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Okada is apparently a happy man - his domestic life seems familiar and comfortable, but admittedly he has just quit his job, the cat has disappeared and a strange woman is bothering him with explicit phone calls.


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Okada is apparently a happy man - his domestic life seems familiar and comfortable, but admittedly he has just quit his job, the cat has disappeared and a strange woman is bothering him with explicit phone calls.

30 review for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    I had been wondering where my cat was when the phone rang. It was a woman offering to have no strings sex with me. I made some non-committal remarks to her and put the receiver down. I hate those cold callers. I had nothing to do that day, or any other day, so I walked down the back alley and fell into a desultory conversation with a random 16 year old girl who had a wooden leg and a parrot on her shoulder. She suggested I help her make some easy money by counting bald people. That sounded about I had been wondering where my cat was when the phone rang. It was a woman offering to have no strings sex with me. I made some non-committal remarks to her and put the receiver down. I hate those cold callers. I had nothing to do that day, or any other day, so I walked down the back alley and fell into a desultory conversation with a random 16 year old girl who had a wooden leg and a parrot on her shoulder. She suggested I help her make some easy money by counting bald people. That sounded about as good as anything else to me, after all, as I have already explained, i had nothing to do. At all. And I was doing it. It was kind of a cool period in my life when i wasn't really doing anything. I didn't have a job, I had become estranged from my family and for some reason I could not quite put my finger on, i had no friends. So we counted the bald people for a while and then we stopped. We went back home, or should i say, she went back to her home, and I, of course, went back to mine, where I prepared a simple evening meal consisting of grated cucumber, a little olive oil, half a smoked mackerel and a pot of basil. I didn't put the tv on because I didn't have a tv because if i had had a tv i might have switched it on and seen something on it that was actually interesting. Then the cold calling sex woman rang again and this time she said that she couldn't quite tell me how she knew this but she knew something was going to happen to me but she did not say when it would. I decided to rehang the curtains in the front room. But not right away. Maybe later. I picked up the novel I was reading. It was a long one by a very modish Japanese writer called Haruki Murakami. It was about this English guy called Paul Bryant. He was kind of dull but all these weird unexplained things kept happening like he was a magnet for all the weirdness around. I don't know how to explain it. Neither did he. Neither did Haruki Marukami. I read for an hour and found I was on page 303, which in my paperback edition, was the exact centre point of the novel. I put it down. I had a feeling that in this novel things would continue to happen but the things would all be made of blancmange, a tasteless gooey substance which looks a little like wallpaper paste but isn't. And the people in the novel would all be not really real but also not really not real, if you know what I mean. My arm felt slightly tired holding the book. I shifted to a different reading posture on my couch but it did not help. The strength went out of my arm. I do not know why. As you may have noticed, I do not know anything at all. I struggle to recall my name on most days. The novel fell from my hand. I had the feeling I would never pick it up again. I did not know why I had that feeling, but I was pretty sure that I had it at the time I was having it. Although later, I was almost sure I had no memory of it. When I looked up a completely naked woman was sitting at the table eating a slice of thinly buttered toast. I asked her who she was and she said she was not at that point in a position to be able to divulge that information. She asked if she could borrow my car. I explained it had been taken by my wife who had left me two weeks ago. This did not seem to phase her. I noticed that her body was almost the same as that of my wife. She had two breasts, two nipples, and although the table was obscuring the lower parts of her anatomy I was sure that the rest of her was also not dissimilar. She consumed three pieces of toast and told me in a cool voice that I would never see my cat again except possibly in a place that began with the letter H or has a H in the name somewhere. She borrowed my wife's smart summer coat and a pair of her stilettos and left after about 15 minutes. It began to rain but I did not notice. I thought about paying my electricity bill.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Megha

    A part of me wishes that I hadn't read it yet so I could still read it for the first time and be mesmerized. It is quiet difficult for me to describe what this book was like. It is surreal and psychedelic. It is mysterious, something out of this world. You just need to stop questioning things and let yourself get carried away. It begins with a seemingly ordinary day in the life of a very ordinary man. But things only gets strange and stranger from there - dreams spill into reality, lines between A part of me wishes that I hadn't read it yet so I could still read it for the first time and be mesmerized. It is quiet difficult for me to describe what this book was like. It is surreal and psychedelic. It is mysterious, something out of this world. You just need to stop questioning things and let yourself get carried away. It begins with a seemingly ordinary day in the life of a very ordinary man. But things only gets strange and stranger from there - dreams spill into reality, lines between natural and supernatural are smudged, a guy sitting deep down in a well digs into his subconscious, a boy's personality is stolen by the devil, a miraculous blue mark on a cheek heals people....unusual characters drift in, tell their unusual stories and leave. About 2/3rd of my way into the book I was going crazy to know where it was all going. So it was a relief to get to the end where some of these bizarre happenings were explained. But getting to the end of the book was also like being rudely woken up from the most wonderful dream. And I didn't want this dream-like experience to be over. Amidst all of this, Murakami addresses the themes of alienation, loneliness, an individual's search for identity. He questions the national identity as well while exploring some horrifying stories about the second world war. True he leaves a lot of questions to be answered, but it is one of those books where the journey matters more than where the story finally leads you. In a few places the prose is a bit too wordy and repetitious. May be it is a flawed masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless. And this was how my Murakami love began.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    WATER IS GOOD! You, the politician with the psychopath eyes on the T.V.! I hate you! Russian scheming Where the fuck is my cat?!!! And why did I name him after you Mr. Psychopath EYES! War Blood Death Zoo animals? My dreams are wack, yo – but WAIT! Are they really dreams?! No way man, I totally did it with her for real. Skinning people alive Wacky woman with the Huge red hat, tell me! Are you a psychic OR ARE YOU NOT?! What a cool walkway between the HOUSES! telephonetelephoneRing, Ring, Ring: H WATER IS GOOD! You, the politician with the psychopath eyes on the T.V.! I hate you! Russian scheming Where the fuck is my cat?!!! And why did I name him after you Mr. Psychopath EYES! War Blood Death Zoo animals? My dreams are wack, yo – but WAIT! Are they really dreams?! No way man, I totally did it with her for real. Skinning people alive Wacky woman with the Huge red hat, tell me! Are you a psychic OR ARE YOU NOT?! What a cool walkway between the HOUSES! telephonetelephoneRing, Ring, Ring: Hellloooo -- Damnit Bitch, SHOW YOUR FACE! Write me a letter? Chatting through computer? COMMUNICATE WITH ME DAMNIT! Thoroughly, P-LLEASE! Open yourself to the flow.... Creta is so sexy. Fucked up childhoods Am I gonna get aJoborWhat? Okay, SpotAndRate TheBaldMEN! Dontja have that Devil Child! Do what you’re Told, Soldier! Why the fuck won’t this chemically imbalanced 16 year old girl leave me alone? Is she sick or something? Wait, I kinda like her! I like her too, Toru! Bloody-bloody baseball bats The media is on toyaBusta Do you hear that bird? Another Murakami protagonist that likes beer. Oh I could spot your handwriting ANYWHERE, my dear. So much mystique Perceptions aren’t reliable! I never have a full GRASP! Lots of associations IntrospectIntrospect BEAT MY HEAD! Nothing in life is 100% knowable; 100% accurate; 100% reliable ..man that house creeps me out…. The flow of outside forces can shape your destiny, but even when it’s a negative flow you shouldn’t always fight it. A famous fashion designer? .. I’m never going to have closure, am I?..... Backwards, and forwards, and forwards and backwards, plenty of time, lost track of time, and WTF is time, anyway? Numb, can’t feel anymore. SOOO MUCH PAIN! I heart wells. Ugly ass mark on cheek I MISS MY WIFE, DAMNIT! Transcendence ..Oh fuck… what is reality? And it’s all connected in some grasping, magical, meaningful way What???? You wanted at least some normal, put-together sentences as the review? Fine, a few sentences: This book was wonderfully odd. I loved it! Murakami toys in the subconscious, where many unknown but important things brew. He gets you to exist in the imaginative, fun parts of the mind where curiosities, color, and meaning abound. He creates scattered, strange, fragmented, powerful images that end up connecting with just-the-right timing, creating something indescribable, yet satisfying. He manages to meld the unbelievable with the everyday, craftily, so that what would typically seem like fantasy, takes on real life. He allows us to intuitively grasp the wider ranges in our perceptions. Two quick tips: 1) Don't jump into this book expecting anything linear or expecting everything to match up and make complete sense. 2) Read this as if you're meditating; make it a flowing part of your psyche.... recognize the ingenious connections that exist, but don’t directly analyze. Put simpler, make it a "right brain" activity instead of a "left brain" activity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Imogen

    Y'know what? I give up. I'm never going to finish this. I don't think Murakami's a hack, and I know that everybody except me thinks he's a genius, and I also understand- or, more specifically, have had it angrily explained to me- that my dislike for Murakami has to do with me being an American asshole who can't see through her own cultural imperialism enough to appreciate the way Japanese people like Murakami write novels. I acknowledge all these things. But at the same time, nothing about this w Y'know what? I give up. I'm never going to finish this. I don't think Murakami's a hack, and I know that everybody except me thinks he's a genius, and I also understand- or, more specifically, have had it angrily explained to me- that my dislike for Murakami has to do with me being an American asshole who can't see through her own cultural imperialism enough to appreciate the way Japanese people like Murakami write novels. I acknowledge all these things. But at the same time, nothing about this works for me. I'm not excited about a bland everyman; I'm not interested in an atmosphere where literally anything could happen, but mostly what does is that people say vague things to him; I'm not sucked in by the occasionally exposited backstory. I know! I should be able to go along with the vague sense of unease, but it just doesn't do anything for me. I mean, probably it's a very culturally Japanese sort of unease that doesn't speak to me, but 200 pages in, I'm just like, whatever. So whatever. I give up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Only like 10 books or so in this world could be made of actual MAGIC. They are entities so far out of this world they indeed resemble pariahs, belonging to their own orbit & following their own sets of rules that it is your utmost privilege to read them, to find out for yourself why it is that they stick to the collective psyche of one entire, delighted literati! This profound take on life & reality is so complex, so incredibly well-orchestrated, thought-out... a new one for the list of Tops. The Only like 10 books or so in this world could be made of actual MAGIC. They are entities so far out of this world they indeed resemble pariahs, belonging to their own orbit & following their own sets of rules that it is your utmost privilege to read them, to find out for yourself why it is that they stick to the collective psyche of one entire, delighted literati! This profound take on life & reality is so complex, so incredibly well-orchestrated, thought-out... a new one for the list of Tops. The main character, perhaps because he is Japanese, is just so humble & un-egotistical... you cannot help but fall for him: his plight is also your own. As he uncovers clues and goes deeper and deeper into a world that is found in the minutiae of reality (like the darkness of a well, the acquaintances he makes during the day, the dreams broken by the alarm clock...) we too figure out the puzzle. By page 300 I knew this was a deep, enticing masterpiece. During this time, I told Liana: "With an elegant ending, this book gets ***1/2. With a comprehensible (un-open-ended) finale: the full ****." By the end you don't care what did not fit, what was extraneous, what was altogether a tad confusing. "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" is an experience so fulfilling, so gosh-darn incredible that I felt like I was melting into the background with zen-like precision, like our main man. A true treasure of the avant garde! Murakami's best novel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Luca Ambrosino

    English (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) / Italiano A great experience.More than reading a novel, I feel like I've lived the life of another, like when you wake up from a dream in which you played the part of a fearless hero, doing actions you never could have done.Toru Okada is thirty years old and leads an ordinary life with his wife Kumiko. However, a strange phone call marks the beginning of a series of unusual events that entirely change the existence of the young protagonist. Everyday life and English (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) / Italiano A great experience.More than reading a novel, I feel like I've lived the life of another, like when you wake up from a dream in which you played the part of a fearless hero, doing actions you never could have done.Toru Okada is thirty years old and leads an ordinary life with his wife Kumiko. However, a strange phone call marks the beginning of a series of unusual events that entirely change the existence of the young protagonist. Everyday life and the ordinary meet with the inexplicable. The plot loses importance, fogged by dense clouds of mystery, from which only the bizarre characters of Haruki Murakami emerge. We are in a dream, we perceive it as readers and the protagonist of the novel perceives it too:«I listened to the evening news on the radio for the first time in ages, but nothing special had been happening in the world. Some teenagers had been killed in an accident on the expressway when the driver of their car had failed in his attempt to pass another car and crashed into a wall. The branch manager and staff of a major bank were under police investigation in connection with an illegal loan they had made. A thirty-six-year-old housewife from Machida had been beaten to death with a hammer by a young man on the street. But these were all events from some other, distant world. The only thing happening in my world was the rain falling in the yard.»The dream state of Toru Okada will remind many readers the surrealism of David Lynch, the American director who loves to communicate through his films with scenes that disturb for their visual impact, rather than for the linearity of well understandable plots.Side note: with this novel Murakami won the "Yomiuri", a Japanese literary prize, conferred to him by the Nobel Prize Kenzaburō Ōe, previously one of his most ardent critics. What satisfaction!Vote: 9 Una gran bella esperienza.Più che aver letto un romanzo, mi sento come se avessi vissuto la vita di un altro, come quando ti svegli da un sogno nel quale hai vestito i panni di un impavido eroe, compiendo azioni che non ritenevi di poter compiere nemmeno di striscio.Toru Okada ha trent'anni e conduce una vita ordinaria con la moglie Kumiko. Tuttavia una strana telefonata segna l'inizio di una serie di eventi fuori dal comune che cambiano di sana pianta l'esistenza del giovane protagonista. La vita di tutti giorni e l'ordinario si mescolano con l'inspiegabile. La trama in sè perde importanza, annebbiata da dense nuvole di mistero, dalle quali emergono distinti solamente i bizzarri personaggi di Haruki Murakami. Siamo in un sogno, lo percepiamo noi lettori e lo percepisce lo stesso protagonista del romanzo:«Per la prima volta dopo tanto tempo ascoltai il giornale radio della sera. Nel mondo non era successo nulla di insolito. Su un'autostrada, in un sorpasso una macchina era andata a sbattere contro un muro, e i passeggeri, dei ragazzi, erano morti tutti. Il direttore e alcuni impiegati di una succursale di una grande banca erano stati messi sotto inchiesta dalla polizia per una faccenda di prestiti illegali. A Machida una casalinga di trentasei anni era stata ammazzata a martellate da un giovane che passava di lì. Ma tutto questo succedeva in un mondo diverso. Nel mondo in cui vivevo io c'era solo la pioggia che cadeva nel giardino.»Lo stato onirico di Toru Okada ricorderà a molti lettori il surrealismo spinto di David Lynch, il regista americano che ama comunicare attraverso le sue pellicole con immagini che inquietano per il loro impatto visivo, piuttosto che con la linearità di trame ben comprensibili.Piccola nota a margine: con questo romanzo Murakami ha vinto il premio letterario giapponese Yomiuri, conferitogli dal premio nobel Kenzaburō Ōe, uno dei suoi più accaniti critici precedenti. Sò soddisfazioni.Voto: 9

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    This book has received praise from many circles, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Wind-Up Bird was also considered a New York Times Notable Book the year it was published, and it earned Murakami, the author, a serious literary award presented by the Japanese Nobel Prize winning author Kenzaburo Oe. To top it off, most of the reviews on Goodreads are filled to bursting with lavish praise for both Murakami and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. But, less than This book has received praise from many circles, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Wind-Up Bird was also considered a New York Times Notable Book the year it was published, and it earned Murakami, the author, a serious literary award presented by the Japanese Nobel Prize winning author Kenzaburo Oe. To top it off, most of the reviews on Goodreads are filled to bursting with lavish praise for both Murakami and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. But, less than a third of the way through, I couldn't shake the feeling that this book was just a waste of time. I kept reminding myself that I can be a harsh critic and I have been known to initially dismiss a truly great book simply because the author's style or the novel's theme was initially frustrating (this has happened numerous times with novels like The Crying of Lot 49, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Stranger and Absalom, Absalom!). Now that I have finished the last page of Wind-Up Bird, I believe calling this novel a waste of time would be a compliment. I forced myself to continue reading Wind-Up Bird by telling myself that a highly respected author like Murakami would eventually tie-up all the loose ends. When it became obvious that these ends would remain loose, I told myself he was creating a commentary on the nature of story telling, something like how all narrators are unreliable, or maybe purposefully writing a dense, impenetrable tome to reflect the popular postmodern world-view. I eventually started blaming the translator, because I couldn't imagine an author with as much recognition as Murakami writing such boring passages with such awkward prose. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. At one point I put down the book, shook my head, got a glass of water, did some research on both the novel and the author, took a nap, woke up, shook my head again, forced myself to pick up the book, read three more chapters and suddenly realized that Wind-Up Bird was just a poorly written novel and I was making excuses because I was dazzled by all the praise on the cover. There is a certain amount of wiggle room when it comes to writing a novel, but there are a few rules that should always be observed: 1) show, don't tell, 2) don't write down to your audience, 3) avoid clichés, and mostly importantly, 4) establish a theme or message the novel must convey. In Wind-Up Bird, Murakami shamelessly broke each of these rules. He simultaneously broke the first two rules by constantly adding explanations and observations that ruined any amount of mystery or subtlety that might have existed in this pseudo-detective story, effectively communicating to the audience "I don't trust you to read this novel correctly, so I'm going to fully explain each situation and character in detail so you can't possibly misunderstand me." While Wind-Up Bird didn't employ traditional clichés, the constant introduction of psychic characters who simply "know" things because they were "supposed to know" became trite and suggested laziness of the author. Also, while half the characters were functionally omniscient, the other half did things without knowing why, claiming they were compelled by some uncontrollable, unknowable urge or force that often leaves them empty or numb of all feeling (literally, this happens with half of the characters in the novel). But Murakami's most heinous crime is writing a 600 page novel that is functionally meaningless. An author can get away with a lot if ultimately the theme or message of the novel is intact. Try as I might, I can't find a message Murakami was trying to express through The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Murakami did include a character that thoughtfully reflects on war crimes in World War II, but even this subplot was unfocused, and by the end of the novel this story within the story fizzles and suddenly ends without reaching a climax. I toyed around with the possibility that Murakami was writing a novel with a message about how novels don't need a theme or a message, but even if it that was Murakami's intention, it wouldn't justify (nor could it be justified by) such a clunky, awkward, ugly novel. Also, this is a REALLY weird book. I have read Gravity's Rainbow, Ulysses, Slaughterhouse Five, The Bald Soprano, Naked Lunch and The Third Policeman, but somehow The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is the most bizarre, inexplicable piece of literature I have ever come across. At one point I considered giving up on decyphering the plot and just enjoy watching the strange parade of freaks and monsters in the novel. But, instead of making Wind-Up Bird fascinating, the weird characters and situations come across as ham-fisted, almost desperate additons to the book, as the weirdness is employed primarily as deus ex machina. Whenever the protagonist didn't know what to do next (which happened constantly) a psychic would suddenly and inexplicably appear to tell him the next step, and whenever the action began to slow down, the author would include a surreal dream or grotesque murder. This isn't a weird book that has fun upsetting conventions and flirting with the bizarre; this is a book that employs weirdness to compensate for the author's inability to keep control of his own novel. Despite my best efforts to find something worthwhile between its covers, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle offers practically nothing to back up the incredible amount of praise it has received. Easily one of the worst things I have ever read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    I’m a big fan of Haruki Murakami. When you pick up one of his novels, you’re never completely sure where you’ll end up. This is definitely true of the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle! It starts as sort of a detective story in which Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat in their Tokyo suburb. After that, it’s really difficult to say what the book is about. Did the search for the cat trigger all the craziness that swirls around Toru or had everything already been set in motion? And if Toru’s desce I’m a big fan of Haruki Murakami. When you pick up one of his novels, you’re never completely sure where you’ll end up. This is definitely true of the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle! It starts as sort of a detective story in which Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat in their Tokyo suburb. After that, it’s really difficult to say what the book is about. Did the search for the cat trigger all the craziness that swirls around Toru or had everything already been set in motion? And if Toru’s descent into darkness had already been set in motion, had it begun with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, a secret from his wife’s childhood or was there something more recent which was responsible? There is no way (at least for me) to figure out cause and effect, but maybe that’s what it felt like for Toru. He saw no way to separate out the weirdness which he’d allowed into his life. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a long book, full of crazy characters and crazy digressions. As a reader, you feel like you’ve been thrown into the well with Toru (or for some unknown reason voluntarily placed yourself there), and whether or not you can make sense of any of it, Murakami invites you to share Toru’s experience. Wonderfully written and engaging book! 4.5 stars rounded up!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Good Lord, it's been over a month since I've finished s book. What have I been doing with my life? And why haven't I read this book until now? First off, let me put my four-star rating of this book into context. It's only four stars because I feel like I need to read it again, and maybe again and again, to truly appreciate all that is contained within these 600 beautiful pages. I get the story. There's a plot and all that, but there is also so much more going on, there are so many layers, such co Good Lord, it's been over a month since I've finished s book. What have I been doing with my life? And why haven't I read this book until now? First off, let me put my four-star rating of this book into context. It's only four stars because I feel like I need to read it again, and maybe again and again, to truly appreciate all that is contained within these 600 beautiful pages. I get the story. There's a plot and all that, but there is also so much more going on, there are so many layers, such complexity woven into the fabric of the story that I don't think I can truly appreciate it just reading it one time through. The beginning of the story is very straightforward and instantly creates this weird vibe. This dude, Toru, loses his cat so he goes out to look for it. He likes spaghetti and lemon drops. He gets these strange calls at home. He finds an old abandoned house with a well. His wife is kind of like whatever. He doesn't have a job. So, you know, I'm putting all that together in my mind as I'm reading it, right? Pretty simple. This is a book about an unemployed guy searching for his cat while getting weird phone calls, making spaghetti, and getting advice from his wife on how to find the cat. Sounds like an awesome way to spend the next two weeks of my life. But, I'll be damned if the missing cat isn't even the issue. From there things spiral outta control and all of a sudden I'm bouncing around from these old war stories to the bottom of a well to working with a girl and counting the number of bald men on the street to a bunch of other stuff that I don't want to spoil for you. About halfway through I'm thinking to myself, "Self, this plot doesn't matter. These characters are more metaphorical or something. This book is smarter than you. Here's another war story followed by a letter to read. You don't really understand this book at all, do you?" At times I got frustrated because I was focused on moving along the plot and Murakami would ping pong around to other topics for a while. Some of the stories went on for a while, some of them were just a few quick pages, but I found myself reading it trying to find a big plot twist or something when that was never the intent. The story and the characters are there to tell a bigger story that transcends the pages of the book. Once I figured that out, I feel like I still missed a lot. I gotta read this again, man. I feel like if I could read the beginning again now that I know everything, it would make the experience so much richer, so much sweeter. Murakami writes in a way that makes you feel like you're dreaming, moving along different scenes and stories effortlessly, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. It was a surreal experience to take all of this in. It's unlike any book I've read before, and it made me think deeper about life and pain and loss and love and all those hard realities we get to confront on this journey. It was definitely a thrilling and rewarding experience. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Y'all need to get some more Murakami in your life. This guy is the real deal.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I absolutely adored the book upon starting out. It is exquisitely crafted, with each seemingly casual word chosen to illustrate the world into which we have entered. It is a lonely world full of half finished stories, abrupt departures, missed connections and deep silences. "Poor Mr. Wind-Up Bird," lives on an alley with no exits, in a borrowed life that he could never afford to live without the kindness of his uncle. He's just quit his job, as he has no idea of where to go with his life, but is I absolutely adored the book upon starting out. It is exquisitely crafted, with each seemingly casual word chosen to illustrate the world into which we have entered. It is a lonely world full of half finished stories, abrupt departures, missed connections and deep silences. "Poor Mr. Wind-Up Bird," lives on an alley with no exits, in a borrowed life that he could never afford to live without the kindness of his uncle. He's just quit his job, as he has no idea of where to go with his life, but is dissatisfied with its current course. He lives with a wife that he never seems to really speak to, in a routine existence in which she is often late or absent, or spends her time repressing everything she chooses to say to him. Murakami meticulously illustrates this quietly painful existence in all of Mr. Wind-Up Bird's movements, whether it is missed phone calls, a wasted dinner, or a frozen statue of a bird never able to take flight. This sort of language kept me going throughout the book even when I lost my patience with other things. Mr. Wind-Up Bird's relationship with May Kashara was my favorite part of the book. She is something of a wise child character, able to distill what Murakami is only hinting at into a more obvious, if odd and seemingly quaint statement. She is a wonderful character who brings light and movement to the pages, and pushes the plot along, if only in Mr. Wind-Up Bird's head. I kept looking ahead, if only to find out how long it was until she appeared again. What I did not like? The endless repetition of the spiritual mumbo-jumbo, of the prophets who "just know," when something is going to happen, of the endless discussion of the "flow," and various other points of odd zen claptrap that really pushed me out of the story, and the reader entirely out of the reality. I think a part of the book's charm is that it hovers so close around the edges of reality, and gradually, this book just seemed to leave that behind. I appreciated the message of a bundle of stories all being woven together, stories that stop and start as people pass through them, are read and discarded as they are of use. But this went far beyond the borders of surreality into quite a confusing fog. Perhaps I missed something, but it became very difficult to push myself through this seemingly unrelated part. That entire middle section with the extended stories of Cinammon and Nutmeg, and the increasing weirdness of Creta Kano, the side stories of Lieutenant Mamiya, etc... I lost patience with the book and almost gave up several times, because that's how I thought the rest of the book would be. The introduction of random characters and tales that are really not material to the plot or necessary to the points that Murakami is making. Thankfully, the tale wound back down into a more manageable area towards the end. I'm glad I finished it, if only to see the end of May Kashara. I wish I had loved this more consistently that it turned out that I did. I wish I could give it 3.5 stars. I'm sticking with the definition of the stars in terms of "liked it," or "loved it." I was somewhere changeably in between between depending on the section of the book. (review originally written in 2008, edited since).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    Toru Okada recently quit his job at the law office and has been spending his time alone in the house all day while his wife, Kumiko, goes to work. One day while cooking he receives a strange phone call from a women claiming to know him. He can't recognize her voice though and becomes confused by this turn of events. Kumiko is worried because recently their cat disappeared. Usually their cat comes home after a while even though he wanders off and so Toru goes off in search of the cat. On his sear Toru Okada recently quit his job at the law office and has been spending his time alone in the house all day while his wife, Kumiko, goes to work. One day while cooking he receives a strange phone call from a women claiming to know him. He can't recognize her voice though and becomes confused by this turn of events. Kumiko is worried because recently their cat disappeared. Usually their cat comes home after a while even though he wanders off and so Toru goes off in search of the cat. On his search he meets and befriend the neighbor girl May Kasahara, who is staying home from school after getting into an accident. May and Toru spend time together, watching and waiting to see if the cat will come home. Things take an even weirder turn when Kumiko tells her husband to consult with Malta Kano, who helps people and Kumiko knows through her brother Noboru Wataya. Toru hates Noboru Wataya and is confused by this turn in events, even more so when Kumiko doesn't seem to come home one night, leading him to set out to search for her and get caught in a complex web all pertaining to Noboru Wataya. This was my first Haruki Murakami book and I really enjoyed it, it's definitely a new favorite. I tend to enjoy magical realism a lot and I loved the writing and the characters and the themes that were explored in the book. I really enjoyed May and her obsession with death and her struggling to understand it and I enjoyed so much of the ideas that came up about relationships. I also just love mysticism and books that are more on the ideological side. I think it was incorporated really well with the plot, and the way things came up through out the book felt so natural which is hard to do in my opinion. The writing was also really great, and I loved the repetition and the way so many things in the book would occur again and again. I can't explain why it appealed to me so much but it just did. I also loved the way things tied up together, I love when story lines work together interlocking webs of events and ideas. The only thing I may be some what iffy on is the ending, only because it felt abrupt in comparison to the rest of the book. Also things weren't really clear and I don't think we receive a good explanation for what was actually happening. Which may have been the point but I'm not smart enough to figure out why he may have done that if anyone has any ideas?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru = The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a novel published in 1994–1995 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The first part, "The Thieving Magpie", begins with the narrator, Toru Okada, a low-key unemployed lawyer's assistant, who is tasked by his wife, Kumiko, to find their missing cat. Kumiko suggests looking in the alley, a closed-off strip of land existing behind their house. After Toru has hung out there for a while with no luck, May Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru = The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a novel published in 1994–1995 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The first part, "The Thieving Magpie", begins with the narrator, Toru Okada, a low-key unemployed lawyer's assistant, who is tasked by his wife, Kumiko, to find their missing cat. Kumiko suggests looking in the alley, a closed-off strip of land existing behind their house. After Toru has hung out there for a while with no luck, May Kasahara, a teenager, who had been watching him camping out the alley for some time, questions him. She invites him over to her house in order to sit on the patio and look over an abandoned house that she says is a popular hangout for stray cats. The abandoned house is revealed to possibly contain some strange omen, as it had brought bad luck to all of its prior tenants. It also contains an empty well, which Toru uses later to crawl into and think. Toru receives sexual phone calls from a woman who says she knows him. He also receives a phone call from Malta Kano who asks to meet with him. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه فوریه سال 2016میلادی عنوان: سرگذشت پرنده کوکی؛ نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم: شبنم سعادت؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، افراز، 1389، در 800ص، شابک 9789642433063؛ کتاب از متن عنوان انگلیسی به فارسی برگردانده شده سرگذشت پرنده کوکی درباره ی مردی بیکار، به نام «تورو اوکادا»ست؛ اما سلسله‌ ای از رخدادها نمایان می‌کند که زندگی ساده و خسته‌ کننده ی او بسیار پیچیده‌ تر از چیزیست که به نظر می‌رسد در سال 1984میلادی، در کشور «ژاپن»، «آئو مامه» در میان ترافیک شهر «توکیو» از تاکسی پیاده می‌شود؛ چرا که نمی‌خواهد یک قرار دیدار بسیار مهم را از دست بدهد؛ او برای آن که به اتوبان برسد، از پله‌ها استفاده می‌کند، و بدون آن که متوجه شود، وارد یک دنیای موازی با دنیای واقعی می‌گردد؛ تنها در نگاه دوم است، که متوجه تغییرات کوچکی همانند «اونیفورم متفاوت پلیس‌ها» می‌شود؛ او با یک فرقه برخورد می‌کند، که تا کنون در مورد آن هیچ چیزی نشنیده ‌است؛ او درست به موقع به قرار ملاقاتش می‌رسد، و در یک هتل، مردی را با یک سوزن بسیار کوچک، به قتل می‌رساند؛ ناگهان دو ماه از آسمان آویخته می‌شوند؛ «موراکامی» در سوی دیگر داستان، به یک نویسنده ناحرفه ‌ای به نام «تنگو» پرداخته‌ است؛ «تنگو» زمانی که سفارش ویرایش نخستین رمان نوجوان هفده ساله ‌ای به نام «فوکائری»، با عنوان «عروسکی از هوا» را می‌پذیرد، چیزهای عجیب و غیر عادی را پشت سر می‌گذارد؛ در این کتاب نه تنها ماهیت روح مانند «لیتل پیپل»، بلکه همچنین یک فرقه مذهبی، با آیین‌های هولناک آشکار می‌شود؛ زمانی که این کتاب با موفقیتی بزرگ روبرو می‌گردد، اینگونه به نظر می‌رسد که داستان در حال به واقعیت پیوستن است؛ «موراکامی» هوشمندانه در فصل‌های کتابش، به تناوب، رشته ماجراها را، برای ساختن داستان به هم می‌بافد؛ به زودی روشن می‌شود، که قهرمانان او به عنوان دانشجو شناخته شده ‌اند و در برهه ی زمانی، به دست فراموشی سپرده نشده ‌اند؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The storytelling is great, and even if I had issues with some of the characters (okay, all of the female characters), they all managed to be consistently compelling. But I just couldn't get into this one. The story, while interesting, sort of meandered around and by the end, it seems to have forgotten where it was trying to go in the first place. Murakami starts plot points, presents us with new mysteries and characters, and then he gets distr I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The storytelling is great, and even if I had issues with some of the characters (okay, all of the female characters), they all managed to be consistently compelling. But I just couldn't get into this one. The story, while interesting, sort of meandered around and by the end, it seems to have forgotten where it was trying to go in the first place. Murakami starts plot points, presents us with new mysteries and characters, and then he gets distracted by something and forgets to resolve the stuff he told us would be important. I tried to start this review by summarizing the plot, but then I realized I couldn't. So that's probably not a good sign. And of course, it turns out that Murakami is not a male novelist, he is a Male Novelist. First there was the little spurts of misogyny that kept popping up, and then there was May Kashahara, who is sort of a like a Lolita/Manic Pixie Dreamgirl monster. She is inexplicably attracted to our hero, because obviously, and she says supremely irritating Manic Pixie Dreamgirl things like "People like me don't get along well with dictionaries" which, aside from being one of the most annoying sentences I've ever read, also makes no fucking sense. She makes Natalie Portman in Garden State look realistic and grounded. I'm glad I finally read this, because I've been meaning to read Murakami for years. But it's going to be a long time before I can be persuaded to pick up another one of his books again. Be sure to buy my album, Murakami Can't Write Women For Shit, on your way out. We have t-shirts too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    William2

    I adore this book and wish I could carry my enthusiasm for it to Murakami's other works. But in contrast to Wind-Up Bird Chroncle, those I've read disappoint. (Kafka On the Shore devolved into some wretchedly bad writing after the first half. Or was it wretchedly bad translation? I wish I knew.) Anyway, I have read Wind-Up Bird twice and will read it again. My favorite part is the sequence set during World War II near the Khalkha River in Outer Mongolia. This is Lieutenant Mamiya's tale of a dar I adore this book and wish I could carry my enthusiasm for it to Murakami's other works. But in contrast to Wind-Up Bird Chroncle, those I've read disappoint. (Kafka On the Shore devolved into some wretchedly bad writing after the first half. Or was it wretchedly bad translation? I wish I knew.) Anyway, I have read Wind-Up Bird twice and will read it again. My favorite part is the sequence set during World War II near the Khalkha River in Outer Mongolia. This is Lieutenant Mamiya's tale of a daring special op that goes horribly wrong. Along the way a man is flayed alive in very methodical fashion by a Russian agent. But don't be misled. This is just one of the several fascinating digressions that the story undertakes. It is not a war story by any means, but is set for the most part in Tokyo during the booming 1980s. Hypnotic. Not to be missed!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Blaine

    Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person's essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone? ... Everybody's born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source th Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person's essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone? ... Everybody's born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I'd really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can't seem to do it. They just don't get it. Of course, the problem could be that I'm not explaining it very well, but I think it's because they're not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they're not, really. ... The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up. If everything dries up, the world is darkness. A surface-level summary of this novel: a young, unemployed Tokyo man named Toru Okada is asked by his wife Kumiko to search for their missing cat. His search brings him into the orbit of several new and unusual people: a mysterious woman who calls Toru from time to time insisting that he knows her and that she’ll only be free when he remembers her name; May Kasahara, a cheerful yet morbid teenager; Malta Kano, a psychic, and her younger sister, Creta Kano, who styles herself a “prostitute of the mind”; Lieutenant Mamiya, a veteran forever changed by his experiences during the Japanese WWII campaign in Manchuria; a mother and son who call themselves Nutmeg and Cinnamon Akasaka. When Kumiko then disappears, Toru is forced to deal with her brother, Noboru Wataya, a dangerous, popular young politician. We are shown Toru and Kumiko’s courtship, their marriage, and how things fell apart. Symbols are everywhere: day, night, water, wells, labyrinths, music, marks on cheeks, the wind-up bird. And the novel is full of magical realism, employing so many dreams and flashbacks that the entire story has an air of unreality to it. We get the backstories of each of the characters above, and slowly links between them begin to emerge, all revolving around the central question of whether Toru can find Kumiko and repair their damaged relationship? Ok, but what is this novel about? Well, that’s harder to explain. It’s about isolation and alienation. This book is about fate and destiny, people who feel controlled by outside forces and people who feel like empty shells or hollow men. It’s about the danger of desire. It grapples with the horrors of war, specifically Japan reckoning with its wartime actions in Asia. But even more broadly it examines the harm people—those so filled with hate that they defile those they come into contact with—can cause one another, and their polar opposites who actually use their power to help others. That sounds pretty out there. Will I like this book? Obviously I can’t guarantee you will, but I don’t normally go for magical realism and I loved this book. The writing is great, and very easy to read, especially for a translated work of literary fiction. I found the characters and the story completely absorbing, even if I didn’t always feel like I understood the meaning of everything that was happening. People apparently compare Mr. Murakami to Thomas Pynchon, but I haven’t yet read any of his books. The storytelling style here reminded me of Stephen King’s doorstop novels like The Stand and It. There are tales within tales, each fascinating even if only tangentially related to the main story being told. I had this book on my radar for years, but it’s size and scope were intimidating. I only finally gave it a go this year when two different book challenges I’m doing had a category for books set in Japan. Don’t wait like I did. Find a copy and dive in. You’ll likely be very glad you did. Highly recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This was my first adventure into the magical universe of Haruki Murakami. I am one of the many people that feel that his Nobel Prize for Literature is long overdue - and a lot of that rests on his core work in the 90s including this masterpiece. This is a beautiful multi-level story in typical Murakami fashion with plenty of imagery and fascinating characters. I loved the story, the writing style, and just about everything that was in these 600+ pages. I won't reveal any plot spoilers - I'll jus This was my first adventure into the magical universe of Haruki Murakami. I am one of the many people that feel that his Nobel Prize for Literature is long overdue - and a lot of that rests on his core work in the 90s including this masterpiece. This is a beautiful multi-level story in typical Murakami fashion with plenty of imagery and fascinating characters. I loved the story, the writing style, and just about everything that was in these 600+ pages. I won't reveal any plot spoilers - I'll just say that it is the best Murakami to start with and perhaps - IMHO - his strongest book during his most powerful period as a writer. Anecdote: I told one neighbour in Paris about this book over ten years ago and it quickly made the tour of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood. About two years later someone from a different part of the city thanked me for mentioning the book to the original person because she had loved it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    Original Review: February 22, 2011 Songs of Fascination Murakami sings to me of fascination. I still haven't worked out why. I could analyse the sensation until it died on the operating table. Or I could focus on just keeping the sensation alive. Or, somewhere in between, I could speculate that it's because Murakami sits over the top of modern culture like a thin gossamer web, intersecting with and touching everything ever so lightly, subtly expropriating what he needs, bringing it back to his writer Original Review: February 22, 2011 Songs of Fascination Murakami sings to me of fascination. I still haven't worked out why. I could analyse the sensation until it died on the operating table. Or I could focus on just keeping the sensation alive. Or, somewhere in between, I could speculate that it's because Murakami sits over the top of modern culture like a thin gossamer web, intersecting with and touching everything ever so lightly, subtly expropriating what he needs, bringing it back to his writer's desk or table, and spinning it into beautiful, haunting tales that fail to stir some, but obsess others like literary heroin. Sins of Fascination Pending a more formal review, below is a song that I pieced together by way of dedication to the book and Paul Bryant's parody. The song careers all over the surface of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" and "Paperback Writer", so I probably owe them and you an apology, but it seemed like an apt way to celebrate Murakami at the time. As these things often do, it emerged in a thread on a review of this novel. In the cold hard light of retrospect, I don't know what I was thinking. Nor can I remember what I was drinking when I thought it up. However, if any one ever creates or releases a soundtrack to Murakami's novels, I'll play it every day of my life. Or as Paul jokingly suggested, there might even be a musical in there somewhere. (For someone else, maybe even Murakami, to create.) "Sister Feelings Call" (or "Wind-Up Bird and Black Cat") (A Sonic Chronicle) "I once had a bird or should I say she once had me. She had a passing resemblance to Halle Berry. She showed me her room, and said "Isn't it good, this neighbourhood?" She asked me to stay and said she'd written a book. It took her years to write, would I take a look. I read a few pages of parody and started to laugh. It was then that she told me she was only one half. She had a twin sister called Sally she'd like me to meet. She lived in an alley at the end of the street. She told me she worked in the morning and went off to bed. I left her room, a brand new idea in my head. When I got there, that alley was dead at both ends, Just me, a black cat and a few of its friends." Paul Bryant's Review Paul Bryant has written an excellent parody of Murakami in his review of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". It absolutely nailed Haruki Murakami's writing style in this book: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... "The History of Love" While reading Nicole Krauss' "The History of Love", I came across a passage that called out for the Paul Bryant approach and leant itself to a retort to Paul's parody. This often happens once you have been touched by the magic hand of Paul Bryant. His reviews set the bar high, but invite you to jump. I urge you to read "The History of Love" if you haven't already: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... A Parody in the Style of Paul Bryant's Review of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" I fell into bed wearing my clothes minus my underwear. It was past midnight when the telephone rang. I awoke from a dream in which I was teaching Haruki Murakami how to write satire. Sometimes I have nightmares. But this wasn’t one. We were in my club, Dusty Springfield was playing, live. Later no one could remember having seen her, and because it was impossible to understand how Dusty Springfield would have been playing at my club, no one believed me. But I saw her. A siren sounded in the distance. Just as Dusty opened her mouth to sing, the dream broke off and I woke up in the darkness of my bedroom, the rain pitter-pattering on the glass. The telephone continued to ring. Haruki, no doubt. I would have ignored it if I hadn’t been afraid he’d call the police. I threw off the sheets and stumbled across the floor, banging into a table leg. “Hello?” I shouted into the phone, but the line was dead. A moment later the phone rang again. “OK, OK,” I said, picking up the receiver. “No need to wake up the whole building.” There was a silence on the other end. I said, “Haruki?” “Is this Mr. Ian Graveski?” I assumed it was someone trying to sell me something. He sounded English. Like one of those guys with a microphone trying to get you to come into their 50p shop, only it’s a recording. But the man said he wasn’t trying to sell me anything. “My name is Paul Bryant.” His cat was stuck on his roof. He’d called Information for the number of a roof and guttering specialist. I told him I was retired. Paul paused. He seemed unable to believe his bad luck. He’d already called three other people and no one had answered. “It’s pouring out here,” he said. “OK, OK,” I said, even though I didn’t want to say it. “I’ll have to dig up my tools.” When I arrived, it wasn’t only a cat that was on his roof. When I looked up, I noticed that a completely naked woman was sitting on the roof, eating a slice of thinly buttered toast. I asked her who she was and she said she was not able to divulge this information. She wouldn’t even divulge her name to Paul, who did not seem to be surprised that she was on his roof, sitting next to his cat. She asked if she could come home with me in my car. I explained that she would have to get off the roof first. I noticed that her body was almost the same as that of my ex-wife. She had firm but smallish breasts, and although the ladder obscured her body as she descended, I was confident that the rest of her would soon look familiar. When we got home, I offered her my ex-wife's silk pyjamas. But she shook her head as she slid into my bed, saying she wouldn’t need them. It was past 3am when the telephone rang again. I recognised the voice. It was Paul Bryant. “My cat,” he said. “It’s still on the bloody roof.” It was still raining, but I did not care. "Sorry, Mr Bryant, I'm doing another house call. Besides, I'm retired." I returned to the warmth in my bed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    If I were to use only one word to describe this book, I would type the word 'brilliant' a million times with each letter in CAPITALS and fill up the entire word length of this particular space. In all its sensitivity, emotional depth and keen understanding of the complications of the human mind The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is a stellar work of literature and a tour de force. I cannot go ahead and say it is Murakami's magnum opus (it is not his longest novel), since I haven't finished with all his If I were to use only one word to describe this book, I would type the word 'brilliant' a million times with each letter in CAPITALS and fill up the entire word length of this particular space. In all its sensitivity, emotional depth and keen understanding of the complications of the human mind The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is a stellar work of literature and a tour de force. I cannot go ahead and say it is Murakami's magnum opus (it is not his longest novel), since I haven't finished with all his translated works and besides he is only 63 and I expect him to keep writing books for as long as it matters, each one better than the last. But I'm forced to admit that of the 5 Murakami books I have had the fortune to read so far, this one stands out as the most gripping, most cerebral yet compassionate commentary on loneliness and human misery. The narrative stitches together a handful of seductively beautiful vignettes to form a magnificent larger than life image, that does not only represent a story of a particular individual but recounts the tales of many. Seemingly unconnected at first, these numerous subplots coalesce together in a solid clincher of an ending - a humongous task but performed with elan by the masterful surrealist. It is a story of a marriage which is falling apart slowly but steadily, a moving depiction of the horrors inflicted on humanity during Japan's occupation of Manchuria and the forgotten battle of Nomonhan, a mystery thriller, an exploration of the inherent darkness within each one of us and a man's path to self discovery all combined into one. Newly out of work, Toru Okada is leading a peaceful life with his wife Kumiko when his carefully organized world starts to crumble bit by bit. His wife goes missing without a hint, the sociopathic brother-in-law he despises with a passion is emerging as a compelling figure in Japanese politics and he begins encountering queer characters one after the other, each of whom seem to be twisted individuals but guide him towards solving the mystery of his wife's sudden disappearance. And thus begins a most intriguing tale of Okada's journey through an intricate labyrinthine path stretching across time and space, the real and the surreal, where he goes through a set of bizarre but enlightening experiences. It is difficult for me to say anything more about the plot simply because it is impossible to summarize a Murakami novel or to express all the emotions a reader goes through in such a short review. Honestly I could write a whole damn book if I'm to review every aspect of one particular Murakami novel. All this time I had subconsciously developed an intense desire of knowing Murakami's opinions on Japan's infamous role in World War II. This book surprised me pleasantly by giving me exactly that and I'm not disappointed with his view. Instead of taking a stand, Murakami describes a few scenes of extreme violence with precision and calculated neutrality and pushes the reader to form his/her own opinion. He does not try to absolve the Japanese of the unmentionable crimes against humanity they committed but at the same time offers a very human perspective of the trail of death and devastation. For example, when a Japanese veterinarian, serving as the director of a zoo in Manchukuo is being made to watch the gruesome killing of 4 Chinese rebels with bayonets, Murakami sums up his feelings in the line:- 'He became simultaneously the stabber and the stabbed.' I don't think he could have created a more moving picture of the ruthlessness of war or the unimaginable horrors it spawns. If the Japanese were ruthlessly brutal, so were the rest - the Soviets, the Mongols and every single human being who killed or tortured another in the name of war. He also hints at the accountability of those at the helm of matters, seated somewhere in their immaculately decorated offices, dressed in dapper suits, making decisions which alter the course of humanity for the worse and bring about disastrous consequences for the rest to face. This is perhaps the only Murakami novel which has a very strong element of mystery at heart and which ends with a satisfactory resolution of sorts. (view spoiler)[In fact it is a bit amusing to notice that it has an ending where the villainous bastard gets slayed and the hero and the heroine reunite (almost) - the kind of thing you don't expect from Murakami but I guess tragic and magical realist endings can get monotonous after a time. (hide spoiler)] Final rating :- 5 stars and no less. Hell, I could've given it a 10 stars out of 5 if possible. P.S: I don't care if Murakami doesn't win the Nobel this year as well because in the heart of every devoted Murakami lover, he has been given the Nobel a million times over already.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Jobless, Toru Okada spends most of his days searching for his missing cat. Until his wife goes missing as well. Why did she leave? Did she ever love him? And can Toru navigate an ocean of strangeness to get her back? Back when I first joined Goodreads, one of the first things I noticed was how a novel I'd never heard of, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, got so much praise from Goodreaders. Was it hype? Or worse, was it just hipster bullshit? You know what I'm talking about. "I only read novels that ha Jobless, Toru Okada spends most of his days searching for his missing cat. Until his wife goes missing as well. Why did she leave? Did she ever love him? And can Toru navigate an ocean of strangeness to get her back? Back when I first joined Goodreads, one of the first things I noticed was how a novel I'd never heard of, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, got so much praise from Goodreaders. Was it hype? Or worse, was it just hipster bullshit? You know what I'm talking about. "I only read novels that have been translated from foreign languages. Now let's go watch a foreign film and pretend to understand it." At the insistence of a Goodreads compadre who seems to have deleted his account since I bought this, I decided to plunk down my money and give it a shot. What did I think? I dug it but don't start fitting me for skinny jeans and a distressed faux-vintage t-shirt quite yet. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a very breezy read, surprisingly so since it was translated from Japanese. It tells the story of Toru Okada's disintegrating life, from his quitting his job at the law firm, to the family cat, Noboru Wataya, named after his wife's brother, going missing, to his wife Kumiko disappearing one morning. From there, things get stranger by the minute. Toru gets entangled with a sort of psychic therapist, Malta Kano, and her sister Creta, as well as striking up an unusual friendship with the unusual girl next door, May Kasahara. And that's before the really weird things start happening. Weird books are my bread and butter so the weirdness didn't impede my enjoyment one iota. A lot of crazy things happened and the book held my interest the entire time. The writing is wonderful. I felt Toru's emotions as he felt them and I found his reactions to be really believable. When I read Kumiko's letter about why she left, I felt as betrayed as Toru must have felt. Like I said, I dug it but I didn't love it. There were a lot of weird things happening and a lot of it was never resolved. While I enjoyed the WWII digressions, they felt unnecessary to me. I guess my main beef was that I didn't understand what all the hype was about. Sure, it's very well written but it doesn't have a lot of substance to it, not for being 600 pages long. It reminds me of Douglas Coupland and/or Neal Stephenson once they had achieved the editorial freedom to write whatever they wanted to. Not once did I contemplate taking days off work just to read it, nor did I feel like it was a life changing event. That's about all I can articulate about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at this time. Good, not great. Not as pants-shittingly awesome as I've been lead to believe. Definitely still worth a read, though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I’ve read quite a few of Murakami’s books in the past few years and it’s caused me to reflect on my feelings about this one, which I worked my way through in late summer 2013. Beware; it is a weighty and sometimes complex piece. The story follows Toru Okada, a young man whose life is in the doldrums: he has no job, very little ambition, his wife has left him and now his cat has gone missing. In searching for his cat he wonders up and down a closed lane bordering his house and at one point finds I’ve read quite a few of Murakami’s books in the past few years and it’s caused me to reflect on my feelings about this one, which I worked my way through in late summer 2013. Beware; it is a weighty and sometimes complex piece. The story follows Toru Okada, a young man whose life is in the doldrums: he has no job, very little ambition, his wife has left him and now his cat has gone missing. In searching for his cat he wonders up and down a closed lane bordering his house and at one point finds himself climbing into a dry well, set within the garden of a neighbouring property. He begins to visit this well regularly and whilst sitting in darkness at the bottom he is apt to enter a meditative-like state in which he has experiences that may or may not be dreamt. Yes, it’s quite a surreal tale. I won’t go into too much more detail about what happens but I will say that some of the characters I met along the way are memorable and some of the sub-stories that develop are really intense and powerful. My personal favourite (and it would make a five star novella on its own) concerns the plight of an old Japanese soldier and his experiences in Manchuria during the Sino-Japanese War. There is certainly a strong undercurrent of feeling here concerning Japan’s violent aggression during World War II. But that aside, the whole piece is an affecting and thought provoking narrative. I may not have fully comprehended the totality of the tale but it entertained me, touched me and it has stood the test of time - i.e. when asked to list my top three books it often makes the cut. Murakami is certainly a gifted writer with a wild and brilliant imagination. The settings of his books always take me to unfamiliar places that are culturally different from anything I’ve yet to experience. It’s probably why I go back to his works, even if I fail to enjoy some of them – they are often challenging but always unconventional and off-centre. They tend to stay with me. A handful of his books are amongst a very small percentage of all the books I’ve read that I’m likely to re-visit one day.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.” ― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle A weird metaphysical (I KNOW it is a bit redundant to start off ANY review of Murakami by dressing it up in adjectives like weird & metaphysical) novel. I remember wanting to buy this book back in 2007, but I was poor and just about to get married and it seemed like my limited money would be better spent on bread and cheese. Now I own three, but I still wish “Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.” ― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle A weird metaphysical (I KNOW it is a bit redundant to start off ANY review of Murakami by dressing it up in adjectives like weird & metaphysical) novel. I remember wanting to buy this book back in 2007, but I was poor and just about to get married and it seemed like my limited money would be better spent on bread and cheese. Now I own three, but I still wish I bought it. I still regret NOT buying it. Not necessarily because I wish I had read it earlier. I think I'm reading Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at exactly the right point for me, but just because I would have liked to carry that book with me like some form of lucky talisman during the last 17 years (kinda like what I did with Infinite Jest). And it is more than that ... I actually remember in my brain THE book. Displayed with the bird eye out against a support beam in the bookstore. I regret not buying THAT book. I've now read about all of Murakami. Well not quite. I still have to read: 1Q84, Sputnik Sweetheart, Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, Hear the Wind Sing & Pinball, 1973. That's it. After THAT I'm done. Anyway, my point is even after reading 11 or more previous Murakami novels I still exit W-BC a bit uncertain. I liked it a lot and think it is an important novel and worth the read, but it just seemed a bit too untidy or ambiguous. I KNOW. The novel is built on ambiguity, uncertainty, evil, weird coincidences, funky time, projections, reflections, shadows. My only criticism is that sometimes the shadows seemed to cover the reflections (metaphorically speaking). Sometimes, I read a page and was left with not just a WTF moment, but exhausted from not knowing WHY it twas a WTF moment. Anyway, there still is no escaping that the novel is huge, creepy, cool, and feels like David Lynch should make the movie (complete with midgets and nymphets). For me it was a 21st century novel written in the last decade of the 20th century, reflecting on the evils and history of the past and present Japan. Also, briefly, I occasionally include pictures in my review, but THIS book has inspired some of the most amazing art. Seriously, google Wind-Up Bird and bask in the artsy coolness. And, yes, I realize some artists might have been inspired by wind-up birds before Murakami, but come on now.

  22. 4 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    This is LOST done by the Japanese. This book will blow your face off, or skin it off if you are as unlucky as certain characters, and you will love it for it. Murakami delivers a page turner of a novel that starts innocently with a man looking for his cat after getting sex-ed up on the phone while boiling some spaghetti and quickly drops you down a crazy well of crazed politicians, dream women, dream worlds, WWII horror stories and rich secret corporations. I can't believe this isn't an anime by This is LOST done by the Japanese. This book will blow your face off, or skin it off if you are as unlucky as certain characters, and you will love it for it. Murakami delivers a page turner of a novel that starts innocently with a man looking for his cat after getting sex-ed up on the phone while boiling some spaghetti and quickly drops you down a crazy well of crazed politicians, dream women, dream worlds, WWII horror stories and rich secret corporations. I can't believe this isn't an anime by now. While this book is quite plot heavy, it does delight with its subtleties and interesting shifts in form and perspective so fear not literature seekers! And it does come together at the end quite well, which is reassuring when you are halfway through and wondering "how the hell is this going to wrap up?!". It may not directly give you all your answers, but there is enough to uncover with a bit of thought and the parts left unanswered, well, they are left that way for a reason. This book is for those with a creative imagination and it tests you to push that to the limits. This is one wild ride and you should not miss it. If you are the sort to be put off by quirky asian stereotypes, this book may not be for you. It has all the standards, weird sex (mutating women with cat tails?) and an over-sexualized teenage girl hanging out with a mid-30's male which nobody finds creepy, but try to get past that if so because this book is a pure delight.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is actually probably the best novel I've read in a long time. Granted, many of the novels I've read over the last two years have not been spectacular. There was The Lovely Bones. And then The Ass and the Angel. And then His Dark Materials. And others, none of which I would recommend spending any time with. Wind-Up Bird on the other hand was worth every moment spent burning through its 610 pages. It was mysterious, absorbing, and informative. Murakami writes i Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is actually probably the best novel I've read in a long time. Granted, many of the novels I've read over the last two years have not been spectacular. There was The Lovely Bones. And then The Ass and the Angel. And then His Dark Materials. And others, none of which I would recommend spending any time with. Wind-Up Bird on the other hand was worth every moment spent burning through its 610 pages. It was mysterious, absorbing, and informative. Murakami writes in a form and style that makes the act of reading as simple as consuming a volume of Harry Potter. His prose is neither dense nor confusing. It's not his words that propose depth but his ideas. On top of engaging philosophies of death and identity and epistemology, Murakami couches his world here in a system of reality far more encompassing than our own. His is both reality and meta-reality and the boundary between both permeable and malleable. Things from the realm of mystery make themselves known in the realm of the normal. And contrawise. A wound taken in a dreamworld manifests itself in the waking world and a weapon carried in the waking is available in the dream. So then is there really any difference? And if so, then does such a difference matter. At heart, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle seems to be an exploration of fate, of destinies unbidden and prophecies unalterable. Murakami's flaccid protagonist, Toru Okada, moves from passivity to activity as he struggles either to engage his destiny or bend fate to his own need (which one, which one?). There are so many aspects to the story that move characters around outside of their own willpower that Fate clearly has the upper hand, but still, it's fun to watch the struggle. The story begins when Okada's cat goes missing and his wife Kumiko asks him to find it. Or maybe it begins earlier, when Kumiko gets pregnant. Or maybe it begins still earlier when Kumiko's sister dies. Or earlier still, during the years leading up to WWII. Whatever the case, everything is connected through gossamer tendrils of fate and pain and anguish and collective identity. And then there's the wind-up bird, the unseen bird whose cry sounds like a spring being wound—the bird who winds up the world, a stand-in for fate who propels things and people to and fro, loosing and staunching the flow of life and the stream of reality. This was the second book of Murakami's I have indulged—the first was [book:Kafka on the Shore, a number of years ago—and I can't wait to read it again. Wind-Up Bird is actually far more easily understood that Kafka and despite the same presence of such a magical reality, the story elements more easily combine to paint a sensible landscape. Still, Wind-Up Bird leaves plenty robed in mystery and will give readers a feast of afterthoughts (I spent my lunch break scouring the internet for critique—to little avail, alas!). The dialogue is crisp and occasionally crackles, especially where the Kasahara character is at play. I have only one thing to say in criticism of the book. In a climactic chapter, the protagonist explains everything (to some extent) to the reader and another character. I felt ripped off by this, as if the author couldn't trust me to be engaged enough to piece things out on my own, though my conclusion had been identical. (Though from reading some of the Amazon reviews from people who still didn't get it, I suppose it was necessary after all.) Unless we're not meant to trust Okada's interpretation... Okada certainly has his own doubts, but it didn't seem to me that Murakami was trying to capitalize on the whole untrustworthy narrator bit—he seems more interested in more interesting matters. In any case, awesome book. High recommendations for everyone except stuffy evangelicals ^_^

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    If you’re a 30-ish married man in Japan with a dead end job as a law clerk, with hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to have your wife agree with you that you need to take a year off to find yourself. During this year off your cat may disappear and you may start hanging out with a neighborhood high school girl who suns herself in a tiny bikini. Then your wife may ask you to have lunch with the weird psychic sisters to try to find the cat. And a strange package may arrive from an old man f If you’re a 30-ish married man in Japan with a dead end job as a law clerk, with hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to have your wife agree with you that you need to take a year off to find yourself. During this year off your cat may disappear and you may start hanging out with a neighborhood high school girl who suns herself in a tiny bikini. Then your wife may ask you to have lunch with the weird psychic sisters to try to find the cat. And a strange package may arrive from an old man fortune teller who used to be a good friend of you and your wife. You may learn that your politician brother-in-law, whom you hate because he is bizarre and a pervert, is even more bizarre and perverted than you had ever imagined. These traits will probably help him win the national political office he is seeking. After all this you may develop a taste for sitting for days in the bottom of deep wells. Even though your wife does not know about all of this (the well thing, the package thing, the bikini girl, etc.) she may still leave you. But some good things might happen. You might learn some war stories about the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. You could have tremendous magical realism sex with one of the psychic sisters. And the cat might come back. It’s hard to summarize the bizarre twists and turns of this Murakami novel but it is original and I think much better than two others of his I have read – IQ84 and Kafka on the Shore. Murakami has become an industry unto himself and some of the shots taken at his recent work include that it has become formulaic and that “it’s not Japanese.” I can see those criticisms applied to the two more recent works but I highly recommend Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, written in 1998, before those criticisms applied. I notice that this is his highest rated work by GR readers (a hair over Crime and Punishment -- which is going some!). So I suggest this book to those who have not read any of his work or to those who were disappointed by his more recent work and want to give him a second chance.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Prashasti

    Murakami inevitably is one of the best pulp fiction writers with a refined & sophisticated taste in music! As an ardent fan of Murakami, and after reading some of his substantial works, I've come to this conclusion that the experience of reading his books in itself is somewhat analogous to traveling, what really matters is the journey than the destination & in his books, it's more about the substance rather than conclusions. Apart from the usual magical surrealism & strong hidden metaphors, all ha Murakami inevitably is one of the best pulp fiction writers with a refined & sophisticated taste in music! As an ardent fan of Murakami, and after reading some of his substantial works, I've come to this conclusion that the experience of reading his books in itself is somewhat analogous to traveling, what really matters is the journey than the destination & in his books, it's more about the substance rather than conclusions. Apart from the usual magical surrealism & strong hidden metaphors, all hanging in an air of mysticism; this book combines recollections of the war with metaphysics, dreams, and hallucinations into a powerful and impressionistic work. Murakami’s literature makes the concept of Existentialism accessible to a modern literary and worldwide audience. I loved the character of May Kasahara the most! “I laughed. “You’re too young to be so … pessimistic,” I said, using the English word. “Pessi-what?” “Pessimistic. It means looking only at the dark side of things.” “Pessimistic … pessimistic …” She repeated the English to herself over and over, and then she looked up at me with a fierce glare. “I’m only sixteen,” she said, “and I don’t know much about the world, but I do know one thing for sure. If I’m pessimistic, then the adults in this world who are not pessimistic are a bunch of idiots.” The first 300 pages were really like a roller-coaster, everything seemed well-put, I was just about to find my other Murakami favorite until I reached the dreadful third part of this novel, the lengthiest 300 pages, it turned noway to the end I had no idea what any of it really meant or where the plot was leading to. The addition of new characters in the third part, i.e. Nutmeg and Cinnamon, I seriously couldn't stand these two, it was unnecessary to introduce their storylines, just felt too extra, couldn't relate to them and literally killed 80% interest of mine. The Manchuria subplot which was interesting at first but later felt dragging. To finish reading 300 pages was more like a chore to me, I had to at any cost get rid of this nightmarish frame of mind in order to start afresh to read another book. No, I don't hate Murakami for this, I still love him, he's still my favorite and I'm still going to read his other works...I'm just extremely disappointed by this read. Sadly, 3 stars are all I can giveaway to this book. PS: Don't pick this as your first Murakami book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    So before long, you find yourself 340 pages into this book, and you have no idea what's happening.. Rather, you understand all you have read to this point, but still can't determine the direction Murakami is taking you in. Still, the book is compelling. You can't seem to put it down. Meanwhile it begins to invade your dreams.. in much the same manner that Toru's (the main character) dreams are invaded. You start having dreams about strange women and empty wells. So cracking into "Book Three", I' So before long, you find yourself 340 pages into this book, and you have no idea what's happening.. Rather, you understand all you have read to this point, but still can't determine the direction Murakami is taking you in. Still, the book is compelling. You can't seem to put it down. Meanwhile it begins to invade your dreams.. in much the same manner that Toru's (the main character) dreams are invaded. You start having dreams about strange women and empty wells. So cracking into "Book Three", I'm still uncertain of what will happen next, or if there is even a point to this work. Having reviews that state "dream-like" and "surreal", I wonder if anything will come of it. I know what I would like to happen, but Murakami tends to avoid my expectations. So I'll read on.. and maybe in a day or two, I'll have closure. 9/18 Update: No closure. Expectations avoided, though I was working on satisfying conclusions all throughout Book 3, just not of the kind Murakami Intended. And after reading multiple goodreader reviews, I have a sense that no one is getting it or writing it off as merely strange and surreal. Don't believe for a second that Ido "get it", but by saying Murakami leaves a lot of "loose ends" is a cop out to me, and I think with critical care and attention, a lot of these can be tied up.. But what do I know? It's not my place to tie up loose ends. Something stewing in me right now, and I put the finished book down only moments ago, is that I can't believe for a second that May is a wigmaker. I think maybe she's crazy, maybe in a mental facility which she believes is a wig making factory, and.. and... may be Kumiko. Still stewing inside, yet, is a hypothesis that all of, or most of, the women in this book are variations of Kumiko. That the "real" Kumiko never really left Toru, etc., etc. But this is what a book like this can do to a person. Invite your own interpretation, as I suspect may be what Murakami intended. Also, I'm likening this to a song that you really love to hear, but probably don't know what it's about... and once you catch the meaning, it doesn't belong to you anymore. Further losing that specialness because the artist spilled the beans, as it were. And for that I'll take the book as it came to me and left me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I think the phrase is “drunk reviewing.” Goodreaders I’ve seen tipple and type often have great success connecting to an audience. I can’t seem to scare up relevant examples, but I figure some of my friends more up on quaff-and-comment mode can help me with that. Imbibing reviewers are liable to say anything. It’s less formulaic. Plus, some previously guarded opinion may slip out. In vino veritas, right? The relevance of this to me is to ask a related question: Can it be said, in the same vein, I think the phrase is “drunk reviewing.” Goodreaders I’ve seen tipple and type often have great success connecting to an audience. I can’t seem to scare up relevant examples, but I figure some of my friends more up on quaff-and-comment mode can help me with that. Imbibing reviewers are liable to say anything. It’s less formulaic. Plus, some previously guarded opinion may slip out. In vino veritas, right? The relevance of this to me is to ask a related question: Can it be said, in the same vein, “In Nyquil, naked truth?” Or if not naked truth, inanity? Or could it be neuroticism? The following is more or less verbatim from last night’s stream-of-semi-consciousness. It may not be the best idea to analgize and analyze or medicate and encapsulate, but sadly enough, it’s all I’ve got. [Me, in bed; tossing, turning, stealing covers, kicking covers off, with inner voice blathering.] “This is a dream, right? Well, yeah, but it seems real enough. Besides, if I was really deep in REM sleep, would I be capable of asking the question? Along similar lines, would I know to ask whether surreality is a word? What about metadream? Oh hell, let’s just go with it. I wonder who I’m meant to be in this quasimetasurreality? All I’m getting is darkness, a vague discomfort, and a closed-in feeling like I’m at the bottom of a well gone dry. Ahh, OK, now I get it. I’m a Murakami character. Does that mean Jay Rubin had a hand in making me? Jeez! [Flailing back and forth fitfully.] Oh well, it’s not like I have a choice at this point. They might as well shove me into the friggin’ labyrinth, or waterless well, or wherever it is these internal struggles are meant to play out. Do I at least have a proximate cause for my concerns? A missing cat? A missing wife? Whatever it is, I seem less panicked than I might. I guess I’m not much of a man of action. [A slight adjustment of the pillow does little to suggest otherwise.] I’m nondescript (that’s a shoe that fits), kind of an every man, and will need to go deep down within myself to figure out anything interesting. Now I get why I’m in a well. Even a double-shot of Nyquil wouldn’t obscure a symbol that obvious. So now that I’m the protagonist, Mr. Wind-Up Bird, I should be visited by those two psychic sisters. One was like a succubus, but this being a dream of a dream would, I imagine, make her pretty severely pixelated. And what about that wise-beyond-her-years, morbid-beyond-her-aspect teenage girl? She’s supposed to help clarify my odd behavior for me if I’m not mistaken. For that matter, the old soldier who told such a gruesome war story and seems to have so little to live for is also meant to sort me out. Then there are those mother and son mind healers who recognize my latent powers to do the same. Why not. . . it’s a dream, remember? Supernatural or not, it’s all good. And it’s all confusing. But let’s think. I’m down here in my well with plenty of time to mull things over. It’s catharsis time, right? It’s about me, it’s about collective Japanese memories, it’s about humankind, it’s. . . bzzzZZZZZZ. . . 5:45. Quick, copy and paste to the temporal lobes. I really think this time I’m on the verge of something profound. Now let’s see what, if any of this, holds up past the shower.” As usual, none of it did pass the shower test. However, the long, half-awake dream did remind me of the feeling I got as the reader, and the connection I felt for the character. He and I may not have crossed the threshold into greater insight or consciousness, but we did catch a glimpse of the gateway. Credit to Murakami for that.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Garima

    "Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different.” Few pages into The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and this is the very first thought that struck me. If you haven’t read Murakami before, then this book presents itself as a perfect example of what constitutes this great story-teller style. His world would be completely different from that of yours or what you can imagine. It doesn’t know any boundaries between real and surreal, and it might propel you to "Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different.” Few pages into The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and this is the very first thought that struck me. If you haven’t read Murakami before, then this book presents itself as a perfect example of what constitutes this great story-teller style. His world would be completely different from that of yours or what you can imagine. It doesn’t know any boundaries between real and surreal, and it might propel you to follow him into that world by winding-up your spring..Creaaak. Before starting with this book, I overheard a little conversation between three readers: “So, what are your thoughts about the latest Murakami offering?” Independent on Sunday said,” Oh Murakami! He weaves these textured layers of reality into a short-silk garment of deceptive beauty. How on earth he manages to make Poetry while writing of contemporary life and emotions? I am weak-kneed with admiration”. Daily Telegraph responded,” True, True! His works are deeply philosophical and teasingly perplexing. It is impossible to put it down.” Finally, New York Times declared,” You know, critics have variously likened him to Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Don DeLillo, Philip K. Dick, Bret Easton Ellis and Thomas Pynchon- a roster so ill assorted as to suggest Murakami may in fact be original.” So basically, he’s AweSome!! The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a chronicle (not in any particular order) of Mr. Wind-up Bird, i.e Toru Okada, the Protagonist. An ordinary day, in the ordinary life of an ordinary man took a blind turn (for better or for worse) when his Cat gone missing followed by various incomprehensible events that started to define his own existence in his own little world and the world around him. It was like, as if God himself got tired of looking at the most dull and monotonous life of this good-for-nothing man and thought of having some fun at Toru’s expense and threw one twist after another to make him move his lazy ass to Save his World. It’s a long book, apparently his longest till 1Q84 came and it owes its length to various intriguing themes that Murakami employs in his narrative which consists of strange phone calls from even stranger people, WWII reminisces by a veteran soldier, long letters by an adolescent girl ( it is also one of my favorite part of the book and Murakami’s sheer brilliance is reflected by way he narrates a 16 year old girl’s Point of Views) and various other stories told by random characters whose entry and exit in Toru’s life is also governed by randomness. Oh and of course! There is SEX, loads of it. Everyone is having sex with everyone but not in the actual sense of that word. It’s not there to derive some kind of pleasure. In fact, it’s for everything but pleasure. There is a naked woman at turn of every alternative chapter but it doesn’t evoke any ooh or aah feeling. There is no 50 shades going on here *ewwww*. I reckon the only possibility why any guy would like to be in Toru Okada’s place is just because of the nakedness around him, ahem. And I couldn’t help to think about this latest video that has recently gone viral: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7... Hehe…hmmm. Here, a kind of fundamental importance is being given to a dry well, a well for Toru’s thoughts, thoughts which were buried in some deep and dark area of his being and needed some equally deep and dark place to reveal them. It’s a place where he can exercise his own powers to answer myriad mysteries engulfing his life followed by various meta-physical and supernatural episodes. Most of the things are open to interpretation as Murakami would only reveal as much as he feels the need of. He’ll tell a 20 page story just to pick a small single ingredient from there to carry on his plot or to integrate the various points he scattered here and there in the whole narrative. It has happened before and it might happen every time I read any of his books that I need some time alone to mull over everything I read in order to connect the dots, whether metaphorical or literal to make some sense (no matter how lurid it is) of what exactly he is trying to imply. He has his own set of props that will emerge in possibly most of his novels but having a different act to play every time as the story demands. Now how one takes it as a reader is completely an individualistic stand. Either you’ll find it redundant or be happy to be surrounded by familiar buddies. I belong to the latter group. So one better make sure to ask the right questions or don’t ask at all as sometimes the real essence of beauty lies in how much it conceals rather than how much it reveals. I finished this book yesterday and today I got a mail from an online book store recommending me some books. Here’s is a screen shot of the same: Talk about co-incidents ;-)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    "In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment." A missing cat. A strange bird-call. An abandoned house. An observant teenager. Twin clairvoyants. War stories. Strange phone calls. Spiteful brother-in-law. A dry well. A separated couple. A bottle of Cutty Sark. A baseball bat. Recurring dreams. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Wait, what is this about? Oh! Yeah, another Murakami book. "Goodbye, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. See you again sometime.” "In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment." A missing cat. A strange bird-call. An abandoned house. An observant teenager. Twin clairvoyants. War stories. Strange phone calls. Spiteful brother-in-law. A dry well. A separated couple. A bottle of Cutty Sark. A baseball bat. Recurring dreams. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Wait, what is this about? Oh! Yeah, another Murakami book. "Goodbye, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. See you again sometime.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    5/5stars | Favorite Standalones Reread: December 2017 - January 2018 I need a little bit to organize my thoughts but just know that yes this is still my second favorite book of all times wow i'm still blown away Okay, so I honestly haven't reread my previous review because I just wanna say my own thoughts from THIS reading of it. Firstly, I feel like on my initial read I found Toru Okada to be a very disinterested, monotone, indecisive character who lets things happen to him rather than MAKES th 5/5stars | Favorite Standalones Reread: December 2017 - January 2018 I need a little bit to organize my thoughts but just know that yes this is still my second favorite book of all times wow i'm still blown away Okay, so I honestly haven't reread my previous review because I just wanna say my own thoughts from THIS reading of it. Firstly, I feel like on my initial read I found Toru Okada to be a very disinterested, monotone, indecisive character who lets things happen to him rather than MAKES things happen. But, on this read, I've realized this isn't correct. Toru's passion for his wife Kumiko is honestly astounding, and, at points, makes him seem a little delusional and crazy. Even after everything that happens between them throughout this novel, he is still so unwaveringly loyal to her - its honestly kind of beautiful. Another character I discovered a new found love and respect for is Cinnamon! I personally REALLY don't care for Nutmeg, I find her to be just a second, unnecessary Malta and I find her and her stories really very boring and annoying. So I think in my first read through I just ignored Cinnamon because of his mom, but he is THE best character in this book (besides Mackerel of course). He is just so complex and interesting and a cutiepie who definitely has a crush on Toru. I loved him. Another thing that just could not be ignored are the INSANE parallels between this and 1Q84 - the large novel, published years and years after this one is definitely supposed to be read alongside Wind Up Bird. I felt like everything that happened and every theory I've constructed can be linked back to that book because I'm almost positive they're supposed to take place in the same world. I was SHOCKED at how many things I've forgotten from this novel while I was reading 1Q84 like legit. There's not more more I can say without spoilers so I'm going to basically just list off my questions and theories and comments in a spoiler section: (view spoiler)[ - I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T NOTICE USHIKAWA IN THIS NOVEL WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE HE WAS IN THIS AND 1Q84?? tbh i probs know why lol its cause its kinda annoying and high school kate definitely skimmed over his long ranting pages of dialogue. BUT WOW I HAD A HEART ATTACK WHEN HE APPEARED I WAS LIKE NOOO NOT YOU WHY R U HERE it was so freaky Murakami was messing with me this entire book -I don't think May is real. Or, if she is I feel like she's Kumiko's Dhota. If she's not a dhota, I think she's a figment of Toru's imagination because of the fact that she never really interacts with anyone but Toru, is WAY too existential for such a young kid, and we never see her family or anyone she talks about. - is the "lump of death" May mentions (pg21) the black thing Wataya pulls out of Creta? Or is what he pulls out a chrysalis like from 1Q84? but one that hadn't finished growing? or is it the same "something" Nutmeg can pull out of people? is it a part of the person's soul? - Mr. Honda's "present" wasn't the empty box - it was meeting Mamiya and hearing his story -1Q84 and WUB are set in the same work (because of the dreamwalking, Ushikawa, the moons etc etc) OR is the dream world of the WUB the "Q" world Tengo and Aomame find themselves in after they've gone over the bridge? -The boy with the heart is obviously Cinnamon -How do you hear the WUB? Do you need the mark? Do you need to do something specific? Be someone specific? Or do you just need the ability to be able to dreamwalk? - I believe the WUB is a creature that is ONLY in the dream world, which is why only certain people, normally those who have access to the dreamworld, can hear its call - Wataya WANTS to hear WUB/wants the dreamwalking power which is why he was obsessed with Toru (hide spoiler)] First Read March 2016 I honestly have no idea how I am going to formulate a coherent review for this book. This story was some next level literature, and it is 100% right next to "Three Souls" on my favorite books list. I officially want to read everything Murakami has ever written. It's now my goal. In this novel we follow a thirty year old man named Toru Okada, dubbed "Mr. Wind-Up Bird." The story begins on a day where his wife frantically tells him he needs to find their cat who has gone missing. This seemingly small task outlines the rest of Toru's insane journey, where he meets strange psychic women named Malta and Creta, a mother-son duo who go by the names Cinnamon and Nutmeg, a sixteen year old girl named May and has multiple run-ins with his wife's brother Noboru Wataya. This book is an adventure of seemingly trivial events that slowly ravel together and to reveal one of the most complex, captivating stories I've ever read. It has some of the most beautiful language I've ever seen in a book - each word seems to be carefully thought out and every sentence is completely necessary - and it makes the reader feel like they're in a dream while reading. Every single character was so incredibly fleshed out, even the mysterious one's we knew little about, and the reader was enthralled by each and every new person who was introduced. I adored every element of this book. Although it is over 600 pages, I flew through it like it was nothing, and enjoyed every moment of it. Even when character told their own tales that seemed to have nothing to do with anything, I found myself flipping back through the pages trying to find tiny sentences of description or a single name that would be mentioned later on. I LOVED the postmodern themes. After taking my class on postmodernism, I have discovered that I adore the psychological and intriguing elements it brings into a story - and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a dictionary definition of postmodernism. (it actually had a direct allusion to "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe) I loved the mystery of this story, not knowing where it would go, and having no idea how it would end was exactly what made me continue reading. This book has one of the most disgusting things I have ever read in my entire life (thank you Murakami for the nightmares!), but honestly I'm okay with that because even though it was disgusting, it was written BEAUTIFULLY. It had some of the most vivid descriptions I've ever read, and it was wonderful. I also loved how it didn't gloss over anything - it was honestly incredibly disturbing sometimes what characters would do or say, but it was a wonderfully refreshing thing to read after so much censorship found in today's novels. I definitely recommend this to people who enjoy slightly disturbing books. This story is definitely not for younger readers, or anyone faint of heart. There is a lot of sexually explicit material, as well as extremely graphic violence. And if you read this, you DEFINITELY want to have sticky tabs with you to mark passages! My copy is now filled with tabs and dog-eared pages! spoilers section (view spoiler)[ I honestly can't get over how cool this book was. Although I was a bit confused with the whole dream-walking type thing that happened, it was intriguing how it was so necessary to move along the story which would have been a totally realistic book without that aspect put into it. The cat was actually the best. I LOVED how this entire book happened and sort of followed the adventure of a plain tabby cat and how the cat paralleled what was happening between Toru and Kumiko. I marked several spots about little Mackerel: " 'I want you to understand one thing,' said Kumiko. 'That cat is very important to me. Or should I say to US. We found it the week after we got married. Together.' " (page 47) "As before, there was no sign of anyone in the area. All that moved was a large brown cat, slowly making its way across the vacant lot, oblivious to me." (page 336) "One thing was sure: things had started to move. I told myself this as I walked home clutching my bag of groceries. Now all I had to do was hold on tight to keep from being knocked off. If I could do that, I would probably end up somewhere - somewhere different from where I was now, at least. My premonition was not mistaken. When I got home, the cat came out to freet me. Just as I opened the front door, he let out a loud meow as if he had been waiting all day and came up to me, bent-tip tail held high. It was Noboru Wataya, missing now for almost a year. I set the bag of groceries down and scooped him up into my arms." (page 372) " (Kumiko's letter) Take good care of the cat. I can't tell you how happy I am that he is back. You say his name is Mackerel? I like that. He was always a symbol of something that grew up between us. We should not have lost him when we did." (page 603) (hide spoiler)]

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