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1Q84: 3 Volume Boxed Set (Vintage International) Paperback – May 15, 2012


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1Q84: 3 Volume Boxed Set (Vintage International) + Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel + The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 1184 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Slp Tra edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345802934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345802934
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (889 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
 
“Brilliant. . . . An irresistibly engaging literary fantasy. . . . Murakami possesses many gifts, but chief among them is an almost preternatural gift for suspenseful storytelling.”
The Washington Post
 
“A grand, third-person, all encompassing meganovel. It is a book full of anger and violence and disaster and weird sex and strange new realities, a book that seems to want to hold all of Japan inside of it.”
The New York Times Magazine
 
“Bewitching. . . . Part noir crime drama, part love story, and part hallucinatory riff on 1984. . . . You don’t know where things are going while you read it, and you can’t say exactly where you’ve been when you’re finished, but everything around you looks different somehow. If this is fiction as funhouse, it is very serious fun, and you enter at the risk of your own complacency.”
Newsweek
 
“A magical journey to a parallel world . . . 1Q84 is a love story and a detective story. It’s a philosophical novel about the power of storytelling, the nature of reality, and the shifting balance of good and evil. . . . Once the narrative begins to pick up, you have no desire to put the book down.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“A weirdly gripping page-turner. . . . Its tonal register—as if serving as an antidote to the unsettling world it presents—is consistently warmhearted, secretly romantic, and really quite genial.”
—Charles Baxter, The New York Review of Books
 
“Fascinating. . . . More than any author since Kafka, Murakami appreciates the genuine strangeness of our real world, and he’s not afraid to incorporate elements of surrealism or magical realism as tools to help us see ourselves for who we really are. . . . A tremendous accomplishment. It does every last blessed thing a masterpiece is supposed to—and a few things we never even knew to expect.”
The San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Magnificent in many ways, a work of the imagination that defies description. . . . An immersive experience, one that will leave readers wondering what is real and what is imagined.”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
 
“[A] Japanese novel set in Tokyo in which the words ‘sushi’ and ‘sake’ never appear but there are mentions of linguine and French wine, as well as Proust, Faye Dunaway, The Golden Bough, Duke Ellington, Macbeth, Churchill, Janáèek, Sonny and Cher, and, given the teasing title, George Orwell? . . . This is Murakami’s unflagging and masterful take on the desire and pursuit of the Whole.”
—Paul Theroux, Vanity Fair
 
“Profound. . . . A multilayered narrative of loyalty and loss. . . . A big sprawling novel [that] achieves what is perhaps the primary function of literature: to reimagine, to reframe, the world. . . . A vision, and an act of the imagination.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“The international literary giant at his uncanny, mesmerizing best. . . . Translation is at the center of what Murakami does; not a translation from one tongue to another, but the translation of an inner world into this, the outer one. Very few writers speak the truths of that secret, inner universe more fluently.”
Salon
 
 “1Q84 is one of those books that disappear in your hands, pulling you into its mysteries with such speed and skill that you don’t even notice as the hours tick by. . . . Magical. . . . Its enigmatic glow makes the world seem a little strange long after you turn the last page. Grade: A.”
Entertainment Weekly
 
“Two moons—two worlds—a girl with—900 pages—1Q84 is a gorgeous festival of words arranged for maximum comprehension and delicious satisfaction.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR
 
“[1Q84] is fundamentally different from its predecessors. . . . What the writer has laid down is a yellow brick road. It passes over stretches of deadly desert, to be sure, through strands of somniferous poppies, and past creatures that hurl their heads, spattering us with spills of kinked enigma. But the destination draws us: We crave it, and the craving intensifies as we go along.” —The Boston Globe
 
“Voracious visionary Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 mixes down-the-rabbit-hole fantasy with out-there science fiction for a superhefty but accessible adventure.” —Elle
 
“Powerful . . . . His most ambitious novel yet. . . . An unstoppably readable, deeply moving love story that cements Murakami’s reputation as a uniquely compassionate and imaginative novelist who’s among the leading voices of his global generation.”
The Christian Science Monitor
 
“[1Q84] is generous in the way that Philip Roth is generous: you get the feeling that everything Murakami has thought, and felt, and experienced, is out there on the page. Nothing gets held back, not even the uglines—especially the ugliness. . . . It’s the kind of risky storytelling that writers of my generation are often too scared to try.”
—Charles Baxter, The Millions’ “A Year in Reading”
 
“Mesmerizing. . . . Take the time to get carried away, and time itself—as well as the way you think about how you spend yours—will take on new dimensions. It’s a mind-blowing experience. Great novels always are.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
 
“Extraordinarily ambitious. . . . Beguiling and ridiculously entertaining. . . . Murakami has created the big, beautiful book so many people have been waiting for. . . . We got our hopes up—and he didn’t let us down.”
The Kansas City Star
 
“A huge novel in every sense . . . putting it down is not an option. . . . The reader who steps into its time flow only reluctantly comes ashore.”
New York Daily News
 
“[A] masterwork. . . . [Murakami has] crafted what may well become a classic literary rendering of pre-2011 Japan. . . . Orwell wrote his masterpiece to reflect a future dystopia through a Cold War lens. . . . Similarly, Murakami’s 1Q84 captures attitudes and circumstances that characterize Japanese life before the March earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster. Reading 1Q84, one can’t help but sense already how things have changed.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer


More About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. The most recent of his many honours is the Franz Kafka Prize.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
342
4 star
180
3 star
126
2 star
118
1 star
123
See all 889 customer reviews
As much as I would love to know what happens at the end of the book, I just couldn't keep reading.
Angela Darden
It can be repetitive, and i felt he devoted too much time to the story of ushikawa when you really wanted more of the central plot to be revealed/discussed in depth.
djh
I wish I could give this book 3 1/2 stars because it was certainly an enjoyable read I just did not enjoy it quite as much as I have some of Murakami's other works.
Jamie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

382 of 418 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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330 of 379 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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576 of 704 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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