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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: #8,473 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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435 of 479 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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357 of 407 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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632 of 774 people found the following review helpful By Chris Fiorillo on November 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Imagine everything you love about your favorite cocktail; the way the ingredients intermingle, often with hints of flavors that, while unbearable on their own, blend magnificently with others to create a mixed concoction to stimulate even the most nether regions of the human tongue. Now dump your glass into a gallon jug. Fill the jug to the 3/4 mark with water. Then add clam juice, tabasco sauce, maple syrup, nutmeg, and vanilla extract til you get to the top. Voila! You've got 1Q84. Drink it down, consumers.

I'm currently 720 pages in and have resorted to skipping whole paragraphs. Why I feel the need to continue despite a blossoming blase could perhaps best be explained by my previous Murakami experience- I first read all of his books within a span of 10 days using a flood light outside of my hotel in Singapore. Despite this I just can't see the point of 1Q84 (other than length, of course). Put simply, 1Q84 is a meandering odyssey to nowhere in particular.

Reading 1Q84, you'll find that many of Murakami's "trademarks" are present: the contrast of an ultra-sentimental/nostalgic (natsukashii -_-) love story to its surreal sci-fiesque backdrop; minute details of each character's appearance and daily routine to make up for an otherwise flat individual; allusions to Western artists galore. What 1Q84 fails to provide is something to tie everything together into a neat little package to make me care what happens. The two main characters are eternally and subliminally united by troubled youths, voided personalities, and a single hand grab decades prior to the events of the story.
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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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