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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1997)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,189225207 (4.22)2 / 693
  1. 102
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  2. 61
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  3. 40
    Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  4. 30
    Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (Alialibobali)
  5. 20
    A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (DeDeNoel)
    DeDeNoel: Both this and Wind-Up Bird are about a man dealing with odd circumstances and going through a change. If you like the way Murakami writes, you probably will enjoy Mark Haddon's writing.
  6. 20
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (ainsleytewce)
  7. 10
    The Magus by John Fowles (WoodsieGirl)
  8. 10
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (andomck)
    andomck: Both books, besides having science fiction/magical realism elements, discuss bloody episodes of WWII from the point of view of everyday people.
  9. 10
    Oh!: A mystery of 'mono no aware' by Todd Shimoda (Magus_Manders)
  10. 10
    The Sea Came in at Midnight by Steve Erickson (alzo)
  11. 00
    Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis (Sarasamsara)
  12. 00
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
  13. 00
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (eromsted)
  14. 11
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (alzo)
  15. 00
    How the Hula Girl Sings by Joe Meno (andomck)
  16. 00
    The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (-Eva-)
  17. 01
    The Interpreter by Suki Kim (booklove2)
    booklove2: Both books involve a displaced from the world character searching for clues to solve mysteries.
  18. 12
    The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren (andomck)

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English (198)  Dutch (6)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (225)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
As I said to a friend recently, "Murakami is weird, and I love it!" There are so many bits and pieces running through The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and a good 400 or so pages are spent wondering how they all fit together. And somehow, it all comes together and is almost nearly explained. Almost.

While understanding the references to Kafka, I see more Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, than Kafka. Kafka is grim and cruel, with no brightness or hope. Allende, Marquez, and Murakami are less grim and lighter.

Although The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has its own share of cruelty, usually contained within the stories of Lieutenant Mamiya, who opens up and recounts his time with the Japanese Army during the second Sino-Japanese War between China and Imperialist Japan. Mamiya was witness to some brutal things and experienced POW camp in Soviet Russia under a man called "Boris the Skinkiller."

There's also the story told by businesswoman Nutmeg Akasaka about the Japanese Army's killing of zoo animals at the zoo where her father is the vet.

What these stories have to do with the protagonist, Toru Okada, is, at best, obtuse. There are similarities in the details within the stories and what's happening to Toru. But are they really happening to Toru?

And here we get to the crux of Murakami's work, the blurring of the lines between what's real and what might not be. Toru moves between realities looking for the connections to all the weird events going on in his life. Which reality is his? Are they all? Or is he yet another person who's gone off his nutter because he left his job, the cat ran away and his wife disappeared one day?

While a bit dense to read, there is a payoff. This is not to say that Murakami ties everything up in a nice bundle and presents it as a complete answer. But for fans of magical realism/surrealism, this book nearly completely satisfies. ( )
  AuntieClio | Sep 16, 2014 |
I’ve been putting off reading this book for awhile. Usually, any book that is over 300 pages puts me off. I had a bad experience reading Stephen King’s “IT” when I was a high school student. The experience made me extremely suspicious of books that start well and go on for a long time. [As a writer, my suspicion is that the author started writing the book without any clear sense where they were going…thus, they tend to wander without any satisfying conclusion.]

The book is strange -- even by Haruki Murakami standards.

For me, the elements that make Murakami’s stories work are the main characters -- the not-so-odd, kind of normal, but the end odd, slightly aloof characters that occupy the stable center of a bizarre world. They make his books oh-so plausible.

I like what one reviewer said on Goodreads about Murkami, “Basically, he’s awesome.”

Basically? Basically yes. So what else is there to write?

I read the first chapter of the book as a short story in “The Elephant Vanishes” and it works really well as a short story -- a bizarre adventure into the back alley of a neighborhood that has deep, dark secrets. If you don’t want to tackle the 600 page beast, at the very least read the short story.

The book was a revelation -- perhaps because it’s surrealism seems so realistic. Is it possible that something surrealistic can be so very realistic? It’s not so much that Murakami is able to make the surrealistic realistic, but rather that he exposes the lunacy of what we take as the normal and everyday.

The scenes depicting the brutality of the second World War struck an especially intense cord with me. In some ways, the intense violence of the war and the comfortable world of 1990s Japan couldn’t be further apart -- but they are connected by the absurdities that proliferate in both.

In many ways -- ways I cannot even begin to put into words -- these absurdities are the most accurate descriptions of evil I have come across.

Again, back to the main character -- he is the perfect main character, strange but practical and level-headed, he is open to the bizarre but also wants to make things concrete. He is me! Or at least, I think he is me.

Does it all tie together in the end? Of course it does. The book kind of ends in Nagasaki. And the author speaking through the main character asks, “Why Nagasaki?”

Indeed, why Nagasaki? Because I’m from Nagasaki, Mr. Wind Up Bird. It’s all connected in the end. Even this review. ( )
1 vote DanielClausen | Sep 7, 2014 |
Jag hade höga förväntningar och blev ganska besviken. Intrigen kändes för mig ganska konstlad och ägnad att mystifiera, lite som TV-serierna "Lost" och "Twin Peaks". De många anekdoterna gav mig störst behållning. Språket OK, men inte märkvärdigt. ( )
  Brior | Aug 28, 2014 |
Haruki Murakami always delivers, or as the Chicago Tribune puts it "Murakami is a genius."The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles is one of the finest novels that I've read in years. I'm always eager to enter that foreign-yet-comfortable, simple-but-complex world that Murakami creates. This story begins when a man realizes that his wife's cat is missing. Soon, he realizes that it isn't just the cat that is missing ... now it is his wife ... and finally it's almost everything familiar in his life. Or could it be that he's simply looking at the familiar from new perspectives, thanks to a very neighborly sixteen-year-old girl, an aging war veteran, and a prostitute? Like the author's previous book, A Wild Sheep Chase, this novel is somewhat of a detective story, but what our main character is searching for seems to be constantly changing. This book is a fine find. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 27, 2014 |
I have been in a dream for the past two weeks, reading this book. I love the writing style of Murakami, and he really is a genius. It is at times a challenging read, as we meet an extraordinary set of (mostly women) cast of characters, and as reality conflates and blurs and we are no longer sure if we are in a dream, hallucination, an emotion, or reality. The book takes on a bit of noir as we climb with Toru to the bottom of a dry well, racing down dark passages, aided by a Hollow Man.

I loved this book and the experience of reading it. It really is that, an experience. I dunno if it is for everybody, at times it takes a little work and can maybe even be uncomfortable--but for those of us that enjoy that work, much MUCH is to be gained. ( )
  kbullfrog | Jun 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
By the book's midway point, the novelist-juggler has tossed so many balls into the air that he inevitably misses a few on the way down. Visionary artists aren't always neat: who reads Kafka for his tight construction? In ''The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle'' Murakami has written a bold and generous book, and one that would have lost a great deal by being tidied up.
Mr. Murakami seems to have tried to write a book with the esthetic heft and vision of, say, Don DeLillo's ''Underworld'' or Salman Rushdie's ''The Moor's Last Sigh,'' he is only intermittently successful. ''Wind-Up Bird'' has some powerful scenes of antic comedy and some shattering scenes of historical power, but such moments do not add up to a satisfying, fully fashioned novel. In trying to depict a fragmented, chaotic and ultimately unknowable world, Mr. Murakami has written a fragmentary and chaotic book.

» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haughton, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along to and FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.
He normally stayed shut up in the small office he had there, but every now and then he would leave the door ajar, and I was able to observe him at work--not without a certain guilty sense of invading someone’s privacy. He and his computer seemed to be moving together in an almost erotic union. After a burst of strokes on the keyboard, he would gaze at the screen, his mouth twisted in apparent dissatisfaction or curled with the suggestion of a smile. Sometimes he seemed deep in thought as he touched one key, then another, then another; and sometimes he ran his fingers over the keys with all the energy of a pianist playing a Liszt etude. As he engaged in silent conversation with his machine, he seemed to be peering through the screen of his monitor into another world, with which he shared a special intimacy. I couldn’t help but feel that reality resided for him not so much in the earthly world but in his subterranean labyrinth.
. . . a person's destiny is something you look back at after it's past, not something you see in advance.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine with Volume 1 or 2 of the 2-volume edition.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679775439, Paperback)

Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician.

Haruki Murakami is a master of subtly disturbing prose. Mundane events throb with menace, while the bizarre is accepted without comment. Meaning always seems to be just out of reach, for the reader as well as for the characters, yet one is drawn inexorably into a mystery that may have no solution. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an extended meditation on themes that appear throughout Murakami's earlier work. The tropes of popular culture, movies, music, detective stories, combine to create a work that explores both the surface and the hidden depths of Japanese society at the end of the 20th century.

If it were possible to isolate one theme in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, that theme would be responsibility. The atrocities committed by the Japanese army in China keep rising to the surface like a repressed memory, and Toru Okada himself is compelled by events to take responsibility for his actions and struggle with his essentially passive nature. If Toru is supposed to be a Japanese Everyman, steeped as he is in Western popular culture and ignorant of the secret history of his own nation, this novel paints a bleak picture. Like the winding up of the titular bird, Murakami slowly twists the gossamer threads of his story into something of considerable weight. --Simon Leake

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Having quit his job, Toru Okada is enjoying a pleasant stint as a "house husband", listening to music and arranging the dry cleaning and doing the cooking - until his cat goes missing, his wife becomes distant and begins acting strangely, and he starts meeting enigmatic people with fantastic life stories. They involve him in a world of psychics, shared dreams, out-of-body experiences, and shaman-like powers, and tell him stories from Japan's war in Manchuria, about espionage on the border with Mongolia, the battle of Nomonhan, the killing of the animals in Hsin-ching's zoo, and the fate of Japanese prisoners-of-war in the Soviet camps in Siberia.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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