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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (edition 1997)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

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12,845261178 (4.21)3 / 759
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

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Recently added byellohull, julieshedd, inefficientcrime, MaraBlaise, SaraNoH, AltheaAnn, private library, mirikayla
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English (230)  Dutch (7)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
Although marketed as “literary fiction” I’d definitely categorize this as “fantastic realism.” Murakami is definitely influenced by Kafka, but has a very Japanese perspective and a distinctive style all his own.
As the novel opens we are introduced to Toru Okada and his wife Kumiko – a seemingly average young married couple. Mr. Okada has recently quit his job at a legal firm to try to decide what he really wants to do with his life – but Kumiko has a good job, so overall, their biggest worry seems to be that their cat has gone missing. Okada isn’t doing much… he looks for the cat, does domestic chores, becomes acquainted with a teenage neighbor, May Kasahara, who is recovering from a motorcycle accident. His wife’s unpleasant brother, Noboru Wataya, puts him, indirectly, in touch with a weird couple of sister psychics with the unlikely names of Malta and Creta Kano, ostensibly to help find the cat. It seems strange, but the Wataya family is known to consult psychics, as a matter of fact, they had encouraged the couple to see one before, the elderly WWII vet Mr. Honda, who always told more war stories than he made prophecies…
But then, Kumiko goes missing. The evidence seems to indicate that she left her husband for another man… but this just doesn’t ring true to Okada. His brother-in-law, Noboru Wataya, now a rising star in politics, seems to take on a much more sinister aspect, as allegations against him surface. Dark family secrets are hinted at… Okada is definitely a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, but he can’t help feeling that Kumiko is being kept from him, that she has not chosen to leave him. Following vague and subject-to-interpretation statements from psychic advice, he sits down in a well on a neighboring property that is rumored to be ‘haunted’ or at least ill-omened – to “think.” The well seems to gain a sort of compelling force over him. A weird mark appears on his face, which in turn attracts another weird psychic team – the obsessively fashionable Nutmeg, and her mute son Cinnamon, who recruit Okada into their lucrative business. But still the well calls him back… Okada seems to believe that he is getting “close” to something… self-revelation? A way to discover the truth? A way to get Kumiko back?
The book meshes realistic depiction of modern Japan, surreal psychic phenomena, “astral” travel, and tales of WWII and its aftermath… it’s heavily symbolic, and effectively evocative in its creation of atmosphere… I’ll be looking out for more of Murakami’s books. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Oh thank god it's finally over. What a frustrating book.
  thebookmagpie | Jan 30, 2016 |
Oh thank god it's finally over. What a frustrating book.
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Oh thank god it's finally over. What a frustrating book.
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Or, how I went through an awful lot just to get a cat back...Kafka finds himself in Tokyo, voluntarily spends a long time thinking down in a well, encounters a lot of weird women...Murakami is a great/amazing writer! This book reads very well [even in translation] unlike a number of other books I've read in translation. Be warned: like Neal Stephenson's _Cryptonomicon_, this book has a lot of *very* cruel torture scenes drawn from WW2. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (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)

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