Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

In order to review 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami all I really need to say is this:

1Q84 is one of the best stories I have ever read. Period. 

The three books comprise approximately 1,250 pages in total, but at no point was it a chore to read (I would advise checking out the Kindle version if you have a small handbag though). I didn’t know an awful lot about 1Q84 before I bought it, just that I absolutely had to read it because everyone I knew in Japan wouldn’t stop talking about it and Murakami can basically do no wrong.

You’ll notice straight away that the title 1Q84 (which, incidentally, sounds much better in Japanese (いちきゅうはちよん / Ichi-Kyuu-Hachi-Yon) than English (One Q Eighty-Four) seems like 1984 (by George Orwell), and that’s not a coincidence. In fact, in Japanese ‘1Q84’ is a play on ‘1984’, because ‘Q’ in English is pronounced the same as ‘9’ (kyuu) in Japanese. There are references to George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel in the book, and the story is actually set in the year 1984, which one of the characters renames ‘1Q84’ when things start becoming a bit strange.

I could give you a synopsis but I’m hesitant to spoil the plot or explain something badly, so I’ll let you search online for one or take a look at Amazon if you really want to know about the story in advance. However, my advice to you would be to just buy it or borrow it, and read it now – no questions asked.

I will tell you this though – the story of Tengo and Aomame is intricate, complicated, and will probably get inside you a bit, just as any good story should. I feel affected by 1Q84, and it’s changed my perspective on things a little bit. At times the story was difficult to read – I mean difficult to swallow – but always addictive and I found myself compulsively turning the pages in a way I haven’t for a long time. It’s a very rare thing for me to want to just sit and read, stand and read, just read, read, read, but that’s what 1Q84 did to me.

Have you already read it? What did you think?

17 thoughts on “Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

  1. Murakami is so cool! I haven’t read this book but I read “After Dark” over the summer and it touched me. He definitely had sense of place down but there was also a kind of other-worldliness to his writing. I’ll check this one out if I can bag a copy. :]

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  2. I was tempted to buy it (here in Japan, so we’re talking about the original Japanese version), but I thought it might be to difficult to read / understand, so I didn’t.
    I like Murakami’s other books, so eventually I’ll read it.
    I want to read something in my native language again. Haven’t in a long time.
    Maybe I can get my family to send me the German version?! ^-^

    Thanks so much for the review!
    Now I want to read it even more! 😀

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  3. i bought the heavy, hard bound English version because i can no longer wait for the paperback release… it was a good read but i prefer the older Murakami’s novels..

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  4. As you might imagine, with us living seemingly parallel lives… ; )

    I finished mine yesterday! I have actually been reading it for suuuuch a long time. 1Q84 didn’t suck me in as quickly, or as deeply as Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Kafka or Norwegian Wood and I kept putting it down (maybe also the weight, ha-ha). But the third book finally grabbed me hard and when I finished reading it late last night, I really felt that this was the most clever and most rewarding of all HM stories so far.

    There’s another on its way I hear, in Japanese at least, the English translation seems to follow a year or so later.

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