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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

Series: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (complete)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,191318248 (4.2)4 / 962
While searching for his missing wife, Japanese lawyer Toru Okada has strange experiences and meets strange characters. A woman wants phone sex, a man describes wartime torture, he finds himself at the bottom of a well. Part detective story, part philosophical meditation.
Title:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: 1st Vintage International Ed, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

  1. 152
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  2. 102
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (PaulBerauer)
  3. 50
    Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  4. 61
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (eromsted)
  5. 50
    Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (Alialibobali)
  6. 30
    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.
  7. 41
    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.
  8. 30
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (ainsleytewce)
  9. 31
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (alzo)
  10. 10
    The Magus by John Fowles (WoodsieGirl)
  11. 10
    The Sea Came in at Midnight by Steve Erickson (alzo)
  12. 10
    Oh!: A mystery of 'mono no aware' by Todd Shimoda (Magus_Manders)
  13. 00
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
  14. 00
    Phantastes by George MacDonald (charlie68)
  15. 00
    How the Hula Girl Sings by Joe Meno (andomck)
  16. 00
    Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis (Sarasamsara)
  17. 00
    Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist (aethercowboy)
  18. 00
    The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (-Eva-)
  19. 01
    The Interpreter by Suki Kim (booklove2)
    booklove2: Both books involve a displaced from the world character searching for clues to solve mysteries.

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English (284)  Dutch (8)  French (5)  Swedish (4)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (2)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (318)
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
This is become one of my favorite Murakami books. It's a long read but not a slow one. It's one of the few books I've read this year that completely absorbs you into it's narrative. I like books where several distinct, individual stories join each other and this book delivered on that. Someone with better knowledge of japanese history would probably be able to appreciate how war affects people of all kind in several ways. ( )
  TheWordReaper | May 27, 2020 |
The book was nice at first, but as it progressed, it became more and more incoherent. Such is to be expected from a book which deals little with this reality and much with the parallel, darker kind of worlds. Although, the finishing was quite adeptly laid out, and the way everything came to an end and the explanations which are given is not unsatisfying, that is for sure.
The scenarios are vivid, and the feelings the writer wanted to express came to life with a certain grace, so I'd give him that, but as the only book I read of Murakami was Norwegian Woods, I wasn't certainly expecting something like this.
4 out of 5 stars seems fair to me. ( )
  MahiShafiullah | May 25, 2020 |
If there is ever a book that you wish to have a dog-eared copy of, with passages underlined 3 times in bold pen, Murakami's works would be it.

Part of my problem trying to absorb (and this is an author you *really* do absorb...He words sink into your bones, into your very tissue...one does not simply read Murakami, if you do, you are not doing it right....)Murakami is that I often get so enthralled with a single passage that my mind must stay and linger there for a great deal of time. Never mind that I have tried to continue on reading, my mind is still caressing a single passage over and over....so in effect, I often find myself having to go back and re read parts of the book....

Now this book. Many questions are asked here...and in true Murakami style, he leaves much to you, the reader, to decide the answers...I often get aggravated with authors that do this, but not with Murakami. He always ends the books in the only way possible to end them!

Yes, he has the moon and the stars in this book. He has good and evil. He has mysterious women....and he has a very simple, ordinary man, faced with what he knows in his heart to be true, even though everyone and everything is saying different. I think this book had a beautiful, fairy tale ending to it. It was so suspenseful in parts (I usually don't get my heart pounding so fast as this book did!)....How far would you go for love? How much faith could you put in what your heart knows to be true, even though you mind tells you it is not? Finally, the question is asked is all you gain in the end worth the price you pay to stay true to your own self?

Of course there are many other aspects to this book...Far too many for me to try to explain or even understand, but this is what will stick with me from this book for a long time.....

as is true with any Murakami novel, you should travel this journey yourself to experience all he has to offer....and remember, you *must* stop and enjoy the scenery...the desalination of his books are only that...the end....the true magic lies in just getting there... ( )
  modioperandi | May 12, 2020 |
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an absolute blast regardless of how hard you want to think about it. There's a lot going on, and some of it is very complicated, but you don't need to follow everything to enjoy everything.

Of the three Haruki Murakami novels I've read, this one has the best characters, and it's not even close. Toru Okada is a wonderful man whom I love dearly. For almost the entire novel, the weirdest shit imaginable is happening to him, and he takes it all in stride, so nonchalant that it feels like he expected these things to happen. Whenever he has a wet dream and splooges in his pants, he wakes up and goes, "Terrific." When he wakes up to find a naked woman in his bed with no idea how she got there or where her clothes went, he shrugs his shoulders and offers her breakfast. He's chill as shit in such a wide variety of situations that you can't help but root for the guy.

Then we've got Okada's neighbor May Kasahara, an insane teenage girl that works for a wig-making company and thinks about death all the time. Everything she says and does is hilarious, but she's also a girl with a surprising amount of depth. Some of the best passages in the novel come from letters she writes to Okada when she's away (especially her letter about ducks), and her bizarre friendship with Okada is one of my favorite in any book I've ever read.

I'm also a huge fan of the Kano sisters, Malta and Creta, but explaining anything about who they are would spoil so much of what's fun about the book.

The plot is a ludicrously intricate one, and to say that there are loose ends at the end of the book would be an understatement. There are moments where Murakami has added a few too many elements to the narrative, and it begins to bog down. But it's easy to push through those passages when you've got Toru Okada and May Kasahara leading the way.

Murakami tropes are easy to identify. There's always something about a well, there's always super weird sex, and somebody always stands in a window completely naked with no clear explanation for why they're doing it. But in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the freshness of Murakami's characters more than makes up for any stale remnants of his previous novels.

I had a fantastic reading experience, and if you're only ever going to read one Murakami book, make it this one. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
I’m really not sure what to think of this novel. It’s only my third Murakami novel, and it’s just about as weird and disjointed as IQ84 was. And for some reason, not quite as magical seeming, for me.
At first I was really enjoying it, but the minutia really got to me there in the middle.... it was rather agonizing. SO MANY things were brought up and then left unfinished that I’m annoyed, and this really spoils my love of Murakami’s writing skills (when he’s not going off on a tangent about dinner or something unimportant to the plot). I don’t enjoy stories about war at all and tend to avoid them as they make me cringe from the violence and then sad, and this novel’s storyline about the war was long. The parts about the zoo and the animals had me nearly in tears, thinking about the poor animals.
Basically now I just feel Toru was a bland-Everyman, and I wish he had grown up and decided what to do with his life, or maybe just had completely left Kumiko and had ran off with the younger of the two omniscient sisters, Crete. He would have been much happier. When I got to the end of the novel, I felt bad for Kumiko because of what her brother, Noboru Wataya had done to her. But I’m not sure if I would have wanted her back after all of this, if I were him.
And don’t get me started on Noboru Wataya...! Did any of you guys happen to notice that the name was NEVER called just Noboru...? Nope, it was ALWAYS Noboru Wataya, in full. What the hell was that about?
May Kashahara was annoying as hell, and not just because the narrator made her voice too young and shrill. I swear, if I’d had heard the girl say, “Poor Mister Windup Bird..!” one more time, I was gonna reach through the novel somehow and smack her. Her obsession with death and sex were way past compulsion, and bordering on scary. She seriously needed a good psychiatrist, especially since the accident, and I don’t know why her well-to-do parents wouldn’t see this at all.
Actually, Kumiko was a hot mess, possibly even before her brother got ahold of her. And WHAT was with this author making every single woman Toru met want to sleep with him (with the sole exception of Nutmeg, thank the good lort that woman had her wits about her still).
I agree with this review, that this author really doesn’t write women characters well:


There were many lose ends, like I said before:
-Was the cat really theirs? Or a copy?
-Did Creta have Toru’s baby? Was that dream real? (Because the others with her where they had sex, were).
-How did Creta become a ‘prostitute of the mind’?
-Who was the faceless man?
-Why could we not know the names of Cinnamon and Nutmeg? Toru had the same abilities as Nutmeg, and wouldn’t have told anyone else about them and theirs?
-Why did Nutmeg’s dad have a mark on his face like Toru did? Could he heal people also?
-What was the mark and what did it signify?
-Where did the Kano sisters disappear to? Did Creta make you guys believe that Malta was dead, also?
-Who was the little boy who dug up the beating heart in his garden, and why was he even in this story?

***Edited to add that Rupert Degas was the narrator of the audiobook. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like him at all, but damn did he get good! Degas is the ONLY REASON I made it through the entirety of this novel. He made every single character (and there were tons!) sound wholly and completely different. His pronunciations of Japanese names, cities, provinces, etc were dead perfect, and he even did a great Russian accent that wasn’t stereotypical. The only problem I had with his characterizations was the ‘voice’ of May, like I’d said before. She was shrill and annoying. I just hope Naxos audiobooks uses Degas more often.

Anyway, I’ll have to think about this novel some more, but don’t expect an update on this review. I tend to forget about it all and dive into the next novel pretty soon afterwards, if I cannot make my mind up about the last one. And this novel makes me scratch my head way too much for my tastes.

If you want to read something absolutely HILARIOUS, read this parody review. I nearly woke up the hubby late last night, laughing at it...!


Enjoy! ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 284 (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 (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Murakami, Harukiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gall,JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haughton, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pastore, AntoniettaTranslatorsecondary 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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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.
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