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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastical Journey on the Edge of Reality
Haruki Murakami's latest novel, "1Q84" - translated from its original Japanese and set in and around Tokyo is a very entertaining, expansive novel rife with rich imagery and symbols. Like many of the best stories it is simple at its heart - unrequited love and the quest to reconnect after years apart - and like many of the best stories it is full of interesting...
Published 18 months ago by Ian Robertson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing book
I got this book because I had heard so many wonderful things about Murakami's work. I was not a literature major and do not claim to be an expert in Japanese literature. I simply read books to be entertained, stimulated. The book was a disappointment to me. The story is simple but overly long, and in many cases repetitive. The protagonists were very much card board...
Published 20 months ago by Tanu


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastical Journey on the Edge of Reality, Sept. 26 2012
By 
Ian Robertson (West Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
Haruki Murakami's latest novel, "1Q84" - translated from its original Japanese and set in and around Tokyo is a very entertaining, expansive novel rife with rich imagery and symbols. Like many of the best stories it is simple at its heart - unrequited love and the quest to reconnect after years apart - and like many of the best stories it is full of interesting characters, coincidences, chance events and plot twists.

The title is a play on Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty Four - in Murakami's novel the Q stands for "question mark" - and there are many direct and subtle references to his classic, including a group called `the little people', a play on Orwell's Big Brother. Also similar to Orwell's book, "1Q84" is a mix of ordinary, everyday activities and fantastical occurrences. And like contemporary Japan it is also a mix of modern lifestyle, tradition and culture, and the inevitable intrusion of Western (pop) culture. [In addition to "1984", the song "Paper Moon" is central (interestingly, Orwell had used song lyrics repetitively in his novel, too). "2001: A Space Odyssey", Proust's "In Search of Lost Time", and many other Western works also advance the plot and introduce or reinforce themes].

The combined effect of the plot, themes, imagery, and characters is very entertaining, but readers will find this novel is the very antithesis of a short story. The best short stories are tightly constructed works of art, not an extraneous word, plot digression or loose end; and of course they're short. "1Q84" has so many threads and sub-plots, all apparently building towards the denouement, but unfortunately when the novel finally concludes many of the threads are left hanging. It feels as though Murakami reached a point where he figured he'd written enough and decided to bring the plot to a quick close. Other entertaining novels have done similar - Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities: A Novel, for example - and while it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the journey, it does leave the reader unfulfilled at the end.

Despite this not insignificant failing, Murakami is masterful with his imagery and symbolism. Like Yann Martel's tightly written novella, Beatrice and Virgil, the book's physical layout emphasizes its yin and yang duality: in my edition, the female protagonist, Aomame (an assassin) is pictured on the front, while the male protagonist, Tengo (a ghostwriter), is on the back; the sun and moon imagery is mirrored in the pages before and after the novel; the page numbers and the title are mirrored on even and odd pages, and at almost the exact midpoint in the novel there is a significant shift in the story.

Within the story, the dualities of reality-imaginary, male-female, reproductive-nonreproductive, large-small, urban-natural, light-dark, young-old and other pairings are everywhere - sometimes subtle and sometimes explicit. As an example of the former, the zelkova tree is occasionally mentioned as part of the landscape, a tree common to Japan but one that is also popular as a bonsai; a very subtle reinforcement of the large-small duality.

1Q84 is a wonderful, thoughtful and thought-provoking journey led by a master guide, but unfortunately the destination is a bit disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing book, Aug. 2 2012
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
I got this book because I had heard so many wonderful things about Murakami's work. I was not a literature major and do not claim to be an expert in Japanese literature. I simply read books to be entertained, stimulated. The book was a disappointment to me. The story is simple but overly long, and in many cases repetitive. The protagonists were very much card board figures and no amount of (repetitive) description of what they ate and drank, how they looked, and their first encounter with each other in childhood, did not bring them life to me. After half way through the book I was bored and did not care what happened to either of them. I read the rave reviews and I keep thinking I must have missed something, that was not the book I read. I give the book 2 stars.
By the way I am a Japanese speaker, born and raised in Japan and English is my second language.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars: Murakami's epic, Jan. 17 2012
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This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
This will undoubtedly be Murakami's epic. Not only because it's a bear at almost 1000 pages, but because it's his best book. I thought his last piece of fiction, 'After Dark', was rushed and featured too many characters. This didnt allow his characters to develop like Murakami is known for.

The exact opposite is true of 1Q84. He focused on two main protagonists and let them simmer like a grand stew, slowly bringing out their flavors over time. His meticulous details help us understand who his characters are and how they live in the world. This can be trying at times like when something suspenseful is around the corner and Murakami is taking his time setting up the scene, but it's worth it in the end, because once you get there, the details are clear and you better live in the scene.

I do dock him points for introducing Ushikawa as a lead near the end of the book - it felt like a cop out and disrupted the flow a bit. I understand he needed Ushikawa's perspective to move along some plot elements, but Ushikawa was extremely interesting and could have lived throughout the whole book.

For Murakami fans, 1Q84 is a must. This is the one book that will represent Murakami as time passes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a favourite of mine..., Feb. 7 2012
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
I am definitely a Murakami fan, even though I think a lot of his books are a bit formulaic (young teenage girl and middle aged man team up, heading on a wacky adventure filled with cats, unexplainable events, and overly detailed descriptions of food and clothing).

This book would probably have gotten 4 stars out of me had it been 300-500 pages. It was simply too drawn out and overly descriptive, with many points (such as the two moons and Aomame's breasts) talked about over and over and over. I finished it because I DID want to know what happened at the end, but like many Murakami stories, you have to take the story as your own and make up an ending for yourself, as a lot is just left unclear.

I wouldn't say don't read this, but in the time it takes to read all 1000 of these pages, you could read 2-3 of his other more succinct books.

Overall: I was disappointed, though not upset I read it to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Started Out Good, Ended Terribly, Dec 10 2012
By 
Sakura Yamato (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
This was the first Murakami book I ever read, and apparently it is not a good one to start with if you're unfamiliar with the author.
It started out pretty good and it had me intrigued for a while, but near the end things started to fall apart.

The idea of a 'parallel dimension/world' and I use the term loosely here because it's never actually confirmed that this was a parallel world. Many ideas, such as the "Little People" was never quite fully developed. They are entities that are manipulating humans, and that's as far as he gets into anything really deep about them. The world has 2 moons, but nothing is ever explained about how exactly this comes to be. The book was VERY detailed for just about everything, except what it NEEDED to be detailed about. And we're talking about a 900+ page book, so needless to say I was very disappointed with the ending. A lot of questions were left unanswered and a lot of assumptions has to be made on the part of the reader as to what the author was actually trying to say.
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2.0 out of 5 stars 1Q84, Sept. 15 2013
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This review is from: 1Q84 (Kindle Edition)
I found the first volume quite captivating and the characters were well introduced. Then the story began to lose its focus. It was too long and rather pointless towards the end. Many things did not get resolved or explained clearly. Besides the love story and the revenge launched towards domestic abuse, nothing really made much sense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Condition, Excellent Read., July 9 2013
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This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
Quite the book, bought used and it looks brand new. I highly recommend it. It is a book that keeps you thinking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorites, May 15 2013
By 
J. Hussey - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
Very long book, but one of my favorites that I have ever read. Certainly kept me captivated and I love the similarities in concept with 1984...another one of my favorite books.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans will enjoy, Nov. 11 2011
By 
Yanick Dube (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
I'm a fan, and I liked this book very much. The meticulous, slow Murakami narrative carries us, his readers, across the vast ocean of words that is 1Q84. I liked the pace, the slowness, appreciated the time to get acquainted with the main characters. Unfortunately, it's impossible to believe in many aspects of the book, from the main pillar of the story, the attraction between Tengo and Aomame, to the unpleasant Ushikawa, the set, and most characters. This book is one massive allegory, sometimes harder to decode than other, so will help being fond of Murakami. Suspend your beliefs and slow down, then pick 1Q84 up, and enjoy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jumped the shark, March 15 2013
This review is from: 1Q84 (Hardcover)
I'm a big Murakami fan but this book seems to confirm my impression of his career trajectory:

Early work - Inventive and imaginative, playful, descriptions are sparse
Peak - The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (his best work), still playful but with a sense of gravitas, descriptions are perfectly fleshed out
Decline - 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore, overly long tedious and repetitive style, drawn out, content is not as fresh, everything moves extremely slowly and only after pages and pages of repetitive navel-gazing

Look up "Murakami bingo". It is pretty much spot-on. He has become cliched. There's nothing wrong with that, but in general the quality of his style and content have declined.

Kafka on the Shore I think was the beginning of his decline. Its style is sluggish but the characters and situations in Kafka are still enough to suck you in as a reader. Maybe his editors became reluctant to edit his work because of his success. 1Q84 gave me simply a tremendous sense of ennui and little interest in the characters, no matter how many strange quirks they were given.
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1Q84
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Hardcover - Oct. 25 2011)
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