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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…
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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (original 1997; edition 1995)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,528239192 (4.22)2 / 725
Member:Eyejaybee
Title:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator)
Info:Vintage (1999), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, Crime, Japan, Tokyo, Supernatural, Music, Love, Sapporo, Dreams, Dysfunction, Surreal, Cats

Work details

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (1997)

  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
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (eromsted)
  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
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
  12. 00
    Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis (Sarasamsara)
  13. 11
    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.
  14. 11
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (alzo)
  15. 00
    The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (-Eva-)
  16. 00
    How the Hula Girl Sings by Joe Meno (andomck)
  17. 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 (211)  Dutch (6)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Murakami, apparently, makes me stay up until 4 in the morning for the privilege of feeling like I'm not as smart as previously believed. This is an okay thing. ( )
  lorienanderson | Jun 19, 2015 |
Perhaps magical realism is not the genera for me. I thought this book was boring and pointless. I can't say anything good about it. Give me wizards any day, just don't make me read about normal people who believe magic is actually real. This is a book for poets and I'm much too left brained for that. I'm just proud of myself for finishing it. ( )
1 vote ladonna37 | May 1, 2015 |
Murakami weaves a large and intricate web, and catches many strange and mysterious characters. The line between dream and reality is a blurred one. The Wind-Up Bird itself is one of many symbols used, along with deep wells, dense darkness, blood, knives and a particularly evil formless presence. The author cleverly draws a connecting line between the (at first) mundane life of Mr. Okada and the troubled conscience of a nation. The one big question he asks is, how much do we really control our own destiny? But the major mystery for me is, where did the cat go? ( )
  Estramir | Apr 30, 2015 |
This book sucked me into its web of strangeness. It has a hypnotic quality that makes it different from anything else I have read. Some parts are very gruesome and disturbing which was quite upsetting. However, I had to continue. There seemed to be no choice about that!
The novel consists of several layers of stories within stories and dreams within reality as well as some episodes where it is difficult to be sure what is real and what is a dream. The stories are linked in bizarre and obscure ways - through a well or water, or through a voice in a telephone or several other ways. The characters telling these stories are each the hero (or villain)of their tale and all are fascinating.
What an imagination! An amazing book. ( )
1 vote rosiezbanks | Apr 7, 2015 |
this book drew me in further and further with each new layer of interesting characters and their stories. it projects a surreal landscape over a very mundane world with unusual people who never seem to be quite done with telling their tale.

there are some truly disturbing themes and descriptions in the book alongside sobering glimpses of the horrors of war, family struggles, hints of alternate realities, eldritch arts and arcane knowledge, musings on infidelity and marriage, cooking spaghetti, etc. the stories and characters are so very disparate that opening the book to random pages might confuse the casual browser because it will seem like a wholly different book depending on what page they open to. and yet, these stories weave together a grand dreamlike myth that seems to speak from the depths of the Jungian archetypical human mind but they never tell a complete, linear story. they intrude upon the "plot" and then linger in the back of your mind as the most tenuous of connections bind the characters together to deliver some deeper meaning that you can't quite grasp in the light of day. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (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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First words
When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along to an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.
Quotations
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.)
Disambiguation notice
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:47 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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