1Q84I know, I know, the purpose of a book trailer is to give you a preview of a book you haven’t read. So I’m cheating this time, because I’ve already read Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 — and it’s a good thing, because you’re not going to learn anything about the actual plot from this vague, surreal slideshow of a trailer. (Don’t know what a book trailer is? Check out our book trailer guide.)

The biggest clue you’ll get is at the beginning, when the screen fills with a giant, neon-pink 1984. The “9” begins to rotate, whirling around to show a Q and then back to 9, alluding to the novel’s parallel-universe premise (the heroine dubs the alternate reality she finds herself in “1Q84” to differentiate it from her own world, “1984”). As some jangly, discordant electronic music plays in the background, the screen flickers back and forth from a close-up of a woman’s face with the caption AOMAME and a man’s face with the caption TENGO. Against a black sky filled with planets, a message appears: “Two people in search of each other… in a world that is about to change.” Which probably applies to, oh, 99% of novels ever written?

Finally, a narrator pops in briefly. “The year is 1984, and the city is Tokyo. Please remember, things are not what they seem.” Oh… OK. And we’re done!

I may be somewhat biased here, because I plowed through the entire, nearly-1,000-page book and my main impression was that it could have been 500 pages shorter if Murakami had just omitted the countless descriptions of the main characters staring at the moon. Repetitive and tedious, the anemic plot never really got moving in the way you’d expect from the sci-fi concept.

Then again, this book trailer does work, in that the slow pace, frustrating vagueness, and ethereal mood accurately echoes the experience of reading the novel. In that sense, it’s a complete success.

Grade: B-

Stephanie Perry
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