Monday 28 January 2013

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

I've decide to write three reviews for Murakami's trilogy (even though they're presented in English in one huge book) as a way to give me a breather between each one.

I've never read any Murakami before so I wasn't even sure if I would like it, his style, the translation - anything! And I knew absolutely nothing about the story except that lots of people I know love it.

I wasn't even sure how to pronounce the title - was it a date 1984/1Q84 (with some kind of reference to Orwell) or was it the letter 'I' - IQ-84 and some kind of Intelligence test?

Now that I'm looking at the cover again closely it's obvious that it's a date. The cover even gives hints that 1Q84 is a fantasy/time slip story - again something I wasn't expecting.

So what did I think of book 1?

I loved it!

I'm intrigued, captivated and full of questions about what's happening.

There is obviously going to be a meeting up of Aomame and Tengo at some point and I'm curious how this will play out.
The secretive cult Sakigake is the obvious link between the 2 sides of the story along with the mysterious young damaged girls with their sinister tales of the Little People.

And what's going on with the 2 moons? What has happened to Aomame's 1984 and why?
I'm loving the mystery & the gradual build up of tension and horror.

I can see I wont have much of a breather bewteen book 1 and 2 after all!

My only grump is that sometimes the language seems somewhat unwieldy or awkward. I'm not sure if it's the translation or the Japanese way of describing things that sometimes pulls me up. The chapter headings often make me laugh with their obtuseness.

I do like that the letter 'q' is pronounced kyu in Japanese which is the same word/sound for the number 9. It gives the title an extra little spark knowing this.

Book 2 here I come!


  1. I didn't know that about the letter q in Japanese--very cool. I agree with you about the language sometimes being awkward, but sometimes it is lyrical, so I think it evens out.

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying this book! I had some similar reactions to you, including the urge to call it "I"Q84 instead of 1Q84 (very interesting tidbit about kyu). I also wondered about some of the stilted language. It didn't bother me, but I do wonder if it's a result of the translation, Murakami's own particular style, or a reflection of the Japanese language and some of the formalities that (I've heard) accompany it. In any case, it's an interesting thing to wonder about.

  3. Anonymous2/2/13

    this one has been on my TBR list for awhile; thanks for reminding me about it!

  4. You're very brave taking on this one, good to hear that you're enjoying it. I have no idea how to say the title either.


This blog has now moved to Wordpress.
Please visit This Reading Life to comment.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.