1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

54%

44 Critic Reviews

1Q84 is actually quite a traditional tale, a boy meets girl story in which love triumphs over all. The book is a tad too long; the plot is a bit too convenient...and not as tight as it could be, but that's not a sin and worst things could happen.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

“Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers . . . But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
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.
 

About Haruki Murakami

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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.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Vintage. 946 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 13 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for 1Q84
All: 44 | Positive: 22 | Negative: 22

Kirkus

Good
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Oct 25 2011

Orwellian dystopia, sci-fi, the modern world (terrorism, drugs, apathy, pop novels)—all blend in this dreamlike, strange and wholly unforgettable epic.

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NY Times

Below average
on Nov 09 2011

It used to be customary, in a book of this magnitude, to explain unanswered questions and tie up loose ends. Mr. Murakami clearly rejects such petty obligations, and he leaves many of the parallels in “1Q84” cryptic and dead-ended.

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NY Times

Above average
on Nov 03 2011

If Murakami is sublimely indifferent to logic, however, he is sublimely attuned to all things analogic. You can’t swing a cat in his novels — and, in his novels, it would be a cat — without banging into an analogy.

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Guardian

Above average
on Oct 18 2011

Cultural touchstones help to anchor people in Murakami's shifting realities. There are references in 1Q84 to Chekhov, Stanley Kubrick, Dostoevsky, Lewis Carroll, Macbeth, and Carl Jung, though the most important works cited are musical.

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Guardian

Below average
on Oct 16 2011

For all its riddling brilliance, Murakami's trilogy of alienation has too many familiar tunes.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Aug 29 2011

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.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by ManOfLaBook on Nov 20 2011

1Q84 is actually quite a traditional tale, a boy meets girl story in which love triumphs over all. The book is a tad too long; the plot is a bit too convenient...and not as tight as it could be, but that's not a sin and worst things could happen.

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WSJ online

Below average
on Oct 15 2011

The unpredictability of Mr. Murakami's inventions is constantly offset by the dullness of his prose.

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NPR

Good
on Oct 17 2011

Despite the novel's enormous length, I felt the same attraction. Two moons, two worlds, a girl with 900 wonderful pages.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Sean Chumley on Sep 19 2012

Bottom Line: Big, juicy and readable. This is a great, surprisingly accessible read from not just one of Japan's greatest writers, but one of the best writers working today. Prepare to have your mind bent.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by David Pilling on Oct 21 2011

Fans of Murakami will find all their favourite elements here. Sceptics, even as they are swept along, will wonder whether they are being led on a wild goose chase with no conceivably satisfactory ending.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by John L. Murphy on Oct 25 2011

At moments of passion, pain, and puzzlement, all of Mr. Murakami’s figures remain human, fully rounded in their light and shadow. I missed them when I finished this book.

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Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Charles Foran on Oct 28 2008

The final, and longest chunk of 1Q84 is a bit of a slog, especially as it ambles toward a fairy-tale ending where hero and heroine are finally reunited. Seven hundred or so pages might have suited the book’s intentions better.

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AV Club

Below average
on Nov 09 2011

Can a 926-page brick of a book dedicated to examinations of parallel universes, the process of artistic collaboration, and super-cults qualify as lazy? 1Q84, the outsized novel by pulpy postmodernist Haruki Murakami, makes the case that it can.

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LA Times

Good
on Oct 23 2011

The expansive, immersive novel creates a variant world that reframes our own.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
on Oct 26 2011

This magical novel did not actually alter reality. Even so, its enigmatic glow makes the world seem a little strange long after you turn the last page.

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The Telegraph

Below average
on Oct 25 2011

It was with the first appearance of the “Little People” (about 250 pages into the first volume) that I started thinking, “oh, for goodness’ sake, come off it, Murakami”, a thought that grew ever stronger as I read the remainder of the book.

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The Telegraph

Good
on Oct 21 2011

Combination of thrilling action and oddball ideas.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Hartnett on Nov 02 2011

There may not be salvation in reading “1Q84,” but there is something quite powerful.

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Huffington Post

Below average
Reviewed by William Ambler on Oct 20 2011

The book is too absorbed in its own games to offer something so humble as resolution, and too turgid and lumbering to offer any more rarified satisfactions.

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The Boston Globe

Above average
Reviewed by Richard Eder on Oct 30 2011

In Murakami’s new novel, “1Q84’’, there is more strangeness, more surreal switches tripped suddenly in IKEA-furnished apartments, more jangling abductions of complacent reality. And just plain more: 928 pages worth. Worth? Pretty much yes.

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Dallas News

Good
Reviewed by Ted Gioia on Oct 28 2011

This may be the strangest novel of the year. But it is also one of the best, and a major milestone in its author’s already illustrious career.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by ElLCoolJ on Jan 01 2011

I will miss these characters and will not see them, or their type, again until Murakami writes his next tome for me to delve into.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Below average
Reviewed by Jonathan Liu on Oct 28 2011

Only the most priggish (or perverted) of readers can finish the book without doubling back for the missing punch line. Having bounced us from squirms to giggles to eye-rolls to head-scratches, what did all those breasts mean?

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Slate

Below average
on Nov 16 2011

The secret to his success. Hint: It’s not great writing.

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About.com

Above average

1Q84 feels cluttered with detail, almost as if Murakami hoped this oversaturation would remind readers that his surreal novel was functioning in some sort of reality.

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The Daily Beast

Above average
on Nov 04 2011

Oscillating between the vague and the precise, the poetic and the mundane, 1Q84 is a puzzling, frustrating but ultimately bewitching and extraordinarily unsettling novel.

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Seattle PI

Below average
on Sep 03 2012

A professor of mine suggested a simple rule of thumb...is the reward the reader gets, worth the time and effort? He was talking about James Joyce's Ulysses, a book he felt clearly offered riches...Be warned before you embark; 1Q84 is no Ulysses.

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The National

Good
Reviewed by Luke Kennard on Nov 18 2011

Unafraid of combining the everyday with the philosophical, the unconscious with the mundane, he is ambitious enough to tackle great themes, substituting the acceptance of easy answers with the consolation of human individuality and . . . love.

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The Millions

Above average
on Oct 26 2011

There is one thing that everyone should be happy about. With 1Q84, Haruki Murakami has finally left his town of cats.

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London Review of Books

Below average

The collapse of the main plot isn’t the only thing that muffles the book’s large statements about reality, fantasy and Japanese society. A sprinkling of references to ‘thought crime’ and so on turns out to be mostly decorative.

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London Evening Standard

Below average
Reviewed by Jerome Boyd Maunsell on Oct 20 2011

The prose feels spare and sparse, even economical, throughout; yet 1Q84 could have been edited down to a more succinct text.

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The Atlantic

Below average
on Dec 16 2011

The Japanese author's long, unsatisfying book was a big disappointment after years of hype...Trying to say anything definite about it is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.

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Lit Reactor

Below average
Reviewed by Joshua Chaplinsky on Nov 11 2011

Yes, Murakami, we get it. No need to beat us over the head.

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BookDragon

Good
on Sep 15 2011

Murakami aficionados will delight in recognizing traces of earlier titles, especially A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, and even Underground.

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io9

Below average
on Mar 22 2012

There are various other types of horrible sex, which is horrendously described...this one feels as though it's actually overly obsessed with plot...I wouldn't necessarily recommend 1Q84 to Murakami neophytes.

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The Age

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Flynn on Oct 29 2011

This is only a limited synopsis of what is a mind-melting meditation on love, sex, abuse, Japanese society, loneliness and literature. That is said both as a compliment and a warning.

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Socialist Review

Good
Reviewed by Matthew Wilby on Nov 01 2011

1Q84, then, is undoubtedly a testimony to Murakami as a writer and written proof of the reasons behind his enormous popularity.

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CBC News

Above average
Reviewed by CBC on Nov 16 2011

If you've never read any of Murakami's books, 1Q84 is a good one to start with.

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Alibi

Below average
Reviewed by John Bear on Nov 04 2011

Murakami manages to keep adding little nuggets of weirdness to keep things moving along. He achieves this mainly through awkward depictions of sex.

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Tucson Citizen

Above average
Reviewed by Carolyn Classen on Apr 01 2012

The front book jacket describes this novel as “a love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self discovery, a dystopia…”. It is all that, and more. But I also have to warn the readers that there are some sexually explicit scenes.

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First Things

Below average
Reviewed by Franklin Freeman on Oct 02 2012

What Haruki Murakami has given us in his latest novel, 1Q84, is a loose baggy metaphysical monster of a fairy tale.

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Prague Post

Below average
Reviewed by Stephan Delbos on Feb 01 2012

Readers will be left unfulfilled, even disappointed, by the commitment required to finish a book that from afar appears to be an elaborately crafted satellite but is in fact little more than a hot-air balloon.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Jose Teodoro on Oct 28 2011

...loving specificity and, quite often, touching gestures of tenderness, are what I think of as top-shelf Murakami. I just hope that readers are willing to stick with 1Q84 long enough to reach up and enjoy them.

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Reader Rating for 1Q84
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