1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3) 1Q84 question

Why so much praise?
Charles Charles Mar 01, 2012 06:19AM
I am a huge fan of Murakami but can't say I found this opus that interesting. It tends to drag during the last quarter and then reaches its ending rather quickly and in a way that one anticipated. Consequently, the ending was a let down. Reflecting on the whole book I felt let down as it did seem to meander in a meaningless way. I find it so interesting that so many people give it 5 stars and so many consider it one of his finest works. Can someone tell me what makes this such a great book?

I am an avid Murakami reader, and some of his sentences in particular, strike me so fiercefully in to the very core of my being. But some books of his, have not had that same effect on me, and I don't think it is for a particular reason, it is just very relative and subjective. I see it as momentary happenings. Regarding 1Q84, I loved it. And the greatness and the beauty of it to me, is not in something that is clearly written on a particular point, or structure. The beauty and the greatness of it, is the energy, the spirit, and the sentiment behind the physical pages, behind the words, which are only a tool to bring you to where it may bring you. And that is completely individual where that "place" is, or how you experience it. So I don't think there is a general "praise" to his books that are meaningful. The meaningfullness of his books lay beyond that. That is what I react to in his books, where he goes, that energy, and I completely resonate with it. It is purely personal, but I sensed and experienced endlessness in 1Q84.

I'm really rather baffled by this. I actually WANTED to like it, and I say this having despised Murakami's other works that I've read because I felt he wrote with compassion in terms of groups he's previously been hostile towards (cultists) or rather stereotypical in writing about (women). He also brought together a number of issues that shaped Japan politically in the past ~30 years (student movements, communist party shoot outs, insane sci-fi cults, ingenue Akutagawa prize winners, skyrocketing property values and the eventual bubble burst, etc) and wove them into what might have been a semi-decent plot. But even the English translators could not save the work from being repetitive to the point of nausea. There was no challenge in unlocking the secrets of the book because if you didn't figure X out through the numerous hints he dropped he went on for 5 pages a chapter or two later describing what was already understood. And what was never, and logically COULD NEVER, be really understood no character ever questioned and simply accepted. Part of this of course is the book was originally released in three separate installments so some repetition was to be kind to readers, but even so it was total overkill.

The other thing that destroyed this book for me was the section where all manner of pedophilia/child rape is basically justified. Prior to that point it was seen as the horrid thing it is, but suddenly because the "little people" are theoretically real(AKA religious doctrine justifies it)/the children "are asking for it" suddenly this is OK by Murakami's logic? The rhetoric is so disgustingly accurate to how real pedophiles justify themselves (unfortunately dealing with the reality of this while reading this book did not HELP my liking of this book) and from that point after the character involved is PITIED that he should have died. No. Not interested.

Summarizing, I'm obviously not Murakami Haruki's primary audience: I'm female, I study literature, and I don't find quirkiness without some sort of signification clever. I get the cliches he implements are his hallmark, but this book could have been half the size it is and been a better book for it. He obviously wanted to finish out a contract and did not put the OPUS level energy into this people are thinking.

U 25x33
Vague He is such an a-hole. He is read by so many people, instead of trying to convey positive messages he encourages sexualization of little girls that is ...more
Feb 26, 2014 10:17AM · flag

I can't tell you why people thought it was so great. I didn't. I think it was more in the marketing than anything else...

I have read all of his books and I agree with you, that this is not my favourite. I liked it, but it did drag on, I don't think I cared too much for any of the characters and there wasn't as much fun and magic as in some of his other books.
That said, it is subjective - most people loved Norwegian Wood and that's one of my least favourites. And I loved a Wild Sheep Chase which usually gets lack-luster reviews.
Can't remember how many stars I gave 1Q84, I think a generous 4 at the time, but honestly, I'd give it a humble 3 today

Patrick (last edited May 04, 2012 03:01PM ) May 04, 2012 03:01PM   0 votes
Ditto - this was not my favorite of Murakami's work, although I still four-starred it. I've read almost all of Murakami's novels (I haven't read the two novel / novellas that predate A Wild Sheep Chase), and 1Q84 feels less like one of his usual novels and more like a summation of his work. For what felt like the first time, Mr. Murakami began to reference plot devices from his other novels - the ear thing, for instance, is a pretty explicit reference to A wild Sheep Chase. I found something similar for most of his other novels, excepting Norwegian Wood.

So while I enjoyed 1Q84, it is the Murakami novel I would recommend people read last. I can't really imagine the experience of someone starting with 1Q84, but I suspect people will find greater depth and have more fun with it if they are familiar with the rest of his novels.

As to why 1Q84 garners the praise it does - on top of being a perfectly solid novel, it very much feels like the close of something for Mr. Murakami and I think we all want to pay a little tribute. Plus, for some of us rabid fans, catching the Easter Eggs gives us a shot of dopamine right to the brain.

This is the first Murakami book I've read, and will likely be the last because I was never able to get into it. It seemed to drag on and on, was repetitious, and I simply didn't find it interesting. The only reason that I stuck with it was because the book received so much praise that I kept thinking that it must have a wow ending. So much for thinking. (It reminded me of when I saw the movie "Forrest Gump", and I kept expecting it to get good, and it never did.) I was really quite mad with myself for spending so much time on a book I did not enjoy when there are so many others out there. I'm not presumptuous enough to think that because I didn't like it, it isn't a good book. Just chalk it up and move on.

i enjoyed parts of book 2. book 1 was a labour but i felt certain that book 2 would start delivering on the very slow set up. book 3 however was a squib

i guess if this is your first murakami then it would seem fresh and invigorating but seriously, anything else he has written is better than this. 1Q84 was a terrible disappointment

Never read his previous work. Only read this book and finished for the month of Feb for a book club. I loved it. I know most people do not like the redundancy, or long narrative voice...as a writer/author, it makes me want to write more than normal.

1Q84 is probably the least interesting of Murakami's works.
It was long drawn and beyond a point i felt when this book will end.
The magic of the murakami's world is definitely missing in this book.
I rated it 2/5.

Having read almost all of Murakami books ,and now going to read the third of this series , i must confess that i'am not loving this book as much as per example The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kafka on the Shore.

It took me over four months to plow through this nonsense. I have liked the other Murakami works I have read, but not this one. At least 1/3 of it could have been eliminated, IMO. I found it to be repetitious; however, every time I decided I was going to drop it, a new chapter would reel me back in.

I loved it. I thought it the plot was intriguing and the love story was very sweet and innocent (which I cherish in our erotica obsessed culture). I read South of the Border West of the Sun right after this and thought it was disappointing. The same love story is played out in a different way.

I'd like to consider myself someone that has a deep appreciation for the work of Murakami. I really hate to say this, because it does in a way fall of deaf ears (most times) or make me sound elitist (more likely) but I think that the vast majority of Murakami's work tends to be severely misunderstood by western readers. I make the following two exceptions: First, individuals who either (a) have lived in Japan for extended periods before, or (b) currently. Second, people who are willing to check their "western assumptions of how people act" at the door.

Murakami has clearly refined his work over the last twenty-odd years and it's really starting to show. I've seen a lot of people who, as an example, say: "I don't get 1Q84, where's the Orwellian allegory?" or "I like it a little bit, but don't get what the obsession with breasts and ears is..." Seems like saying: "The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows, thus it's badly painted."

I'm weary of reviews where the work is judged by individuals who, immediately following their statements render their opinions null and void (at least in my eyes). One such statement would be: "I started with Dance Dance Dance... I don't get it. This guy can't write." Can't be bothered to read the first book, but you will the sequel and then complain about how it didn't make sense? All I'm saying is that to appreciate a writer's work, one needs to be willing to be aware of the author's body of work. Don't judge a writer by a single work, judge for what they've produced.

Claudia Putnam Well, so tell us more. What's up with the breasts and ears and why do they play such a big role? Why does he write about Jehovah's Witnesses with obvi ...more
Aug 03, 2013 05:14PM · flag

I liked the book very much but did think it dragged a bit in spots. I think he could have cut some of the plot to shorten the book and it would not have suffered a bit. I've read most of Murakami's books and loved most of them.

I am late to the discussion but I must say I enjoyed this book a lot. I agree that there were repetitions that could have been eliminated but, unlike other books, I did not find them distracting. I became very caught up in this world with two moons and putting the clues together. There were questions and happenings that were not explained but that is part of the mystery and enchantment, I think.

I did not know it had been serialized in Japan until I listened to an interview with the two interpreters (one did the first two books while the other did the third, as the publisher wanted to publish) that was at the end of the audible version of the book. BTW, the audible version was excellent. There are three narrators and all are good.

I love this book, or any book by Murakami. I don't mind his weird kind of storytelling, it's kinda refreshing. The only problem was this book took forever to finish, and my anticipation has run dry upon reaching the ending. The story started well, and the whole of book 1 was amazing, they got me hooked 24-7, but once I started with book 2, the fast pace slowed down, and often I took a few days interval before continue with my reading.

Overall, this is simply a heart breaking book I have read so far. Ushikawa's passing left a tiny hole in my heart. It's not that I found him interesting, but more of a pity for him to die alone like that. I didn't blame Tamaru for killing him, I totally understand why he had to "persuade" Ushikawa, I just hoping of a more kind ending. Put him in a wheel chair or something?

It was my first Marukami book and remains my favourite. The characters are developed so well and I devoured the trilogy within a week and a half. I can appreciate that many people feel it drags due to long descriptions, but to me that is his genius, how he can transcend something ordinary from walking into a room to arresting poetry. This man is one of the only people around that is a modernist of our age.

I agree - it's not my favourite Murakami. I also thought it dragged at times and the ending felt hurried. The 'weirdness' for me was much less so than his other books - in 1Q84 the characters recognise the weirdness; in the others I've read no-one bats an eyelid. I still enjoyed it though & rated it highly but not quite 5*.

I think some of the quirkiness has just worn off. Some of his tropes have just gotten stale. part of it may be translation too. I didn't care for Kafka much but devoured pretty much everything before that. His books have always danced around pedophilia but actually crossed into it this time, that was disturbing.

1Q84 was the first Murakami book I read. I gave it 4 stars. The reason I liked it some much was that I really like the "weirdness", I liked trying to puzzle things out and I like how not everything is explained. But above all, there was something about the detail and the writing. I found it to be hypnotic. So even though there were places in the story where things seemed to slow down, I still found myself engrossed by the text.

I would not consider myself a Murakami fan, since I have only read one other of his books. I did enjoy this book, although I have no idea why.

My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

hope he writes a sequel - there's such possibilities for Aomame & Tengo

This book is an experiment in the field of literature.It needs a free mind to appreciate this kind of work.search your "other world" with two moons.

I read 1Q84 when it first published because I loved several of Murakami's previous books. Almost from the beginning, I had trouble getting into and enjoying the book. I felt like I was plowing through it more out of respect for Murakami and his brilliance than for the text itself. When I finally finished, I was relieved rather than enchanted. Now, though, over a year later, I find some of his images coming back to me at odd moments, particularly the surreal images. I started thinking of their connections with some of the images I keep with me from Wind Up Bird Chronicle (which I loved) and think maybe I should go back and re-read 1Q84.

here is my take:

i am moved to offer a review of this book even though i give it just a 3. this is a difficult book to rate, as i was alternately entranced and frustrated, i constantly complained to a friend while reading it, yet i did read all 925 pages in 6 readings. so it is not difficult to read, though some parts of the story seem particularly drawn out. having only read it once, i do not know if i will ever read it again. maybe if i learn japanese. this was just too long.

i was first pleased that two narratives were moving along with almost serial-type cliffhangers that would only be resolved a chapter away, i was intrigued by the narratives being laid on this and that protagonist, i was unable to skip longuers because i worried i would miss an important event, i wanted him to move faster here and slower there. as i explained to friends, as i thought how this or that scene could have been summarized, this or that scene could have been cut, this was on my part a mistaken metaphysic: how it is written is once again what it is written, but in this case this was not a positive. this was just too long.

this is not where i would suggest you start reading murakami haruki. there are his signature flourishes, the earlobes, the food described, the music, the lonely guy, the meaningful coincidences, the emotional eruptions delayed and yet constantly beneath the surface, the causality backwards and sideways... everything you could want and more from his work. but. this was just too long.

back to top