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The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (original 1995; edition 1999)

by Haruki Murakami

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13,466275161 (4.21)3 / 802
Title:The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (1999), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:General Fiction

Work details

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

Recently added byLitaVore, Rena37, corleycorrea, txorig, private library, Bella42, cooch45
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English (244)  Dutch (8)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (276)
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
A book that keeps the reader off balance wondering where the story's going to go. The ending vague but still satisfying and the themes are constant through the entire work. ( )
  charlie68 | Apr 11, 2017 |
While not one of my top three Murakami picks, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle scratched at my soul like very few books can. I recommend without hesitation. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
The story can get quite baffling at times. You have to suspend disbelief to understand why the protagonist has to go down into the well to find his wife. But this is Haruki Murakami for you. ( )
  siok | Dec 26, 2016 |
Toru Okada is searching for a lot of things. As the hapless protagonist of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami’s sprawling and often magnificent mess of a novel, the unemployed Toru must first find his missing cat—which his wife Kumiko regards as a symbol of the their gradually failing marriage—and then Kumiko herself, who disappears one morning without warning. Along the way, Toru’s quest introduces him to a variety of unusual characters—a wise-beyond-her-years teenage neighbor, two sisters with apparent psychic abilities, a retired war veteran with a dark history, the creepy assistant of his evil brother-in-law, a mother and son team with unusual tastes and talents—and bizarre situations, including a considerable amount of time spent at the bottom of a deep, dark, dry well where his dreams become indistinguishable from his reality. What Toru must endure and discover about himself in the effort to find Kumiko and reestablish their previous life constitutes the ostensible plot of the book.

I say “ostensible” because I actually find it difficult to summarize this novel in a tidy fashion. It certainly is about Toru’s search for Kumiko, but it is also about so much more. Most notably, the story involves the search for identity and purpose, how personal histories are tied to those of entire countries, and how those individuals (and countries) must cope with pain and reconcile the horrors of the past. The story-telling is frequently brilliant and always engaging, even if it is highly non-linear and a little disjoint at times. Murakami appears to have pulled out all of the literary stops in crafting this novel; it is replete with allusions, symbols (such as the well and the wind-up bird of the title, for instance), magic realism elements, multiple plot lines told in myriad styles, and characters who disappear and reappear at will. He has also provided the reader with an ending that is mildly disappointing in that it does not bring all of threads of the story to a full conclusion. Still, I really enjoyed the several days I spent immersed in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The author’s gift for crafting an imaginative tale with fully developed characters that the reader comes to care deeply about is remarkable and easily overcomes any shortcomings the rest of the book might have. ( )
  browner56 | Dec 17, 2016 |
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a wildly imaginative tale straddling the known and apparent world and a shadow world where strange, malevolent and sometimes inexplicable forces are at work. On its face, the tale concerns a jilted, cuckolded husband whose cat and then his wife disappear. Trying to understand and regain her, he encounters a series of very odd women, some of whom he sleeps with. His attempt to reconnect with his wife is punctuated by long stories of the pre-World War II occupation of Manchuria related in part by one of the strange women and in part by an old soldier of the war. Much of the book is spent in the bottom of a literal well.

It is a nonlinear tale, a pastiche of news accounts, real-time narrative, old war stories, letters, and personal histories. A number of disparate themes present themselves throughout: fate, water, birds, baseball, skin, men without faces. None is really tied up in a neat way; unfinished threads hang from this book’s pages. While many of the individual war stories would themselves make fine stand alone narratives full of doomed and evil men and driven by strong narrative force, the tale of the main character’s search for his wife is far more slack.

What drives this slackness is the fact that the main narrator, the husband, is by far and away the least interesting character in the novel. Females full of character and drive and ambition surround and dote on him, but he is completely acted upon rather than acting as an agent himself. He largely obeys their direction. We learn a lot about the sandwiches he prepares and the cigarette varieties he does not smoke. When the going gets tough, he disappears down a well for days to think. I kept hoping he would disappear from the novel and let the more interesting characters have more room on the stage. ( )
  Bostonseanachie | Dec 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (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 editionscalculated
Haughton, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 5 descriptions

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