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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by…

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (original 1995; edition 1998)

by Haruki Murakami (Author), Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,533297246 (4.2)4 / 930
Title:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
Authors:Haruki Murakami (Author)
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator)
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: 1st Vintage International Ed, 607 pages
Collections:Your library, To read (inactive)

Work details

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Author) (1995)

  1. 142
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (derelicious)
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    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.
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    booklove2: Both books involve a displaced from the world character searching for clues to solve mysteries.

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English (265)  Dutch (8)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (297)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
By the last few chapters I was worried that this was going to have a super unsatisfying ending, but it actually didn't end up that way. I liked this one a lot! ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
The first pages of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are filled with quotes from critics: “Mesmerizing,” “Compelling,” “Bold and generous,” the list goes on and on like posters at the box office of a Broadway play. I'm not sure I would have finished this novel if I hadn't known the level of critical acclaim it has received. Haruki Murakami breaks so many rules, it feels as if halfway through a football game the team owners decided to drop all controls and allow the players to have a street brawl. Yet once I made the effort it takes to read this novel, I found the accolades were justified. It's not a book to get lost in. It's a book to learn from, to appreciate for its unique qualities and for the way these qualities might influence other writers.

This is the story of Toru Okada, a young Japanese husband who loses both his cat and his wife. He seems to have a similar response to both those losses, going out in search of the cat while also maintaining a concern for his missing wife. This is the first taste of an aspect of this story that is unusual. People care about each other, but not with a great deal of emotion. Throughout the novel we pull for Okada to find his wife and reconcile with her, but it is more about reestablishing order than it is about love. A Newsday critic said this book presents “A vision no American novelist could have invented...” As a reader, I also have a very American perspective, which may be why I find this a bit strange.

Okada's wife, Kumiko, has a brother, Noburu Wataya, who is a prominent politician and someone involved with Kumiko's disappearance. He is an excellent speaker and very popular, but also quite corrupt. He is Toru's nemesis throughout the story. Noburu Wataya is also the name of the cat, which is an attempt at irony on the part of Kumiko and Toru.

Another interesting character is May Kasahara, a young, school age girl, whom Toru meets while searching for his cat. She calls him “Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” because she has trouble remembering his real name. The name comes from a story he tells her about a bird whose call sounds like the winding of a giant spring. May tells Toru things like, “You might think you made a new world or a new self, but your old self is always gonna be there, just below the surface and if something happens, it'll stick its head out and say. 'Hi.'” May is a foil for Toru's odd thoughts.

Two other important characters are the sisters, Malta and Creta Kano. Malta is the first of the two to contact Okada, who has been told in a phone conversation with Kumiko that he needs to speak with her. They meet and have a very odd conversation where he learns about Creta. Later he has an erotic dream with Creta in it and when he meets her she knows of the dream and says, “I am a prostitute. I used to be a prostitute of the flesh, but now I am a prostitute of the mind. Things pass through me.” The book is filled with strange, seemingly disconnected events and people, who come together in odd ways.

In the latter part of the novel, the story branches off to tell about the Japanese control over Manchuria beginning in 1931 and the joint Mongolian-Soviet resistance. These are some of the most violent, but authentic parts of the book. These sections lack the dreamlike qualities of the rest of the novel, but they include people and incidents that are interconnected with the rest of the story.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul, White Horse Regressions, Hopatcong Vision Quest, and Under a Warped Cross. ( )
  SteveLindahl | Jun 17, 2019 |
Mesmerizing! I couldn't put it down. ( )
  Jimena15 | May 19, 2019 |
Non è facile recensire un libro di 800 pagine di Murakami perché succedono talmente tante cose che quando finisci ti sembra di aver interamente vissuto la vita di qualcun altro.
Questo libro, che ho amato profondamente, ci trasporta nel viaggio dalla incolore vita quotidiana di Okada Toru al vortice di eventi che lo travolgeranno dopo la scomparsa del suo gatto ed una strana telefonata da una donna sconosciuta.
Come nella maggior parte dei romanzi di Murakami, ad un certo punto, reale e surreale si alternano e si fondo nella ricerca di qualcosa che altro non è che se stessi. E’ così che un pozzo abbandonato diventa un canale di passaggio fra dimensioni spazio-temporali differenti, ed è così che strani personaggi compaiono e scompaiono nella vita di Okada Toru aiutandolo nella sua ricerca.
Ok sono di parte perché mi piacciono molto i libri di Murakami, ma penso che questo sia una perla nella sua bibliografia che va gustata pagina dopo pagina, magari soffermandosi su alcuni passaggi, sulle metafore che in un modo o nell’altro ognuno può trovare nella sua vita: dolore, serenità, solitudine, inadeguatezza, forza, determinazione…
( )
  Feseven78 | Apr 17, 2019 |
After reading about 200 pages of this novel, I no longer wanted to know more about what happened to the characters. The pacing is slow and found the narrator to be not reliable. There is a marriage breakdown and the narrator seemed non-plused by this and I did not want to figure it all out. so, I returned the book to the library. ( )
  vpfluke | Feb 24, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (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 (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Murakami, HarukiAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gall,JohnCover designersecondary authorsome 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 with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
«Ah, così lei ama la letteratura! – mi avrebbero detto, – anch'io. Da giovane ho letto parecchio». Per loro la letteratura era qualcosa che si leggeva da giovani. Come in primavera si colgono le fragole, e in autunno si vendemmia.
«Io ho solo sedici anni, e il mondo non lo conosco ancora bene, ma una cosa sola posso affermare con sicurezza: se io sono pessimista, un adulto che non lo sia, in questo mondo, è proprio un cretino».
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Toru Okada lever et yderst stilfærdigt liv med sin kone Kumiko i Japan. Han har sagt sit arbejde op og går egentlig bare hjemme og passer kat. Toru Okadas kone arbejder som redaktør på et forlag og den ene dag følger hurtigt den anden.

Lige indtil alting ændrer sig. I "Trækopfuglens krønike" kan du læse, hvordan alting falder sammen om ørene på Toru Okada, da katten og herefter konen forsvinder sporløst. Og hertil hvordan det hele bliver endnu mere forvirrende, da Toru Okada modtager mystiske opkald af mindst så mystiske mennesker.
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:47 -0400)

(see all 5 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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