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1Q84: Books 1 and 2 Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099549069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099549062
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A surreal and fractured dose of storytelling that only Murakami cold write." (Graham Morrison, five stars Linux Voice)

"Murakami's magnum opus" (Japan Times)

"1Q84 has a range and sophistication that surpasses anything else in his oeuvre. It is his most achieved novel; an epic in which form and content are neatly aligned... So like Murakami himself, I'll borrow from Orwell: 1Q84 is quite simply doubleplusgood" (Independent on Sunday)

"1Q84 reads like a cross between Stieg Larsson and Roberto Bolaño... In its bones, this novel is a thriller" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

'The international bestseller from one of the world's greatest living novelists' - Guardian

Shortlisted for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
This is what happens when a writer gets so popular that his editor(s) can no longer advise him, or he refuses to listen. I can't see any other way that this book got published in it's current format.

I've been a Murakami reader for quite some time and have read most of his published work. This book is too long, highly repetitive, and unoriginal in the sense that he is repeatedly regurgitating his own ideas from previous novels. Add to this a translation that is poor and highly irritating, and you have a largely indigestible package.

But all of this could have been, and indeed should have been eliminated by some honest editing. The material itself could happily be cut by half without losing ideas, plot or atmosphere. It took me a while (a long while) to read this book but a lot of the time I felt like I was in Groundhog Day, with the same scenes described with the same language over and over and over. Judicious use of a large red marker could have tightened up the flow and pace dramatically, though I do worry that there are so few original [to Murakami] ideas in the book that eliminating the repetition may have left little.

But clearly the editors were too scared to criticise their master, and instead we have a slow, rambling story where we drift back and forth doing the same thing again and again.

By the time the final novel was handed over for translation into English it was way too late for the English editors to do much about the novel as a whole, but why they allowed such a ridiculous translation to be released I'll never know. The whole book reads like it's been translated in a rush with little care over choice of words. If there was any beautiful prose in the original, none of it survived.
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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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