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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Once again Murakami has produced something that is truly magical. I would have to agree with the previous reviewer, if you have never read Murakami before, then this is probably not the best place to start, due to its length and surrealism, if you are not familiar with his work you may end up feeling rather perplexed.

It is 1984, and the place is Japan, but...
Published on 20 Oct. 2011 by M. Dowden

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant moments - but needs a red pen
This review is for books 1, 2 and 3. Slight spoilers.

I finished the 1Q84 trilogy a fortnight ago, and I'm still wondering what to make of it. To be blunt, there are gigantic flaws running throughout all three books. Some ideas, themes and plot points recur over and over again - while others are glossed over or left deliberately, infuriatingly vague. And I...
Published on 3 Mar. 2013 by realslyshady


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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 Oct. 2011
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Kindle Edition)
Once again Murakami has produced something that is truly magical. I would have to agree with the previous reviewer, if you have never read Murakami before, then this is probably not the best place to start, due to its length and surrealism, if you are not familiar with his work you may end up feeling rather perplexed.

It is 1984, and the place is Japan, but things are going to suddenly start altering. With two main characters, Aomame and Tengo, the tale is told in alternating chapters between the two. At first you have a mystery, in that what relation do these two characters actually bear to each other? Both characters seem to be living completely different lives, and have very little in common, but as you progress everything is slowly revealed, drawing you further in to the story. Aomame feels that she is in a different reality, or parallel universe, but is she? Could she just be more real than others? With Aomame as a gym instructor and assassin, and Tengo as a teacher and writer you are completely mesmerised by the two. Taking in such things as religious cults, and some history of what happened in Japan in the last century, this could be seen in some ways as an allergory of the Japanese people as a nation.

There is just so much to take in here, especially with the appearance of the 'Little People' that you are held in thrall. Tengo has taken part in a literary fraud with a publisher and the original writer of a story, and is hoping not to be revealed. Aomame is sent on a mission to kill 'The Leader', the head of a cult.

You could in actuality read this story twice, once reading the chapters to do with Aomame, and then the ones that are about Tengo, but it is much better to read them as a whole and enter Murakami's imagination; just relax and go with the flow, you won't be disappointed.

Once again, if you have never read any fiction by Murakami, I wouldn't suggest this as a first read. I usually tell people to read After The Quake. There is a good reason for this, as this is a short story collection where all the stories centre on one subject, an earthquake. If you enjoy and 'get' those then you should enjoy anything else written by Murakami. I can't wait until next week when the third volume comes out. I should point out that this kindle edition does have an active table of contents.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't start reading this if you have other commitments, 10 Nov. 2011
By 
D. Linney "Derek" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
This book should come with a health warning. Do not start reading this if you have any time commitments - certainly not if you should be studying or have exams pending or something important on at work. I started Book 1 and then kept reading and kept reading ... into Book 2 .......... and have just finished Book 3. It's weird in places and yes it is repetitive as has been remarked in a couple of reviews but it is totally compelling.

It is, however, really one book broken down into three parts. Don't start unless you are prepared to read the full set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant moments - but needs a red pen, 3 Mar. 2013
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Paperback)
This review is for books 1, 2 and 3. Slight spoilers.

I finished the 1Q84 trilogy a fortnight ago, and I'm still wondering what to make of it. To be blunt, there are gigantic flaws running throughout all three books. Some ideas, themes and plot points recur over and over again - while others are glossed over or left deliberately, infuriatingly vague. And I could handle the repetition, were it not for such unwieldy prose. Dialogue, monologue and description are all incredibly clunky. I've no way of knowing how much of this is down to the original manuscript, and how much to the translation, but I was dismayed at the change in style compared to other Murakami novels.

Despite these issues, there is still a lot to like in 1Q84. Some of the narrative strands are Murakami at his best - the two moons, the Little People, the phantom NHK collector - and the air chrysalis is a great allegory for exploring memory, love and loss. I've been chewing it over for days, and I think that's the key to this novel - it's about revisiting the past to seize on missed opportunities. But it's too long by half or more - seriously - and it's a chore to read, which is a real pity.

It might be splitting hairs, but if I could give this 2.5/5, I would. It's definitely better than a 2, but barely deserves a 3. Approach with caution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK as thriller, but is there an idea?, 23 Feb. 2014
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Paperback)
As a result of a dysfunctional childhood, Murakami’s principal characters Aomame, Tengo and Fuka-Eri are displaced people. They’ve each experienced parental oppression and abuse, whether from Jehovah’s Witnesses, an obsessive insurance salesman, or the leader of a mystery cult. They become involved in alternative behaviour. Aomame executes sex offenders, Tengo’s life is minimalist, Fuka-Eri is partially disconnected. They inhabit a parallel universe with two moons and the existence of the menacing ‘Little People’. They are obsessed with sex.

Murakami weaves a gripping thriller to the climax of Aomame’s ultimate act on page 643, but after that the book becomes flat and trundles on endlessly for a further 160 pages. But is he also saying something? Perhaps social displacement inevitably constructs alternative paradigms? Maybe awareness of another realm is an option? Perhaps stripped of our sophisticated modern civilisation, sex is obsessive in our more primitive being? These are interesting possible interpretations, but if he intends them, Murakami leaves them too obscure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but spoilt with unnecessary detail..., 13 Jun. 2012
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
There are two things that irritate me with these stories. Firstly, there's a fair bit of product placement; secondly, I still don't understand the need for most of the sexually explicit content. It was not necessary to know which brand of beer was being drunk (petrol advertised, cigarettes smoked...); the story wouldn't have made less sense if the sex had been eluded to rather than described in minute detail.

I am a big fan of Japanese literature and the stories really didn't disappoint in that respect, on the whole, but they didn't have the quality of my (current) favourite contemporary Japanese author, Kazuo Ishiguro.

I have yet to get a copy of Book 3, but I'm looking forward to finding out what happens. Five stars for most of the book: minus two stars for the sleaze.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Should Visit 1Q84, 26 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
From the outset I want to nail my colours firmly to the mast - I absolutely loved this book, loved everything about it and have now ordered Book Three and can't wait for it to arrive so I can live a little longer in the world of 1Q84.

The book follows the lives of the two main characters Tengo and Aomame in a series of alternating chapters focused on one or other of them in turn. Tengo is an aspiring novelist and writer, who eventually takes on the task of "re-writing" a book for subsequent submission for a literary prize. Throughout the book this is a great mechanism for Murakami to give a fantastic insight into the writing process and beyond. Aomame on the other hand is a kind of avenging assassin, wreaking revenge in the most subtle, understated but super-efficient way, with her victims essentially men who are abusers. In the early stages of the novel there seems no connection between the two in any way but of course you expect that connection and it comes. But it is brilliantly done. As you read it you are fed tiny pieces of the connections between the two but it's teased out gently, page after page, a bit like a spider spinning the most delicately interwoven web which is only revealed to you by the morning dew gathering on its threads - and even then it's revealed to you one dew drop at a time as it were.

The two main characters and their intertwining lives are supplemented by the story of Fuka-Eri, a 17 year-old girl who writes the most fantastic novel in terms of narrative but in terms of style and structure it's all over the place. It needs re-written and that's where Tengo comes in and eventually Aomame becomes linked into it too. Of course there's so much more to the story than this but I won't say more in any case anybody who reads this post decides to try 1Q84 - I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone as it's a joy to read this book!

There's something odd and a kind of friction and tension within the personality of every character in the book for me, even in the very minor characters, but somehow this added to rather than detracted from my enjoyment of the novel. Consequently, because of the slightly strange feel to everything I wouldn't say I was able to completely empathise with Tengo, Aomame, Fuka-Eri or any other character in the book. But I was fascinated by them and I felt I did kind of understand them. They are so well drawn that their complexities, features and lives simply leap off the page at you.

The book is wonderfully well written. No matter what he explores in a chapter it is always done with a kind of vibrancy in the writing and yet there is a feeling of a writer applying an economy of effort at the same time. It reads like one of those books where the author says just the right words, just the right amount of words and just at the right time, on every single page.

Above all though for me what I loved most about this book is "story" itself. Clearly there are obvious parallels between it and Orwell's 1984. I read Orwell's book a long time ago as a very callow adolescent. I remember enjoying reading it but 1Q84 definitely moved me more than Orwell's book. (That may of course simply be a maturity thing for me personally). I loved the fact that somehow this is what I tend to think of as a "clever" book, in fact it's a toweringly "clever" book, and yet it stayed on the right side of clever from start to finish and never strayed into the "look how clever I am" territory that I sometimes find with some other authors.

At this point I've no idea where it will go next in Book Three - but I can't wait to find out
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started well and then became childish., 7 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Kindle Edition)
This book because of its content is not for children, but the plot and SF content is childish and unbelievable. This is a pity as the writing is good and the descriptions vivid. Having finished book 2 (book 1 was much better) with difficulty, hoping that the ending might be believable, I had no interest whatsoever in reading book 3.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Great Disappointment, 10 Feb. 2012
By 
D. Robinson (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
Murakami's great skill has been to combine the daily routine of a protagonist's life with a surreal events & happenings, whilst making the surreal as everyday as preparing a meal. In 19Q4 Murakami fails to display his usual prowess and instead fills far too many pages with too few happenings. Indeed he translators would have been doing both author and reader a great favour by producing an abridged version so that what little interest the reader has gained in the characters can be rewarded without slogging through repetitive and often clichéd chapters.Even the surrealism & otherworldly links aren't as interesting or involving as previous offerings, an unlike previous novels here we get a little handholding explanation.

This is the first Murakami book I wouldn't recommend reading. I finished it, but only just and certainly won't be reading book 3.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Murukami, did you get lost in your own story.?, 25 Jan. 2013
By 
V. Oscarsson "Victoria Oscarsson" (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
Through Book 1 finally though the reading goes quite quickly, I am bored by the repetition but most important, the characters are flat and do not interest me especially as they get described over and over as if the reader did not get the visual appearance the first time. Too much unnecessary sex seems to go nowhere, and an overall emotionless tale brings one down into sordid behavior and a ridiculous scenario around this dyslexic non-speaking/supposedly talented teen age/writer.
I agree with all those who suggested that the editors got trapped in their over beefed up stew. Right now I would like to have a summary and simply know how the other two books conclude if they conclude at all.
Murukami, what great books you have written, my favorite, Kafka on the Shore, which was fast moving with deep character development and curiosities of mystery and coincidence. Also, the translation was terrific.
I have questioned whether Murukami is just making fun of the reader who now is prone to goggle over his every precious word. Even the writing itself lacks its former elegance and moving descriptions for which one holds on to every tantalizing image.
Perhaps Murukami is facing mid-life crisis.
1Q84 is a brilliant exercise in indulgence and a waste of words. I would be curious how and why it became a best seller in Japan other than he is perhaps the most famous of their writers internationally.
Come back Murukami. Are you now too in love with your own creations to know how to write an enthralling novel? Did you get lost in your own story. What a waste of a great writer's time and gift. You could have cut it in half. I would not want this book to be part of my writing legacy. I was truly surprised and disappointed.
Perhaps you have been running too much.
Regretfully,
Victoria Oscarsson
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IQ84 book 1, 10 Dec. 2011
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
This volume contains Books 1 and 2 of Murakami's IQ84 - I understand that when originally published in Japanese they appeared separately so I want to review them that separately (and not influence the Book 1 review by reading Book 2 at the same time). I am, therefore, reviewing Book 1 now and will and modify this to include a review of Book 2 later.

The story concerns Aomame, a woman who, at the start of the book is late for an appointment - saying what for would give too much away - and Tengo, an aspiring writer who is engaged to rework a story by a 17 year girl, Fuka-eri, so that it can win a literary prize. Her story is, I think, key to the world - or worlds - described here, as its events and charecters, which are alluded to but never set out clearly, seem to be shaping both Aomame's world and Tengo's.

IQ84 proceeds in alternate chapters, focussing on the two central characters. While a loose link between the stories does emerge, they never cross over and by the end of Book 1 we're uncertain even whether the two exist - or have ever existed - in the same reality: at the start, Aomame seems to have been jolted into a parallel world - the IQ84 of the title - but whether she has gone to, or come from, Tengo's reality and whether a similar moment comes for him, is delightfully unclear. They could be living in each others' dreams, Tengo could be writing Aomame's story as he reworks Fuka-eri's material - or neither.

I only have two criticisms of the book. First, the pace is a rather slow in the middle. It's gripping at the start, as we learn about Aomame's and Tengo's lives, but then flags, only picking up speed towards the end, with threats of various sorts to Fuka-eri and, possibly, the others, looming. Secondly, some of the sex narrated here made me squirm - not, I hope, from prudery but more because it simply didn't ring true": I wondered if a nomination for the Bad Sex awards was on the cards. (I recently read The Pursued a totally different sort of book written in 1930s England and undiscovered since then and, of course, in keeping with the times it was much more reticent about such things despite being - in its own words - a story of lust, bloodshed and revenge. But it does make me wonder whether, in this respect at least, less isn't more. But I honestly can't decide whether that might not have been the intended effect ie that Murakami is using this to signal something about his characters or the worlds they inhabit.)

It's all very Alice in Wonderland and I'm really looking forward to reading Book 2.
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1Q84: Books 1 and 2 by Haruki Murakami
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