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  • 1Q84
  • Customer reviews

on 20 July 2017
Many of the motifs common to Murakami's oeuvre are here - enigmatic women who disappear, and sometimes reappear, loneliness, memory and mysterious animals, all swept along by the dream-like narration that he is the undisputed master at delivering.

Readers of different mindsets will enjoy varying aspects of this book. For me, the close bond of friendship between Aomame and Ayumi was a highlight - so poignantly described, as was Tengo's night out with the nurses working at his father's care home. Others might find the surrealistic nature of some of the plot more enriching than I did. I couldn't see the point of the Little Creatures, who were never properly explained (maybe that's Murakami's point - he describes a world that can only be half-described). Where the symbolism could be directly correlated to the narrative - the two moons rather obviously symbolising Tengo and Aomame and the two worlds they have inhabited - Murakami has handled them well. Other imagery is hit and miss.

The plot deals with some very serious issues - child abuse, religious cults, violence against women - but in typical Murakami style they are delivered with the same deft hand that describes a willowy cloud or a rain shower. That, I guess, explains why I was so surprised to see so many suicides in the movie version of "Norwegian Wood" - I had simply forgotten that these happened in the novel itself.

There is, without doubt, something mesmerising and very beautiful about Murakami's writing, and it is hard to resist feeling that you too are trying to navigate your way through the puzzling world of 1Q84 like Tengo and Aomame. But a novel of loose threads that remain untied at the end can be frustrating - after 1200 pages, I was left wishing there could have been a Book 4, sewing up the narrative conclusions that are so often intentionally withheld in the whimsical, lovely and sometimes frustrating writings of this brilliant author!
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2018
Having read and adored Wind-up Bird Chronicles, I decided I wanted to lose myself again in the immersive surreal world of Murakami. What best than reading his second oceanic novel 19Q4? I was not disappointed. What an amazing story! Beautiful and gripping like a mad, transcendental thriller! A woman-assassin, an enigmatic dowager, a dodgy powerful cult, a eerie teenager-author of a weird best-seller...The list of what makes this novel a superb and incomparable masterpiece is long...it is packed-full of moments and images forever engraved in my imagination. For the first half I could hardly believe that Murakami could carry on at that level of 'amazing' for 1320 pages! But alas towards the middle, at some point, yes, the oversized novel starts to show its flab. It probably starts to sag when the chapters with Ushikawa are introduced. This flawed character might be needed to make the plot move on but dwelling that much on him also terribly slows it down, paradoxically. The alternate chapters of Tengo/Aomane/Ushikawa then also start to often cover the same events from each character's point of view. Bit tedious for the reader. It really feels like that the second half would have greatly benefited from a taut and strict editing. Instead, the plot wades in many instances of disgressions or excessive divagations. It is a great pity because it is an heroic, fantastic novel in so many ways. By over-dwelling on certain passages Murakami has undermined his own masterpiece. The ending, I could say, is also a little problematic and underwhelming after a build-up of 1320 pages! Of course you can't have a rational, neat resolve to a mostly irrational story but still. Quite a few threads are left hanging that after such lengths, lyou'd hope squarrely finalised. But nevertheless, in spite of its little flaws here and there, it would be silly to rate 19Q4 at anything else than 5 stars as it surpasses by such long way (not in size but in quality of course!) any novel you can currently read! Reading his prose is like sliding into a magic, effortless parallel world indeed. Murakami is a true writer everyone should read rather than waste time (like I do too!) with mini-author-egos freshly out of a 'creative writing course'. A not perfect but wonderful masterpiece.
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on 18 April 2018
I have problems reading anything longer than a Ray Carver short story, so it is a testament to Murakami’s skill that I finished a book of 1300 pages. However, the end was not altogether satisfying because so many loose ends were not tied up. This is a Murakami trait. 1Q84 is a bit like a soap opera where secondary plotlines trail off and are never resolved; minor characters just disappear and never come back.
The main characters are beautifully crafted, and this draws the reader in; you have to know what happens to them. The loose structure is part of the Murakami signature style, so that should not be too much of a surprise.
The Rider Song
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on 11 May 2016
Whilst some have described this work as repetitive and hard going I found myself completely drawn into the strange but familiar world of 1Q84 with its twin moons.

The story is absorbing and the main characters attractive. Events slowly unfold as both the stories protagonists and the reader learn a little bit more - rather like the peeling away of onion skins.

The second book finishes leaving more questions unanswered than answered and I for one am looking forward to Book 3.

Very much books for the discerning rather than the casual reader I cannot but recommend them.
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on 8 June 2014
It has always seemed to be to be a frightening concept to me, to be trapped in a parallel reality, similar to our own, but not quite the same.

This is what happens one of the protagonists of the story. The characters are interesting and the mystery of the story holds you until the last page.

There was a slightly dubious bit where a grown up author has sex with a teenage girl, justified by mysticism, which I did not feel completely comfortable with - but at least it will make you think about the issues involved in that.

Did not feel like I had to continue to read the next books in the series as a lot of the loose ends had been wrapped up by the end of this one.
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on 26 October 2014
I adored this book. It's one of those total immersion experiences, which Murakami gives us with most of his works. I struggle reading anything by him on Kindle, so I recommend the paper version. So many motifs from his previous works culminated here. In a strange way, if 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' was a short story, this would be the follow-up novel. But it has elements of all his novels, from Hardboiled Wonderland to Kafka on the Shore and Wind up Bird Chronicle.

A stunning love story, with unforgettable characters. It's archetypal, and it cuts very deep. Highly recommended, but you need to be ready to read it.
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on 4 March 2012
I enjoy Murakami's books - they're not generally action-packed but they have a style and atmosphere I find addictive. I was therefore looking forward to 1Q84. I was not disappointed. Yes, there is an occasional naivity in phrasing and some repetition but whether this is deliberate or due to the (perhaps rushed) translation I can't say and it certainly didn't distract. (I was happy with the two moons but I do have to admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable with the "Little People" even although they don't feature a great deal in books 1 and 2.)

I was frequently very keen to know what was going to happen next to Aomame and Tengo but I agree that to read the odd then the even chapters would spoil the effect. I think the whole point is to follow - and be able to compare - how events develop and the characters' convergence.

* Read the book.
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on 26 November 2012
I bought this on the strength of having read some of Murakami's previous works and I was no disappointed. The characters are beautifully crafted and the world is convincing and confusing by turns! A wonderful adventure told by expert hands. I have to add, however, that had Murakami stopped after Volume 2 I would have been quite happy with the ending. As I waded in to Volume 3 I was thinking, well, the story's already finished, but Volume 3 rounds of the story wonderfully and resolves many of the questions raised in the previous two volumes. Loved it all the way through, despite my misgivings at the start of Volume 3. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes to read!
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on 13 June 2016
Although it came extremely highly recommended, and it was initially quite good, I struggled to finish the 2 volume set, and found it very long and tedious. The writing/translation is good, and the growth of the characters over the course of the story is interesting, and the themes are all things I would normally love, but it was mainly hard work, and I'm unlikely to read it again, nor to start volume 3.
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on 10 February 2013
I bought the Kindle editions when first available but delayed reading them as I knew a 3 part book was not something I looked forward to. Eventually I decided book 1 in December, book 2 in January and book 3 in February. And it was worth the wait. As usual an excellent translation helped the story to unfold, we are treated to two characters in search of each other, and we know they will eventually get together, but Murakami's surreal landscape provides the main interest and the nature of Cult behavior with it's secrecy and control adds another dimension. I'm an unashamed Murakami fan and can't wait for his next offering.
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