MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami X
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 944 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2013, 1184 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

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 realizes, 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.

Chapter 1
Aomame
DON'T LET APPEARANCES FOOL YOU

The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janaìcek's Sinfonietta - probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn't seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music.

How many people could recognize Janaìcek's Sinfonietta after hearing just the first few bars? Probably somewhere between "very few" and "almost none." But for some reason, Aomame was one of the few who could.

Janaìcek composed his little symphony in 1926. He originally wrote the opening as a fanfare for a gymnastics festival. Aomame imagined 1926 Czechoslovakia: The First World War ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. 1Q84 is a vast and intricate novel. What are the pleasures of reading such a long work, of staying with the same characters over such a long period of time?


  2. Murakami has said he is a fan of the mystery writer Elmore Leonard. What elements of the mystery genre does 1Q84 employ? How does Murakami keep readers guessing about what will happen next? What are some of the book's most surprising moments?


  3. Why would Murakami choose to set his story in 1984, the year that would serve as the title for George Orwell's famous novel about the dangers of Big Brother?


  4. The taxi driver in Chapter 1 warns Aomame that things are not what they seem, but he also tells her: "Don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality" (p. 9). ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

If you've tried Murakami before and haven't liked his work, you probably won't like this one either. First, it certainly falls squarely in the magical realism genre, and that in itself is a turn-off for many. This is one book that will frustrate those who want everything to make sense and to be neatly wrapped up by its conclusion; it must be approached with abandon, and readers will need to resign themselves to not over think it. But Murakami fans will be absolutely delighted with 1Q84, and I suspect that those readers new to the author who appreciate non-traditional stories and who have the patience to plow through the slow sections will put it at the top of their all-time favorites list. The plot is so unusual, so unlike most of what is currently hitting the shelves that many will ultimately find the novel a joy - and one that will linger in the mind long after the final page is turned...continued

Full Review (662 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
'Things are not what they seem.' If Murakami's ambitious, sprawling and thoroughly stunning new novel had a tagline, that would be it... Orwellian dystopia, sci-fi, the modern world (terrorism, drugs, apathy, pop novels) - all blend in this dreamlike, strange and wholly unforgettable epic.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 1Q84 goes further than any Murakami novel so far, and perhaps further than any novel before it, toward exposing the delicacy of the membranes that separate love from chance encounters, the kind from the wicked, and reality from what people living in the pent-up modern world dream about when they go to sleep under an alien moon.

The Washington Post
There's no question about the sheer enjoyability of this gigantic novel, both as an eerie thriller and as a moving love story… I read the book in three days and have been thinking about it ever since.

The Japanese Times
Murakami's fiction has grown increasingly relevant to our understanding of the world today, and this time his craft is more refined than ever... This novel - mired in death and fetish, leavened with humor - may become a mandatory read for anyone trying to get to grips with contemporary Japanese culture.

Reader Reviews

SG Griffith

Mixed emotions
This is a fascinating book, with surprising and original elements that appear more surrealistically than magically. Two main characters walk their paths through these images, while trying to find a place in shifting realities. Like the Wind-Up Bird ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Haruki Murakami

If you liked 1Q84, try these:

  • Followers jacket

    Followers

    by Megan Angelo

    Published 2020

    About this book

    An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

  • Vita Nostra jacket

    Vita Nostra

    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

    Published 2019

    About this book

    The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Russian novel - a brilliant dark fantasy with "the potential to be a modern classic" (Lev Grossman), combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Pronounce Knife
    How to Pronounce Knife
    by Souvankham Thammavongsa
    Many examples of immigrant fiction dedicate a portion of their storytelling to exploring details of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Easy Part of Impossible
    The Easy Part of Impossible
    by Sarah Tomp
    Teenager Ria Williams is a skilled diver. She is on track to compete at the Olympic level, but ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.