1Q84 (Book 1)- Haruki Murakami

Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.

Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.


I read this book as part of the longer book which holds books 1 and 2. I had always intended to write a review at the end of book one then continue on to book to immediately, however just book 1 has taken me the whole of the year so far (alongside my kindle books, and with a break for Catching Fire) so I really feel I need a break. It’s not that I haven’t liked 1Q84 so far exactly, but I have struggled some what. The story seems to be going quite slowly, although it’s become more interesting in the last 100 pages or so.

The book is split into chapters from Aomame and chapters from Tengo, one from Aomame, one from Tengo, then switching back. At first I found Aomame’s story the most interesting, although I loved Tengo as a character, I can certainly see why he is so popular! Gradually though I became just as interested in each storyline. In fact Murakami seemed to have a tendency to finish the chapter just as it was starting to interest me- which was a little annoying because it made me just want to skip to their next chapter. It was interesting as well how he built in areas of the two storylines which fitted together but only really mentioned them briefly. It made me want to read more to find out exactly how the two stories linked together, and just work out the general puzzles of Murakami’s normal oddities. Having said that the oddities were few and far between in comparison to other Murakami books. Not really sure how I feel about this though as the oddities did seem to be building as the links became more frequent.

Overall. Well, book 1 was a bit like an introduction. I didn’t feel like much happened despite it being almost 400 pages long- however things were introduced which I think will be important later on, and it very much opened up avenues for the other 2 books. I’m still going to have a break in case I find book 2 hard going but I am certainly not going to give up


Reviews of 1Q84 from other challenge participants:

Sam Still Reading

Tony’s Reading List

The Akamai Reader

Buy it:

Hardback- Books 1 & 2 (£12.00)

Kindle: Books 1 & 2 (£9.59)

Paperback: Books 1-3 (£13.00)

Paperback: Books 1 & 2: pre-order (£8.09)


Filed under Contempory, Crime, Dystopian, Fiction review, Literary

15 responses to “1Q84 (Book 1)- Haruki Murakami

  1. I’d love to hear what you think of the book after you have finished the whole thing. By the way, I found it much easier to read on an eReader. The book itself is so thick!


  2. Lucybird

    It is, and it makes it hard because I can’t carry it around with me all day. I do lots of my reading on the bus. I didn’t have my Kindle when I bought the book though otherwise I may have got a kindle copy instead.


  3. Hope you enjoy 2 and 3 as much as I did!


  4. Thank you for the link! I read Book 3 on the ereader and I agree with Harvee, it did go faster. Book 2 really speeds up and Book 3 is a little slower. It is pretty heavy though (both in weight and ideas).


  5. Well done, I have yet to open it, but feel the moment approaching. I loved ‘The Wind Up Bird Chronicles’ and am looking forward to the immersion into this voluminous work.


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  7. Lucybird

    I hope you enjoy it. You might even find it easier to get in to than I did


  8. Lucybird

    You’re welcome. I may well get book 3 on the kindle, except if I have the first book…


  9. Lucybird

    Fingers crossed!


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  15. Hey Lucybird,

    While still reading book one, I enjoyed your review a lot. I’ve finished not even half of it and still find it a great read. As you might guess from how I write I’m not a native English speaker but I love to read books in English to improve my language skills. With Murakami, I thought it wouldn’t make a big difference wether I read its English or German translation because I cannot read it in its original language anyway.

    To cut a long story short: Actually I have a little thing which bothers me. Surely you remember Aomame thinking about the bottle and the lid who don’t fit and it’s either the lid’s fault or the bottle’s, and she concludes that at least the fit is bad. In my kindle Version this is on page 124. Later, on page 213, Aomame repeats her thought (she had just seen the second moon for the first time), but then she is talking about a bottle and its “cap”. Is there a difference in the meaning of “lid” and “cap”? Or do you think the translator Jay Rubin added the different words? “… lid don’t fit” almost rhymes, maybe he didn’t want this. What do you think? Can you recommend me a discussion board about (Hurakami) literature where I could ask such things?

    Hmmm, so much for cutting a long story short. My short story happens to be longer than the short one. Haha!



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