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The Most Cryptic Titles in Literature (And What They Mean)

1Q84, Haruki Murakami

The strange title of Murakami’s latest is a joke — a reference to George Orwell’s 1984 and a bilingual linguistic joke: in Japanese, “Q” is pronounced exactly the same as the number 9. In the novel, a young woman named Aomame steps out of 1984 Tokyo and into a parallel universe, which she calles 1Q84 — “Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Whether we’re all really supposed to pronounce the title as “Q-teen Eighty Four,” we couldn’t say.

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