Book club guide: "1Q84" by Haruki Murakami discussion questions and menu
Whether your fellow book clubbers are human or feline, this guide dedicated to 1Q84 has everything you'll need for a thoughtful and delicious conversation.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.
"1Q84" DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- How is the theme of duality demonstrated by the story and the novel's structure?
- In what ways could Fuka-Eri be a maza? Is it possible she's a dohta instead?
- What do you think the Little People's ultimate purpose is?
- Sometimes there are events in our lives that are so out of the ordinary as to seem surreal. Tengo refers to this as going to “Cat Town.” What events in your life have sent you to Cat Town?
- In what ways is 1Q84 a traditional love story?
- Why is so much focus placed on Ushikawa in the second half of the novel?
- Every major female character is either the victim of sexual abuse or moved to action by the abuse of a loved one. Could this be interpreted as one-dimensional and sexist?
- Tengo's girlfriend is described as “irretrievably lost.” What else in the novel becomes irretrievably lost?
Aomame and Tengo's relationship is an unusual one. Tengo's relationship with Fuka-Eri would raise more than a few eyebrows. Aomame's relationship with Ayumi could be described as reckless. This menu focuses on unusual pairings, strange couplings and downright dangerous combinations.