1Q84 by Haruki Murakami1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


byHaruki MurakamiTranslated byJay Rubin

Hardcover | October 25, 2011

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The long-awaited magnum opus from Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell's 1984.

The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre 'proposal' to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the 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 disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?
HARUKI MURAKAMI was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and the most recent of his many international honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V.S. Naipaul.
Title:1Q84Format:HardcoverDimensions:944 pages, 9.42 × 6.42 × 1.96 inPublished:October 25, 2011Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385669437

ISBN - 13:9780385669436

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long Read This is a very long read, but the story is brilliant and any Murakami fan will thoroughly enjoy this book. Loved it.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Unlike other books, I actually enjoyed reading this one. This book stands out among other books because of it's uniqueness. I never really got bored of this book at all, though the size of the book may appear overwhelming to those who are planning on reading it but overall it's worth the money and time!
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cult writer Murakami's tale of Two Worlds The sheer size of this book will probably make more than a few people shy away, but in his classic surreal writing style, Murakami will drag you into this unusual story that seems to cover many different genres.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Parallel worlds collide I loved all three books in this trilogy. It has this surreal murder-mystery vibe while being an anthemic love story. Almost 3000 pages, but one of the quickest reads I've ever experienced.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Graphic sexual content There's no way to avoid spoilers here. There's talk about the rape of 10 year old girls and the damage it's done to their bodies. And about mid way through there's what appears to be a really graphic sex scene (which I stopped reading once I realized what it was) between a 17 year old girl and the 30 year old male co-protagonist. For the record, I was so disgusted that I did not finish this book.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome but long Could have been condensed into 2 books, Murakami is my favourite author and this is his only book that I wanted him to get to the end
Date published: 2015-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good writing, very little resolution Very nice writing style but many issues and ideas presented in the plot had very little value in the end. Very little cohesion between events which appeared to be of significance, very little resolution in the end. Far too long due to rehashing.
Date published: 2014-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Murakami hit! Murakami again did not fail to deliver. A riveting, can-not-put-down title, even if you've read Murakami before, you still won't know what to expect!
Date published: 2014-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic I found myself disliking this book in the beginning because it was much neater and more tightly structured than any other Murakami before. Then I got to the place in the story which gives the structure meaning, and I breathed a small sigh of relief. More controlled structure aside, IQ84 has the wonderful smorgasbord of craziness that is classic Murakami: two lovers try to find each other in an alternate world, which one of them is writing about; the other lover is a professional killer; there’s a dowager and a religious cult; the cult leader’s daughter is a perceiver; plus there’s a stake-out and a fascinating TV fee-collector who epitomizes spiritual unrest. And throughout it all, Murakami masterfully manages to weave in theories and philosophies about writing, itself.
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending While I personally took my time completing this book I found it a fascinating read. I loved the protagonists and the eerie feeling hanging over the novel, similar to the two moons. However, while probably done on purpose by Murakami, I felt the ending left too many unanswered questions and subdued my satisfaction. Where he dwelled at length on other less significant areas of the story he could have expanded upon these greater points.
Date published: 2014-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Another outstanding novel from Murakami. Beautifully written. Difficult to put down. The story drags you into his world.
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Murakami gently entangles the reader into a world was thought to be fully understood, but was really only the topmost layer of a rich and disturbing reality that everyone could see, if only the time was taken to perceive it. In the end, it is a love story, but definitely not a romance novel. If you want to question your existence a little bit, this fantasy-distopian-love story is for you.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending One of the best books I've ever read
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending It's a book you have to read. Captivating from page one to the end. A brain storming.
Date published: 2013-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Murakami never disappoints and this book proves to be one of his outstanding achievements. It leaves you with something to think about and lives in you for a really long time afterwards
Date published: 2013-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Scary stuff.
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending It's been a while since I've read this book but I found it very intriguing. Lots of twists and turns and not predictable like most books.
Date published: 2013-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Haruki Murakami’s magnum opus (translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel) has been such an incredible, indelible experience. One Q Eighty-Four or “ichi-kew-hachi-yon” is a play on the Japanese pronunciation of the year 1984 (in reference to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four), the letter Q and the Japanese number 9 being homophones. Set in 1984 Tokyo, the story has been divided into three sections - April to June, July to September and October to December - and follows the arcs of Aomame, a fitness club instructor, Tengo Kawana, a novelist, and Ushikawa, a private investigator. It is not easy to categorize the genre or encapsulate the story of 1Q84, a surrealistic story that deals with several different themes: in the events of Takashima and Sakigake, this is the story of a mysterious cult with a dark secret; in the missions of the “Dowager” Shizue Ogata and Aomame, this is a story of retribution; in the relationship between Aomame and Tengo Kawana, this is the love story that transcended a universe; in the tale of the Town of Cats - later paralleled to Tengo’s father’s nursing home - this is a story of the great meaningless trap that life is; in the flashback on Ushikawa - the ugly little creature who repels everyone he meets - this is a great philosophical commentary; in the incessant knocking on the door by the so-called NHK collector with his creepy “I know you’re in there”, this is a horror story; in the actions of Tamaru there lies a story that blurs right and wrong; in following the investigations of Ushikawa, this is a murder mystery. Of course, central to this novel is the short story “Kuki Sanagi” (Air Chrysalis) submitted to a literary contest by the 17-year old “Fuka-Eri” (Eriko Fukada). In its narration of a story about a world where the Little People exist, this is a great fantasy. This is not a book that can be read casually. It is so rich with incident and meaning, it demands full attention - and full attention to the smallest detail. Every word and every act is there for a reason. A seemingly small detail will come back carrying a whole world of meaning on its back. From the crow on the balcony to the ominous end of “irretrievably lost” to Janacek’s Sinfonietta, everything will tie in and enhance the experience. A little like Murakami’s “Sekai no owari to hado-boirudo wandarando” (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World) - another fantastic book - we see two parallel worlds, 1984 and 1Q84, with small details of one being reflected in the other; with small incidents in one seeping through to the other - and that was the other extraordinary feature of this novel. From door-to-door NHK collections to door-to-door Jehovah’s Witness distributions, from the 10-year old Tsubasa to the 10-year old Eriko Fukada, from Komatsu’s reality to Aomame’s dream, from the town of cats to the town of Chikura, from maza to dohta, from Air Chrysalis to the real world … and in one grand saga, from 1984 to 1Q84 - this was the fantastic telling of a fantastic story! In some world, at some time, a taxi driver had told Aomame, “There’s always only one reality.” … Which one will you choose?!
Date published: 2013-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending What a powerful novel! If you aren't already reading it run out and get your copy! IQ 84 tells the parallel story of Aomame and Tengo. Each in their own way is drawn to what appears to be a parallel world and the characters inhabiting it are brilliantly sketched. Murakami talks about love, love which is at the core and is not nothing. This love permeates all. Aomame's story and Tengo's move along as parallel lines. Will they never meet? Will they only meet at infinity, as defined in Mathematics? or will they meet in this world? I simply could not put this spellbinding novel down.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending This is one of the best books I have read in... oh,say five years. The two story lines were wonderful, and then wondering how they were going to converge kept me thinking of the book while I was going along about my "real" life. An unputdownable book of alternate universes!
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending Don't usually like sci-fi. but this is so well written and such a riveting story that I couldn't put it down, despite it's heft.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique read, disappointing ending An intricate, wonderful story that, fortunately, goes on and on. Once you finish it, you'll wish you still had it to read!
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastical yet Beautifully Simple Another beautifully paced book that blends fantasy elements grounded in the real everyday happenings of life. Intertwined characters fully realized as suspense builds to the inevitable intersections of their worlds.
Date published: 2013-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastical yet Beautifully Simple This is an amazing piece of work. It will keep you busy every step of the way. I could not put it down.
Date published: 2013-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an imaginative and complex story! This was the book I couldn't put down during the Christmas holidays last year - I remember reading 1Q84 in bed under blankets until 2 or 3am in the mornings because I couldn't put it down. What a story! I love how you have no idea how the characters are interconnected at the beginning but chapter by chapter more clues are revealed and you finally get that AHA moment where a link is revealed. This book is a bit weird and twisted at times so be openminded. The first 2/3s of the book is better than the last third.
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 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 characters, coincidences, chance events and plot twists. The title is a play on Orwell’s novel “1984” - 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 “Bonfire of the Vanities”, 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.
Date published: 2012-09-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Colossal Disappointment I have been a Murakami fan for years, having read all of his novels and several of them more than once. 1Q84 seems like it was written by another author altogether. Long-winded, mind-numbingly repetitive, with a vacuous plot and an ending straight out of a very bad romance novel. I refuse to have this book even share the same shelf with his brilliant Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kafka On The Shore. At the risk of being repetitive: a colossal disappointment.
Date published: 2012-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Smart Read Although the length of the book looks overwhelming, I never got bored of the story. It flows very nicely between characters and ends each chapter on a cliffhanger of sorts which keeps you always ready to read the next chapter. 1Q84 could be described as many genres. It is a drama, romance, and science fiction. It pushes the boundaries of what we think is real and asks us to believe the unexplained. It is a very smart book, that is always posing questions to the reader. It talks about religion, love, fate and loyalty. If you like books that make you think, this is a great choice.
Date published: 2012-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much of a good thing. After hearing that this book came out in Japan last year, I was looking forward with great anticipation for this book to make it to our shores. Now, although enjoying the book, I'm waiting in anticipation to finishing it. All of the classic elements of Murakami's earlier books are their: a relatively small number of characters who we get to know in great detail as the story unfolds, a storyline taking place within a surreal environment, touches of fantasy and science fiction thrown in for good measure. It's to the point now however (still in book two), where I'm looking forward to the end of the tale, and the sooner the better. Some of his past books have been like a long vacation that you never want to end. "1Q84" is a nice holiday, but I'm at the point where I'm ready go home. I've had a pleasant stay, but I've had enough. Very slow and repetative in parts, it could have been shortened by a few hundred pages. I won't go into any details about the plot, but suffice it to say, it's good enough to keep me reading, but not brilliant enough for me to regret finally finishing it.
Date published: 2011-12-19

Read from the Book

Chapter 1AomameDon't Let Appearances Fool YouThe taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janácek's Sinfonietta-probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn't seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music.How many people could recognize Janácek's Sinfonietta after hearing just the first few bars? Probably somewhere between "very few" and "almost none." But for some reason, Aomame was one of the few who could.Janácek composed his little symphony in 1926. He originally wrote the opening as a fanfare for a gymnastics festival. Aomame imagined 1926 Czechoslovakia: The First World War had ended, and the country was freed from the long rule of the Hapsburg Dynasty. As they enjoyed the peaceful respite visiting central Europe, people drank Pilsner beer in cafés and manufactured handsome light machine guns. Two years earlier, in utter obscurity, Franz Kafka had left the world behind. Soon Hitler would come out of nowhere and gobble up this beautiful little country in the blink of an eye, but at the time no one knew what hardships lay in store for them. This may be the most important proposition revealed by history: "At the time, no one knew what was coming." Listening to Janácek's music, Aomame imagined the carefree winds sweeping across the plains of Bohemia and thought about the vicissitudes of history.In 1926 Japan's Taisho Emperor died, and the era name was changed to Showa. It was the beginning of a terrible, dark time in this country, too. The short interlude of modernism and democracy was ending, giving way to fascism.Aomame loved history as much as she loved sports. She rarely read fiction, but history books could keep her occupied for hours. What she liked about history was the way all its facts were linked with particular dates and places. She did not find it especially difficult to remember historical dates. Even if she did not learn them by rote memorization, once she grasped the relationship of an event to its time and to the events preceding and following it, the date would come to her automatically. In both middle school and high school, she had always gotten the top grade on history exams. It puzzled her to hear someone say he had trouble learning dates. How could something so simple be a problem for anyone?"Aomame" was her real name. Her grandfather on her father's side came from some little mountain town or village in Fukushima Prefecture, where there were supposedly a number of people who bore the name, written with exactly the same characters as the word for "green peas" and pronounced with the same four syllables, "Ah-oh-mah-meh." She had never been to the place, however. Her father had cut his ties with his family before her birth, just as her mother had done with her own family, so she had never met any of her grandparents. She didn't travel much, but on those rare occasions when she stayed in an unfamiliar city or town, she would always open the hotel's phone book to see if there were any Aomames in the area. She had never found a single one, and whenever she tried and failed, she felt like a lonely castaway on the open sea.Telling people her name was always a bother. As soon as the name left her lips, the other person looked puzzled or confused."Miss Aomame?""Yes. Just like 'green peas.'"Employers required her to have business cards printed, which only made things worse. People would stare at the card as if she had thrust a letter at them bearing bad news. When she announced her name on the telephone, she would often hear suppressed laughter. In waiting rooms at the doctor's or at public offices, people would look up at the sound of her name, curious to see what someone called "Green Peas" could look like.Some people would get the name of the plant wrong and call her "Eda- mame" or "Soramame," whereupon she would gently correct them: "No, I'm not soybeans or fava beans, just green peas. Pretty close, though. Aomame." How many times in her thirty years had she heard the same remarks, the same feeble jokes about her name? My life might have been totally different if I hadn't been born with this name. If I had had an ordinary name like Sato or Tanaka or Suzuki, I could have lived a slightly more relaxed life or looked at people with somewhat more forgiving eyes. Perhaps.Eyes closed, Aomame listened to the music, allowing the lovely unison of the brasses to sink into her brain. Just then it occurred to her that the sound quality was too good for a radio in a taxicab. Despite the rather low volume at which it was playing, the sound had true depth, and the overtones were clearly audible. She opened her eyes and leaned forward to study the dashboard stereo. The jet-black device shone with a proud gloss. She couldn't make out its brand name, but it was obviously high end, with lots of knobs and switches, the green numerals of the station readout clear against the black panel. This was not the kind of stereo you expected to see in an ordinary fleet cab.She looked around at the cab's interior. She had been too absorbed in her own thoughts to notice until now, but this was no ordinary taxi. The high quality of the trim was evident, and the seat was especially comfortable. Above all, it was quiet. The car probably had extra sound insulation to keep noise out, like a soundproofed music studio. The driver probably owned his own cab. Many such owner-drivers would spare no expense on the upkeep of their automobiles. Moving only her eyes, Aomame searched for the driver's registration card, without success. This did not seem to be an illegal unlicensed cab, though. It had a standard taxi meter, which was ticking off the proper fare. 2,150 yen so far. Still, the registration card showing the driver's name was nowhere to be found."What a nice car," Aomame said, speaking to the driver's back. "So quiet. What kind is it?""Toyota Crown Royal Saloon," the driver replied succinctly."The music sounds great in here.""It's a very quiet car. That's one reason I chose it. Toyota has some of the best sound-insulating technology in the world."Aomame nodded and leaned back in her seat. There was something about the driver's way of speaking that bothered her, as though he were leaving something important unsaid. For example (and this is just one example), his remark on Toyota's impeccable sound insulation might be taken to mean that some other Toyota feature was less than impeccable. And each time he finished a sentence, there was a tiny but meaningful lump of silence left behind. This lump floated there, enclosed in the car's restricted space like an imaginary miniature cloud, giving Aomame a strangely unsettled feeling."It certainly is a quiet car," Aomame declared, as if to sweep the little cloud away. "And the stereo looks especially fine.""Decisiveness was key when I bought it," the driver said, like a retired staff officer explaining a past military success. "I have to spend so much time in here, I want the best sound available. And-"Aomame waited for what was to follow, but nothing followed. She closed her eyes again and concentrated on the music. She knew nothing about Janácek as a person, but she was quite sure that he never imagined that in 1984 someone would be listening to his composition in a hushed Toyota Crown Royal Saloon on the gridlocked elevated Metropolitan Expressway in Tokyo.Why, though, Aomame wondered, had she instantly recognized the piece to be Janácek's Sinfonietta? And how did she know it had been composed in 1926? She was not a classical music fan, and she had no personal recollections involving Janácek, yet the moment she heard the opening bars, all her knowledge of the piece came to her by reflex, like a flock of birds swooping through an open window. The music gave her an odd, wrenching kind of feeling. There was no pain or unpleasantness involved, just a sensation that all the elements of her body were being physically wrung out. Aomame had no idea what was going on. Could Sinfonietta actually be giving me this weird feeling?"Janácek," Aomame said half-consciously, though after the word emerged from her lips, she wanted to take it back."What's that, ma'am?""Janácek. The man who wrote this music.""Never heard of him.""Czech composer.""-Well-well," the driver said, seemingly impressed."Do you own this cab?" Aomame asked, hoping to change the subject."I do," the driver answered. After a brief pause, he added, "It's all mine. My second one.""Very comfortable seats.""Thank you, ma'am." Turning his head slightly in her direction, he asked, "By the way, are you in a hurry?""I have to meet someone in Shibuya. That's why I asked you to take the expressway.""What time is your meeting?""Four thirty," Aomame said."Well, it's already three forty-five. You'll never make it.""Is the backup that bad?""Looks like a major accident up ahead. This is no ordinary traffic jam. We've hardly moved for quite a while."She wondered why the driver was not listening to traffic reports. The expressway had been brought to a standstill. He should be listening to updates on the taxi drivers' special radio station."You can tell it's an accident without hearing a traffic report?" Aomame asked."You can't trust them," he said with a hollow ring to his voice. "They're half lies. The Expressway Corporation only releases reports that suit its agenda. If you really want to know what's happening here and now, you've got to use your own eyes and your own judgment.""And your judgment tells you that we'll be stuck here?""For quite a while," the driver said with a nod. "I can guarantee you that. When it backs up solid like this, the expressway is sheer hell. Is your meeting an important one?"Aomame gave it some thought. "Yes, very. I have to see a client.""That's a shame. You're probably not going to make it."The driver shook his head a few times as if trying to ease a stiff neck. The wrinkles on the back of his neck moved like some kind of ancient creature. Half-consciously watching the movement, Aomame found herself thinking of the sharp object in the bottom of her shoulder bag. A touch of sweat came to her palms."What do you think I should do?" she asked."There's nothing you can do up here on the expressway--not until we get to the next exit. If we were down on the city streets, you could just step out of the cab and take the subway.""What is the next exit?""Ikejiri. We might not get there before the sun goes down, though."Before the sun goes down? Aomame imagined herself locked in this cab until sunset. The Janácek was still playing. Muted strings came to the foreground as if to soothe her heightened anxiety. That earlier wrenching sensation had largely subsided. What could that have been?Aomame had caught the cab near Kinuta and told the driver to take the elevated expressway from Yohga. The flow of traffic had been smooth at first, but suddenly backed up just before Sangenjaya, after which they had hardly moved. The outbound lanes were moving fine. Only the side headed toward downtown Tokyo was tragically jammed. Inbound Expressway Number 3 would not normally back up at three in the afternoon, which was why Aomame had directed the driver to take it."Time charges don't add up on the expressway," the driver said, speaking toward his rearview mirror. "So don't let the fare worry you. I suppose you need to get to your meeting, though?""Yes, of course. But there's nothing I can do about it, is there?"He glanced at her in the mirror. He was wearing pale sunglasses. The way the light was shining in, Aomame could not make out his expression."Well, in fact, there might be a way. You could take the subway to Shibuya from here, but you'd have to do something a little...extreme.""Something extreme?""It's not something I can openly advise you to do."Aomame said nothing. She waited for more with narrowed eyes."Look over there. See that turnout just ahead?" he asked, pointing. "See? Near that Esso sign."Aomame strained to see through the windshield until she focused on a space to the left of the two-lane roadway where broken-down cars could pull off. The elevated roadway had no shoulder but instead had emergency turnouts at regular intervals. Aomame saw that the turnout was outfitted with a yellow emergency phone box for contacting the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation office. The turnout itself was empty at the moment. On top of a building beyond the oncoming lanes there was a big billboard advertising Esso gasoline with a smiling tiger holding a gas hose."To tell you the truth, there's a stairway leading from the turnout down to street level. It's for drivers who have to abandon their cars in a fire or earthquake and climb down to the street. Usually only maintenance workers use it. If you were to climb down that stairway, you'd be near a Tokyu Line station. From there, it's nothing to Shibuya.""I had no idea these Metropolitan Expressways had emergency stairs," Aomame said."Not many people do.""But wouldn't I get in trouble using it without permission when there's no real emergency?"The driver paused a moment. Then he said, "I wonder. I don't know all the rules of the Corporation, but you wouldn't be hurting anybody. They'd probably look the other way, don't you think? Anyway, they don't have people watching every exit. The Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation is famous for having a huge staff but nobody really doing any work.""What kind of stairway is it?""Hmm, kind of like a fire escape. You know, like the ones you see on the backs of old buildings. It's not especially dangerous or anything. It's maybe three stories high, and you just climb down. There's a barrier at the opening, but it's not very high. Anybody who wanted to could get over it easily.""Have you ever used one of these stairways?"Instead of replying, the driver directed a faint smile toward his rearview mirror, a smile that could be read any number of ways.

Bookclub Guide

1. 1Q84 is a vast and intricate novel. What are the pleasures of reading such a long work, of staying with the same characters over such a long period of time?2. Murakami has said he is a fan of the mystery writer Elmore Leonard. What elements of the mystery genre does 1Q84 employ? How does Murakami keep readers guessing about what will happen next? What are some of the book's most surprising moments?3. Why would Murakami choose to set his story in 1984, the year that would serve as the title for George Orwell's famous novel about the dangers of Big Brother?4. The taxi driver in Chapter 1 warns Aomame that things are not what they seem, but he also tells her: "Don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality" (p. 9). Does this statement hold true throughout the novel? Is there only one reality, despite what appears to be a second reality that Aomame and Tengo enter?5. Aomame tells Ayumi: "We think we're choosing things for ourselves, but in fact we may not be choosing anything. It could be that everything's decided in advance and we pretend we're making choices. Free will may be an illusion" (p. 192). Do the events in the novel seem fated or do the characters have free will?6. When Tamaru bids goodbye to Aomame, he says: "If you do go somewhere far away and I never see you again, I know I'll feel a little sad. You're a rare sort of character, a type I've seldom come across before" (p. 885). What type of person is Aomame? What qualities make her extraordinary?7. The dowager insists, and Aomame agrees, that the killing they do is completely justified, that the men whom they kill deserve to die, that the legal system can't touch them, and that more women will be victims if these men aren't stopped. Is it true that Aomame and the dowager have done nothing wrong? Or are they simply rationalizing their anger and the desire for vengeance that arises from their own personal histories?8. Tengo realizes that rewriting Air Chrysalis is highly unethical and that Komatsu is asking him to participate in a scam that will very likely cause them both a great deal of trouble. Why does he agree to do it?9. How does rewriting Air Chrysalis change Tengo as a writer? How does it affect the course of his life?10. How do the events that occur on the night of the huge thunderstorm alter the fates of Aomame, Tengo, Fuka-Eri, and the dowager? Why do Aomame and the dowager let go of their anger after the storm?11. At first, Ushikawa is a creepy, totally unlikable character. How does Murakami make him more sympathetic as the novel progresses? How do you respond to his death?12. Near the end of the novel, Aomame declares: "From now on, things will be different. Nobody else's will is going to control me anymore. From now on, I'm going to do things based on one principle alone: my own will" (p. 885). How does Aomame arrive at such a firm resolve? In what ways is the novel about overcoming the feeling of powerlessness that at various times paralyzes Aomame, Ayumi, Tengo, Fuka-Eri, and all the women who are abused by their husbands? What enables Aomame to come into her own power?13. What does the novel as a whole seem to say about fringe religious groups? How does growing up in the Society of Witnesses affect Aomame? How does growing up in Sakigake cult affect Fuka-Eri? Does Leader appear to be a true spiritual master?14. What is the appeal of the fantastic elements in the novel - the little people, maza and dohta, the air chrysalis, two moons in the sky, alternate worlds, etc.? What do they add to the story? In what ways does the novel question the nature of reality and the boundaries between what is possible and not possible?15. What makes the love story of Tengo and Aomame so compelling? What obstacles must they overcome to be together? Why was the moment when Aomame grasped Tengo's hand in grade school so significant?16. In what ways does 1Q84 question and complicate conventional ideas of authorship? How does it blur the line between fictional reality and ordinary reality?17. References to the song "Paper Moon" appear several times in the novel. How do those lyrics relate to 1Q84?18. What role does belief play in the novel? Why does Murakami end the book with the image of Tengo and Aomame gazing at the moon until it becomes "nothing more than a gray paper moon, hanging in the sky" (p. 925)?

Editorial Reviews

A Globe and Mail Best BookShortlisted for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award“1Q84 goes further than any Murakami novel so far, and perhaps further than any novel before it, toward exposing the delicacy of the membranes that separate love from chance encounters, the kind from the wicked, and reality from what people living in the pent-up modern world dream about when they go to sleep under an alien moon.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Murakami’s fiction has grown increasingly relevant to our understanding of the world today, and this time his craft is more refined than ever. . . . This novel—mired in death and fetish, leavened with humor—may become a mandatory read for anyone trying to get to grips with contemporary Japanese culture.” —The Japanese Times“‘Things are not what they seem.’ If Murakami’s ambitious, sprawling and thoroughly stunning new novel had a tagline, that would be it. . . . Orwellian dystopia, sci-fi, the modern world (terrorism, drugs, apathy, pop novels)—all blend in this dreamlike, strange and wholly unforgettable epic.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“You'll find genuine wisdom and emotional depth in 1Q84. Mr. Murakami has gone further here to develop the sensations of loss and isolation.” —The Wall Street Journal“Murakami really does stand alone . . . Which other author can remind you simultaneously of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and JK Rowling, not merely within the same chapter but on the same page? Viewed through the ‘postmodern’ lens, his exemplary blend of a light touch and weighty themes, of high literature and popular entertainment, ticks every box. Posh and pop, sublimity and superficiality, history and fantasy, trash and transcendence: they switch positions and then fuse as the metaphysical speculations of an Ivan Karamazov meet the death-defying adventures of a Harry Potter.” —The Independent (UK) Praise for Haruki Murakami: "Murakami is like a magician who explain what he's doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers... But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's a rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves." — The New York Times Book Review