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1Q84 (Vintage International) Kindle Edition

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Length: 946 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: The year is 1984, but not for long. Aomame, on her way to meet a client--the gravid implications of which only come clear later--sits in a taxi, stuck in traffic. On a lark, she takes the driver's advice, bolts from the cab, walks onto the elevated Tokyo expressway, descends an emergency ladder to the street below, and enters a strange new world.

In parallel, a math teacher and aspiring novelist named Tengo gets an interesting offer. His editor has come upon an entry for a young writer's literary prize, a story that, despite its obvious stylistic drawbacks, strikes a deeply moving chord with those who've read it. Its author is a mysterious 17-year-old, and the editor proposes that Tengo quietly rewrite the story for the final round of the competition.

So begins Haruki Murakami's magnus opus, an epic of staggering proportions. As the tale progresses, it folds in a deliciously intriguing cast of characters: a physically repulsive private investigator, a wealthy dowager with a morally ambiguous mission, her impeccably resourceful bodyguard, the leader of a somewhat obscure and possibly violent religious organization, a band of otherworldly "Little People," a door-to-door fee collector seemingly immune to the limits of space and time, and the beautiful Fuka-Eri: dyslexic, unfathomable, and scarred.

Aomame names her new world "1Q84" in honor of its mystery: "Q is for 'question mark.' A world that bears a question.'" Weaving through it, central motifs--the moon, Janáček's Sinfonietta, George Orwell's 1984--acquire powerful resonance, and Aomame and Tengo's paths take on a conjoined life of their own, dancing with a protracted elegance that requires nearly 1,000 pages to reach its crowning denouement.

1Q84 was a runaway best seller in its native Japan, but it's more instructive to frame the book's importance in other ways. For one, it's hard not to compare it to James Joyce's Ulysses. Both enormous novels mark their respective author's most ambitious undertaking by far, occupy an artificially discrete unit of time (Ulysses, one day; 1Q84, one year), and can be read as having a narrative structure that evinces an almost quantum-mechanical relationship to reality, which is not to say that either author intended this.

More to the point, the English translation of 1Q84--easily the grandest work of world literature since Roberto Bolaño's 2666--represents a monstrous literary event. Now would somebody please award Murakami his Nobel Prize? --Jason Kirk

Review

"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 Bolano... In its bones, this novel is a thriller" Daily Telegraph "Eerie, suspenseful and packed full of gorgeous ordinary details and provocative extraordinary events, Murakami takes weighty themes and delivers a compulsive tale that is funny, fresh and intensely surreal. Unmissable." Marie Claire "It is a work of maddening brilliance and gripping originality, deceptively casual in style, but vibrating with wit, intellect and ambition" -- Richard Lloyd Parry The Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 3468 KB
  • Print Length: 946 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 25, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LROUW2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,717 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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438 of 482 people found the following review helpful By las cosas on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am rushing this review to warn other Murakami fans (fanatics?) that this one starts out surprisingly slow. It wasn't until Part 2 that the pace started approaching a typical Murakami. I am also warning those who have never read Murakami before that that is NOT the novel to start with.

As always with his novels, it is of little value to attempt a plot summary. Cults and Little People and two moons? Yep, sounds like Murakami. In fact you can open the book to any section and after a few minutes know that you can be reading no author other than Murakami. It is a highly unusual voice, and comes through as distinctively in this as in his other books.

There are two main characters, a man and a woman who knew each other as children. Both had typically Murakami odd lonely childhoods, and though they haven't seen each other since they were young, both continue to remember the other with a particular intensity. In alternating chapters we follow the lives of these two, and soon we figure out that their stories are slowly (oh so slowly) leading towards each other.

As always, I am immensely enjoying reading this book. But I do have reservations. The book is too long, maybe 1/3rd too long. A typical feature in his books is to present an idea, an object, a reference from one perspective, and then repeat it, often multiple times, from other perspectives. Only through these repeated narrow views does the reader begin to piece together the true import of what is being presented. This layering of perspectives, added to the unusual nature of what is being seen, is core to the world Murakami unveils to us in his fiction. The problem in this book is that the perspectives are over-layered and at some point lose their power.
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361 of 411 people found the following review helpful By Shashank Singh on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The above is a quote from this book, and well worth taking to heart. I take Jung's advice on dream images when reading a Murakami novel: don't try to unravel the underlying/hidden meaning, just stay with the images and let them move you and revel their meaning/feeling slowly.

There are images in this novel that will stay with me for years.

I'm a big fan and this is certainly one of his best novels, right there with works like The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Like all those works, reading the novel felt like slowly sinking into a well of dreams, and being enveloped in a mood of curiosity and off hand beauty/absurdity.

Some of the early reviews seem to be complaining about the book being repetitious, and the characters being too passive. All I can say is, this must be the first Murakami books you've read. This describes many of his books.

The passivity of the characters is actually essential to this book which deals with a world bereft of meaningful stories, and people susceptible to meaning that gives the false impression of depth [cults in this case].

Repetition is a form of making real in Murakami. The meanings are in the images, the images often begin as shadows, the novel takes those shadows and through echoes like a jazz song it breaths life into them: sometimes quite literally as in his book Hard Boiled Wonderland. I love it, but someone not used to it might find it odd.

As far as the more fantastic elements, I'll let Murakami speak for himself:

"I don't want to persuade the reader that it's a real thing; I want to show it as it is. In a sense, I'm telling those readers that it's just a story--it's fake.
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117 of 141 people found the following review helpful By briefingforadescentintoliterature on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have also read all of Murakami's books, including the short story collections, Pinball, and his book on running. As I read through all of his previous books, I was mesmerized, unable to put the book(s) down, often reading or re-reading them in a single day. Frequently, I have had the rather strange experience of feeling like my mind was being opened, not merely creatively, but physically, even feeling like I was losing my grip on this world - and no, that isn't a normal experience for me. However, almost immediately, as I began IQ84, I was disappointed.

The beginning of the book hardly even seemed like Murakami and I had the distinct feeling that he was pushing himself to write rather than being internally driven to expression as in all of his prior books. Instead of the book flowering creatively and dynamically from some unconscious well into a new world, this one seemed crafted logically, and philosphers (Camus excepted) are rarely great fiction writers. Because of this predetermined path that Murakami seems to have for this novel, he apparently failed to realize some rather silly mistakes, particularly in places where he was attempting to move the plot forward, using artifical means to get to where he wanted the plot to be.

The initial conversation with Fuka-Eri's guardian is a great example. The guardian is talking about how concerned he was for Fuka-Eri's parents who had seemingly disappeared within the religious cult of Sakigake and how he was attempting to find out more about them but hitting a brick wall. The problem is those parents had apparently abandoned their 10 year old daughter, and the parents last known whereabouts are within Sakigake, as founding members.
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Parts 1&2 only or all 3?
It's all three. The description specifies that.
Aug 10, 2011 by Texpat |  See all 3 posts
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