

The prose is absolutely consistent throughout the book, so if you find it tedious to begin with, better to give up, but there is a crystal purity to the writing that draws you into the quiet lives of the protagonists.

I’m not sure that I will rush to read another Murakami book, but by the end I was fond of this fresh world, slightly askew from our own.
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on 29 May 2012
Yes, there were many ends left loose, but that's okay-they weren't part of our world and so don't require explanation!

Why readers adopt the same expectations from a Murakami novel as most other novels is beyond me. The story was drawn to a really strong conclusion, as regards the major characters, and those on the periphery are simply getting on with their lives in this world or 1Q84.I really don't see the problem with this.

This whole book in 3 parts has been a triumph, although I did feel that the pace dropped considerablty in book 3-possibly due to the introduction of the third chapter focus-possibly due to the change in translator.

Taken overall, this is an absolute gem, faulted on a number of levels but still totally unique, for fans of Murakami.
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on 3 June 2013
This was everything I'd expect from Murakami. Delightfully gratuitous in it's sex and violence whilst retaining the neccessity for this gratuitousness. My favourite Japanese author is still Kenzaburo Oe, and you can't read a Murakami book expecting to get the gritty realism of Oe, but if you want yet another bizarre slice of what passes for life in the mind of this brilliant man you've come to the right place as all his usual ingredients are there. If I had to criticise anything, it's that he gives away too many hints about how everything will end, and then ends it all far too quickly. I would have liked to see the mystery being kept until closer to the end, and then maybe a gradual ending over a few chapters rather than such a sudden conclusion. But hey that's me.
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