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

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,585278156 (4.21)3 / 816
Member:Nirmala.Chandrasiri
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
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

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

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English (246)  Dutch (8)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (278)
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
Let's start with the point that Murakami is one of the most talented authors alive. Previously I had only known him through his short stories that I had read in the New Yorker but I finally decided it's time to start reading his novels, & decided to start with this.

Another reviewer used the word mesmerizing, and I agree. I stayed up one night till 4AM because I couldn't stop reading. And yet...this isn't a 5 star book.

I understand that the English edition cut 25,000 words from the original. I imagine in Japan the editor was intimidated by the famous author, so we are lucky his Engkish editor had more leeway. But they should have cut more, or perhaps different parts. At a certain point it became almost a chore to read certain chapters, particularly the Manchuria stories. As an aside! the May letters really should have been lost in the mail - I would have much preferred more about Creta.

Here's where the spoilers start:

It's not that the Manchuria stories weren't interesting, moving or well written - they were all these. I don't think Murakami is capable of writing anything badly. I also get he wanted to make the connection to the evils of Manchuria & their impact on modern Japan & human evil in general and the story in particular. The tie between Wataya & Manchuria had been mentioned, Manchuria tied into the hanging house and it was the thread between all the characters. Obviously he is making a symbolic connection between the rape of Kumiko & the rape of Manchuria. But somehow, the Manchuria stories took you out of the plot, not deeper in it. Despite their symbolic connection, Murakami didn't succeed in binding tightly & concretely the connection between the thread of Manchuria & the thread of Kumiko.

I believe the flaw lies in the incest/abuse plot, which is too obvious & felt more like one of those cheap plot ploys authors use when they can't think of a better way to symbolize evil. Also, Kumiko felt more like a symbol than a real character - the least real & fleshed out of any character in the book. And this from an author who can make the most bizarre character palpably real!Particularly since so much real-world evil had been so brilliantly & movingly described, the big "you see this coming from 10,000 miles away" reveal at the end of the book, fell flat. It made the ending almost anti-climactic.

Yet still, I feel like a total ingrate even mildly criticizing Murakami - he is an amazingly brilliant writer and I hope to read more of him soon. You should too! ( )
  aront | Jul 25, 2017 |
Unusual, strange read, but could not put the book down! ( )
  debrarbell | May 31, 2017 |
I remember reading it but not what it was about. Nothing really ties together, but that was what I liked about it as it keeps you guessing. I found the journey through the book interesting but I can imagine people wanting something more linear would find it frustrating. It is my favourite of his along with Norwegian wood. ( )
  Addbooks | Apr 30, 2017 |
A book that keeps the reader off balance wondering where the story's going to go. The ending vague but still satisfying and the themes are constant through the entire work. ( )
  charlie68 | Apr 11, 2017 |
While not one of my top three Murakami picks, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle scratched at my soul like very few books can. I recommend without hesitation. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 246 (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 editionscalculated
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
Haiku summary

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 5 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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