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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (edition 1997)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,741248186 (4.22)3 / 746
Title:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator)
Info:KNOPF. (1997), Edition: Reprinted Edition, Paperback, 611 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:finished, finished 2012, fiction, fiction 2012

Work details

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

  1. 112
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  2. 50
    Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (derelicious)
  3. 61
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  4. 30
    Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (Alialibobali)
  5. 20
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (eromsted)
  6. 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.
  7. 20
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (ainsleytewce)
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    Oh!: A mystery of 'mono no aware' by Todd Shimoda (Magus_Manders)
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    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (alzo)
  12. 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.
  13. 00
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
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    The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (-Eva-)
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  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 (219)  Dutch (7)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
Gifted storytelling skills but spoiled a little by mystical sub-plot.
Read in Samoa June 2002 ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 26, 2015 |
Toru Okada loses his job, his cat , and his wife. His search introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, an 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. ( )
  jrthebutler | Oct 22, 2015 |
An astonishing book. Essentially an urban epic about losing your cat and your wife and your grip on reality, the plot moves dreamily through the mundane world of a man living an aimless, blameless life as he experiences erotic phone-calls, the philosophical musings of a teenage neighbour, horrifying stories from Japan's military campaign in China, a fascination with an abandoned well, two sisters named after islands and their strange vocation, and, frankly, a whole lot of other stuff. The writing is plain but addictive, and though the plot is full of ambiguities, complexities and perplexing enigmas, many of which are left for the reader to resolve, it is nonetheless a supremely satisfying read. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Perhaps if I had started with Murakami here, I might feel differently. Or if I had read it spaced out over more time. But instead, I read this as the last of six over the course of a year and, frankly, it was my least favorite. The things that might seem magical were irritating and I found myself wishing the book over by the halfway point. I saw glimmers of hope and of interesting moments but I much prefer Murakami when he lets his weirdness really fly - there was some strange restraint here, resulting in a book that feels like those weird muggy mornings that make you just feel like going back to bed and starting over again. His dreamy stories are better the crisper they come.

More at RB: http://ragingbiblioholism.com/2014/12/15/the-wind-up-bird-chronicle/ ( )
  drewsof | Sep 30, 2015 |
Toru Okada and his wife Kumiko lose their cat which is named after Kumiko’s brother Norobu Wataya, a rising economist, political pundit, and, latterly, a politician. Later Toru loses Kumiko as well. Toru quits his job and spends increasing amounts of time at the bottom of a dry well, presumably hoping to lose himself also. It almost takes. But fate, it seems, has other things in store for Toru Okada, whom his young neighbour, May Kasahara, dubs Mr. Wind-up Bird. Fate has apparently been acting on lots of people over the past fifty or sixty years, all leading to Toru’s attempts to find his cat and his wife, Kumiko. Eventually the cat comes back. And so does Kumiko.

On the surface it isn’t a compelling tale, but Murakami adds moments of spice in the form of gratuitous extreme violence and gratuitous sex, be it physical or mental (in a Murakami novel dream sex is as good as real sex). There are also a number of exceedingly dubious forays into the nature of the self, quasi-mystical communication and healing, and fashion. And of course, in keeping with Murakami’s other writing, you will encounter many references to western classical music, jazz, and pop, lots of product placement for western consumers, and, in just over 600 pages, almost no references to anything that originates in Japan.

The writing here is very flat, almost atonal. The protagonist, Toru Okada, is a near blank slate. The women characters are almost entirely reduced to their sexuality (so much so that when they cease to have sex either mentally or physically with the protagonist, they disappear from the novel altogether). On the plus side, I suppose you could say that it is a quick read. On the other hand, I feel like in a few days I won’t remember anything that happened. Not recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Sep 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (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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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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