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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…

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

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

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13,214271166 (4.21)3 / 777
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

Work details

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

Recently added byprivate library, romanlibrary, joshanastasia, nms72, cjmachek, civitas, beebarth, sasmpls, lar0que, Ursulo
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English (238)  Dutch (8)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (270)
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Well-written literary magical realism. The text retains a disciplined uniformity in style, substance, meaning, and intention. The main character develops nicely overall, which seems impossible considering his lack of motivation, emotion, and direction. He does not derive drive from even his central goal, which he holds onto no-matter-what. Still, the reader learns to empathize with his minimal, jobless, life with no clear objectives other than to get his wife back, the wife he seems to have only a modicum of affection for, though it's more than he has for anyone else.

I liked this book much more than my review might suggest. The book is a sum of many parts and it never lost my interest, even for a paragraph, despite being slow-paced and containing long sections in which nothing of immediate consequence or sense occurred. It's really very good. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
I find the best way to read this book is in Spanish. The simple sentences are perfect for a second-year Spanish student (me) to read: Basic structures, plodding, going nowhere--I can take my time. With easy vocabulary. But not very Spanish-like in plot or character--no macho, no push, no huevos. Lots of vocabulary (even in the title: da cuerda = give some string or wind up, as with an old floor clock that requires the hanging weights be raised.) A joy after struggling thru the never-ending, subordinate clauses in Spanish novels. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Oh thank god it's finally over. What a frustrating book.
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
bizzarre and haunting and engrossing and i begged the universe for it not to end. once i got down to the last quarter of the book i rationed myself to 10 pages a night. it feels a bit like kafka's, 'crime and punishment' or the movie, 'the lives of others'. it's hard to describe it. just read it!! ( )
  Joseph_W_Naus | Jul 20, 2016 |
A man living in the Tokyo suburbs is cooking spaghetti when he receives a strange phone call. It is the first of a whole series of odd events and mysterious encounters that upset his placid, easygoing life by revealing cracks that he hadn't perceived, some of which suggest linkages or lessons from others' lives that will help steer his own. Toru Okada, the hero of this novel, reminded me of John Singer from "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" for everyone's eagerness to tell him their life's story with almost no prompting. Unaccustomed to interaction with others, his reponses are usually muted and agreeable; not knowing how to respond is what makes him an ideal listener. He begins this way as a mostly passive character, but plays an increasingly greater role in directing his next steps. He's a fascinating first-person narrator for how ably he responds to oddities and threats, contradiction and mystery.

The story speaks to a divergence in realities between a real-world normality and an other-world dream state. It is an experience that this novel expresses well in the manner of its own telling, in its effect on the reader. Another theme is the unpredictability of events, a challenge to the cause-and-effect relationship between what occurs in our daily lives, as well as in the broader world around us. Many of the characters feel lost and helpless upon sensing this as a truth. I wonder whether these are frequently recurring themes in Japanese literature? I'll be reading more Murakami and perhaps others to find out. ( )
  Cecrow | May 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (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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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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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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