The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

Book - 1997
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Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat.  Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo.  As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria. Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace,The Wind-Up Bird Chronicleis a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1997.
ISBN: 9780679446699
Characteristics: 611 p. ;,24 cm.


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daymakerdave May 10, 2011

10 thumbs up! If you can, I suggest reading it at the bottom of a deep well. Mr. Murakami, I dig your stuff!!

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May 22, 2018

Although there were interesting anecdotes that held my attention, I started skimming over pages and pages of trivial, mind-numbing details, reading just the first sentence of each paragraph until something caught my attention again.

The only thing that kept me going to the end was the anticipation of a big payoff, which the glowing reviews seemed to offer. No such luck. Hero finally "battles" some nebulous (unexplained) force to rescue his beloved wife. The end. The intriguing stories of all the auxiliary characters were by far more interesting than anything that happened to our passive "hero." I was hoping for a central thread that tied all of those various stories together, but never found one.

I would say, if you were satisfied with the ending of the TV series "Lost," then you might enjoy reading about a lot of crazy stuff that ultimates goes nowhere.

May 18, 2018

I was very disappointed by this. Like a lot of Murakami’s work, it’s weird and surrealistic; but it’s also a bit lurid and trashy, full of overwrought similes (“While I was ogling the garden, the pigeon on the aerial… looked like a clerk stamping numbers on a stack of bills, one after another”) and characters who tell their entire life-story for no reason while the narrator does nothing in the face of an unfolding tragedy (why doesn't he call the police when he suspects foul play?). I continued reading only because I wanted to find out how it ended. The story does fall together somewhat around the middle, but by then I'd pretty much given up on anything really interesting happening. Although it takes place in the same strange dream-world as Murakami's other works that I've read (and shares a lot of their elements); I generally found it just straining too hard. If you're reading Murakami for the first time, try a different book.

Apr 12, 2017

In the words of one of his characters, Murakami here is "engaged in a serious search for the meaning of his own existence." The dreamlike imagery and inconsistent grounding in basic reality is very mysterious, challenging, and even a bit unsatisfying. Yet, as with the stylized gestural language of Noh Theater, or the unstated inferences and juxtapositions of Haiku, Murakami's text will move you in unexpected and subterranean ways, if you allow. A fellow reader tells me images from this book still come vividly back to him years afterwards...

Feb 06, 2017

Believe the hype! This was the first Murakami book I have read, and I am converted as a fan. One of the best books I have read in the last year - Murakami is clearly talented and prolific for good reason. So glad I finally ponied up for this one.

Sep 08, 2016

Haruki Murakami is one of, if not the most highly regarded novelist in Japan for a reason: his grasp on magical reality is unparalleled. The story of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle follows a man named Toru Okada who searches for his wife’s missing cat, and along the way meets some interesting characters. The plot of the story really isn’t much to focus on when reading this book (or rather, the three books in this volume) – the feeling, and meaning behind the words Murakami writes are breathtaking to say the least. It is a novel about a man, a cat, his wife, the buried secrets of WWII in Manchuria, and what it means to love, die, hate, and find reason to be alive. - @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

PimaLib_JudyM Jun 03, 2016

There was a lot of head scratching in my book group about this particular book. It was dreamlike, and I was never really certain what was real. That was actually not a bad thing as I found myself pondering the meaning and symbolism for many days after reading it. That being said, as a heads up, it is pretty graphically violent at times, and I could have lived without some of the description. Despite that, I found it the most intriguing book I read last year.

Apr 26, 2016

Third favorite Murakami book, really enjoyed it all the way through.

Mar 23, 2016

This is my favorite Haruki Murakami novel! I would highly recommend it.

Jan 19, 2016

The tone is informal/ talkative, given from the point of view of the protagonist, a naive man in his 30s. Lots of unusual things happen, some connected, but mostly disconnected. The story starts all slowly coming together about halfway through, and gets more intense and suspenseful until the end, though there are several loose ends. Whether these loose ends are built-in or a by-product of this edition is not clear: it would be in keeping with 'postmodern' literary narrative techniques, but also its much shorter than the original: Rubin, the translator submitted two versions: a 900 page complete translation, and a 600 page version that he was asked for by the English language publisher (Murakami is so famous that one wonders why they jsut didn't publish the whole thing).

Mar 28, 2015

Not my favourite Murakami book, but still pretty entertaining. The protagonist has to wade through a sea of strange experiences, odd characters and his own thoughts to solve the mystery of his missing wife (and yes, there is a cat in this story).

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Jun 28, 2015

Pnpclear thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Feb 11, 2015

It was not one of those strong, impulsive feelings that can hit two people like an electric shock when they first meet, but something quieter and gentler, like two tiny lights traveling in tandem through a vast darkness and drawing imperceptibly closer to each other as they go. As our meetings grew more frequent, I felt not so much that I had met someone new as that I had chanced upon a dear old friend. p.223


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