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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realises, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - 'Q' is for 'question mark'. A world that bears a question.

Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame's and Tengo's narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's, 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami's most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

BONUS AUDIO: Audible interviews the translators of 1Q84, Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.

©2011 Haruki Murakami (P)2011 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"It is a work of maddening brilliance and gripping originality, deceptively casual in style...vibrating with wit, intellect and ambition." ( The Times)
"Eerie, suspenseful and packed full of gorgeous ordinary details and provocative extraordinary events...funny, fresh and intensely surreal. Unmissable." ( Marie Claire)

What listeners say about 1Q84

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Impossibly Repetitive

At least half of this book could be edited out.

Has Murakami gotten to the point in his career where editors can't make suggestions? This book seems to tell me more about the author's sexual fantasies and delusions of self importance than an adventure in great fictional story telling.

The underlying method appears to be: 1. Tell me what you're going to tell me. 2. Tell me again. 3. Tell me what you just told me.

Skip the audio book and get the paperback so you can more easily flip passed the volumes of repetition and fluff. Or better yet skip the entire thing and read/listen to something else. I have a problem about having to finish something after I start it and 46 hrs later after much cussing and annoyance I finished it. I'm not proud.

Some may think this repetition and fluff is character developing and world building – but its not. All it does is highlight the illogical thought processes of the characters and their general stupidity.

Maybe I'm not the audience. Maybe it's better in the original language. Maybe its for 12 year old girls.

The only way to get through this is at x1.5 or x1.75 speed. At first the narration is very particular and has an ASMR quality which is great for the first couple of chapters then you realise just how slow it is.

I wouldn't recommend this torture to anyone.

8 people found this helpful

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Struggled to finish. Unnecessarily Long.

Too repetitive. The story was interesting but I kept thinking 'I get it already' . His short stories are better. The male narrator was good, the female no so much. I felt that this was a kids story trying to be adult literature. a bit pretentious ..would be a fantastic anime.

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointing and clumsy

It read like a teenage boy had written large parts. I don't know any women who think about their own breasts half as much as the female characters in 1Q84. My eyes were nearly rolling out of my head by the end.

3 people found this helpful

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I loved this book

This was an amazing storytelling the narrators brought the characters to life
I have never read a translation from Japanese and I must say I loved it and are now searching for similar works.

3 people found this helpful

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Captivated the entire time

The narration for this story is very well done, the book is so large and daunting that I don't think I could have maintained reading it as regularly as I did when listening to this audiobook. I love hearing the surreal and detailed descriptions and listening to this book provided a very convenient means of escape during the work week.

7 people found this helpful

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Third time around even better.

I've read this book twice before listening to it. The narration was perfect and made the work more entrancing.

5 people found this helpful

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Surrealist and wonderful!!

A complex and beautiful surrealist story! I loved the main characters and their journey.

1 person found this helpful

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Different

I love Japanese and have always wanted to read Japanese literature but this was extremely different then anything else I've read before. I will one day read this in Japanese but for now am happy to have listened to the English version. People seem to either like it or hate it but I just find this whole thing curious and the narrators voices are all to me calming.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ST
  • 04-09-2019

Mesmerising novel that is a bit too long

1Q84 is an excellent piece of fiction. The best parts are absolutely sublime. The worst parts are cheesy and a bit snooze-worthy.
Overall this is an great book. If you are a Murakami fan you'll find plenty to love here.
He could have written this book in 2/3rds of the length and got the important parts across though.
If you're new to Murakami I'd suggest Kafka on the Shore to see his genius at its absolute burning mercurial best.
If you've read his key works already and want more then yes I'd recommend picking this up and strapping in for one hell of a bizarre and beautiful ride.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MFR
  • 19-01-2018

Long ride - but worth it.

If you could sum up 1Q84 in three words, what would they be?

Long surreal romance.

What did you like best about this story?

Multiple viewpoints of different characters converging.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The meeting of Tengo and Aumame.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Beware the town of cats.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phillip
  • 04-02-2012

complex, surreal and very very long

I am a huge Murakami fan. I think his style is very suited to the audiobook format, especially as music features as almost another character. In addition to listening to the audiobook I also ended up downloading several songs, and searching for albums that the characters were listening to.

This is a vast novel, and if you have not encountered Murakami before, perhaps try something like the windup bird or a shorter story to begin with. For me, IQ84 is a wonderful story, that turns in on itself and was the perfect companion on a long hour long compute back and forward to the office.

It is a story about murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties but at its heart it is about love. It is wonderful.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sonia
  • 13-05-2012

Imagine if you were a character within a book...

Imagine how it would feel if you were a character within a narrative world - and knew it. To top it off the pesky author of the novel you live in keeps changing his mind. There are subtle differences in the way your world is articulated - mirroring the editing process.

There is a sense of melancholy in that some characters, such as the Leader, are unable to be something other than how they are figured in the narrative. He is restricted by this story world. His communiaction with the little people suggests his constructedness - he is aware of his fictionality - he knows he is merely a figment of an author's imagination, and is bound to do what the little people tell him to do.

I don't think I could get through this book by reading the print version. I've read a lot of Murakami's novels before, but this one is particularly long. In addition, there is a lot of layering to this novel, where there is the slightly nuanced repetition of story lines. It was nice listening to them- they are like the receding and returning tides of the ocean (yes, a weird simile, but you'll get what I mean if you listen long enough).

I highly recommend this to people who enjoy fantasy,science fiction, magic realism, narrative studies, Eng Lit majors, people who love Japan, Murakami, etc. etc.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anniebligh
  • 19-12-2011

Blown away by this

OK this is not for Murakami virgins.
We have three voices. Same alternate world of two moons.Girl, Boy and a mystery.
I think the music is important, and I think Art is important. Intentional or not I see Jeffrey Smart in the freeway and steps and "Tiger in your Tank' signs.
A kind of shared dreamscape. A shared reality that does shift.While each voice connects, the shared experience of sitting on top of the slippery dip and looking at the two moon is an image I will not forget.
I put this, 1Q84 alongside James Joyce 's Ulysses, each explores the limitations of the spoken or written word and deliver human experience of this world.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 19-04-2012

How many loose ends can one book have???

Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

The story sets up so many intriguing scenarios that you want to keep reading, the female role was completely repetitive and annoying at times but it was still enough to keep on. It was on the verge of becoming an intricately bound novel with multiple layers, instead it fell flat in almost all plot lines, Characters appear & disappear,they suggest a larger story which is then left mostly untouched, yes there are 2 moons we get it!.I got to the end and went back through the book again to see if I missed any chapters?????

Has 1Q84 turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The ability to finish, far to long and repetitive in the main points.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lenin
  • 21-05-2020

Take your time to listen to this book

At first I could not stop listening to the book, but addy some point I lost track and had to take a break. However even after not listening to this book for some time, getting back into it was easy.

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  • Bradley Shannon
  • 11-02-2020

Frustratingly long, disappointed.

This book is not for the faint of heart, and I knew going in that it was polarising - people seem to either love it or really dislike it. I tend to only review books that disappoint me, which this did. It’s not bad, just disappointing. I will be a little vague here to try to avoid spoilers but I may not succeed so please proceed with caution. My biggest disappointment is that the author is obviously a talented writer and the book has just enough in it to keep you going, but not enough to justify the length. I kept waiting for the story to build up beyond the basic plot outlined in the earlier parts and that didn’t really happen. An additional character comes into the story later that adds much needed tension but it felt like a bit of an afterthought - so it helped keep things moving but then went nowhere. Other reviews mention the many unanswered questions but I’m ok with that generally in stories like this, I like using my imagination and reflecting on the meaning of something even after I have finished a story. However in this story there are things introduced that both go unexplained and also aren’t really referenced or important to the storyline. These also feel like an afterthought, added to add spice, but it falls flat. Full marks to all three narrators, though I listened at slightly different playback speeds for different sections for my own comfort (1.25x for the two male narrators and 1.5x for the female narrator). And I listened to the last 10 hours or so at 2x speed just to get it done, which is a story issue not a narration issue.

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  • Ryan B.
  • 19-04-2015

Wonderful weirdness

I enjoyed being enthralled in this quirky, suspenseful story of a bizarre journey between the year 1984 and 1Q84. All the characters are totally unique, and constantly in danger of meeting or in danger of not meeting. It left me wondering what if, and what about... So it was great value all round.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elissa
  • 01-04-2015

Long........

It seems to me like the book is a take on the modern version of 'Alice in the Wonderland' The story itself is rather absurd and one keeps waiting for it to develop. It takes so long to get there, that it becomes a little painfull at times.
The performance is excellent and for all the characters.
Somehow mesmerising in its simplicity and purity of form. Poetic and full of symbolism and allegories.
Unnecessarily long, but cannot say I did not enjoy listening to it.

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  • Oz Pom
  • 01-12-2014

Revisiting this novel was a real pleasure.

What made the experience of listening to 1Q84 the most enjoyable?

The magnitude of Murakami's work and his attention to detail made this a pleasurable experience. I first read the novel - Books 1 to 3 - when it was released as one volume in 2010. To revisit it now as an audio novel was like hearing an old friend's voice once more.

What did you like best about this story?

The complexity of the story, its story-within-a-story concept and the wonderful way the two protagonists were narrated by Alison and Marc, were the highlights for me rather than one specific point. The subtle references and repeated themes were cleverly woven into the story and you couldn't help but become filled with hope for Tengo and Aomame as they seek out one another.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The narrators were magnificent and the use, towards of end, of both protagonists' 'voices' made their final union all the more special.

Any additional comments?

Long, complex, unforgettable and real value for money. This is an excellent audio book and I highly recommend '1Q84' to the Audible audience.

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  • Borre Ulrichsen
  • 25-02-2013

Fascinating story, excellent narrators

What did you love best about 1Q84?

The magical world of Murakami pulls you in. I found myself looking up at the sky, searching for that second moon.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrators gave life and depth to each of the characters in a way that made the story come to life.

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