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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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 …
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).
This Chinese edition looks rather dull, suggesting only chaos and confusion …
… however, the Chinese box set looks so much better – a crisp and attractive design wrapped up in a simple box!
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!
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!
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.
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!