Welcome to a new bookish journey around the world! This post is about the book covers of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. As it is one of my favourite books and it also achieved a high level of popularity all around the globe, I was really curious how its covers were illustrated in different parts of the world.

Note: if you haven’t read the book, I recommend you to first get acquainted with the basic storyline, to better understand the cover illustrations and the remarks I wrote for each of them.

As usual, let’s begin with the first and most known English book cover, which I think offers a good first impression of the book atmosphere by depicting two people “trapped”. I also like the big characters and the colourful spine.

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The original English book cover

Going to the other English editions, we start seeing some patterns – two moons 🙂 The design of the books on the left is very neat, though I don’t really understand why the book was divided into 2 physical books when the story is actually divided into 3 books.

The book on the right is the exact edition I read and includes all three books, nicely marked on the cover with the red horizontal lines.

1q84 english readers high tea 2
English book covers – 2 individual books (left) and the one-book trilogy (right)

The Polish book covers depict a distorted reality … the more we advance reading (from left to right), the more distorted it gets. Even though I don’t personally like this illustrative style, I think it is an interesting metaphor for the storyline.

1q84 readers high tea poland
Polish book covers

Oh là là, the French covers are next! The first bundle of covers is certainly intriguing! I love how the 3 images add up to create a female portrait, though it must be quite weird to see them separately.

1q84 french readers high tea 2
French book covers – first bundle

The second bundle of French covers is for sure the most inappropriate of all in terms of illustration! I don’t see how those childish flowers could have anything to do with the complex and intriguing story created by Murakami … really really weird.

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French book covers – second bundle

Continuing with European covers, there’s an interesting box set from Spain! The 3 covers complement each other and the box design is also quite attractive, but I don’t see any symbol that refers to 1Q84. It gives me the impression of a “template cover” that could be used for any book … Or maybe the “8” symbolizes the two moons?

1q84 spain readers high tea box
Spanish box set

I have a similar “template” feeling when looking at the Dutch book covers (the ones on the left side). The one-book trilogy, however, has a nice Japanese touch (Murakami’s name is written using Japanese characters) and the circular staircase adds a mysterious aura to the cover while also suggesting one of the main symbols of the story. Simple and symbolic!

1q84 readers high tea netherlands
Dutch book covers – the 3 individual books (left) and the one-book trilogy (right)

Just like Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia, let’s discuss the Turkish book covers between the European and Asian ones 🙂 I like the modern geometrical approach and also the matching colours, but again I have the feeling that this type of illustration could be used for any other book …

1q84 readers high tea turkey
Turkish book covers

Let’s see the Japanese book covers! There’s no mistake, there are 6 books that make up the trilogy (I know, this sounds confusing), as each book was split in half. So we have Book 1 – first half, Book 2 – second half, and so on.

Even though the covers look quite appealing, I had higher expectations from the home country of Murakami. A detail worth mentioning is that characters’ names are written on the colourful bands (eg: you can see “TENGO” written on the second cover).

1q84 japan readers high tea
Japanese book covers

This Chinese edition looks rather dull, suggesting only chaos and confusion …

1q84 china readers high tea.png
Chinese book covers

… however, the Chinese box set looks so much better – a crisp and attractive design wrapped up in a simple box!

1q84 china readers high tea box
Chinese box set

Just so you know, I saved the best for last 🙂

The Thai box set might have my favourite illustration of 1Q84 ❤ I love how the two main characters’ relationship is represented by the two moons, getting closer and closer with each volume … and the colour combination is amazing! Not to mention that the books’ spines complement each other so beautifully and form the name of the book. Pure awesomeness!

1q84 thailand box
Thai box set ❤

Another beautiful box set was published in Vietnam. The concentric circles that dominate the covers remind me of a tornado and might suggest the internal turmoil of each character … I am also fond of the colour combination, it’s very appealing!

1q84 vietnam readers high tea box
Vietnamese box set

The last book cover I present here is a limited edition inspired by “the tradition of the artists’ book or livre d’artiste“. Consequently, it has 3 main features: it is hand-produced, has a limited number of copies (111 sets in this case), and there’s a natural blurry line between books and art. This limited edition has a very discrete design that incorporates the two moons theme, and also the idea of intertwining realities. For more details check out this link.

1q84 limited edition
Limited edition

To conclude, we can safely say that “1Q84” has a really wide variety of book covers, ranging from colourless to colourful, from dull to intriguing, from simple to complex illustrations. I hope you enjoyed this bookish journey as much as I did! Now tell me: what’s your favourite edition?

‘Till next time, happy reading!

Georgiana


Images from BookDepository.com | Amazon.com | Bol.com | Carturesti.ro | Catalisecritica.wordpress.comleiturasefofuras.blogspot.ro | TheCurvedHouse.com |

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3 thoughts on “Book covers around the world: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

  1. Although I’m a library mouse myself, I haven’t read any of the books of Murakami. His writing style (from paragraphs I saw here and there) and book subjects put me away for some reason. Which one of his books do you recommend starting with?

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    1. My first thought is to recommend “1Q84”, as it is one of my favourite books of all times, and I felt it was also more approachable than the others I read by Murakami. However, it’s quite a long and complex book, thus is needs time & energy investments. If you just want to see what Murakami is all about without reading 1000+ pages, then “Kafka on the Shore” might be a better option 🙂

      I feel the need to mention that I read only 3 books by Murakami (“1Q84”, “Kafka on the Shore”, and “Norwegian Wood”), so my recommendations might be quite biased based on what I read. I heard friends being very enthusiastic about “A Wild Sheep Chase” and “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”, for example.

      Please let me know if you read any book by Murakami, I am really curious what will you think about it 🙂 Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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