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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki…
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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (original 1997; edition 2010)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,889215217 (4.23)2 / 656
Member:MarkBeekhuis
Title:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator)
Info:Vintage Books (2010), Paperback, 609 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

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

1001 (64) 1001 books (55) 20th century (90) cats (46) contemporary fiction (55) dreams (41) fantasy (86) fiction (1,313) Haruki Murakami (37) Japan (637) Japanese (378) Japanese fiction (92) Japanese literature (232) literature (101) magical realism (276) murakami (98) mystery (87) novel (208) own (58) postmodern (41) read (140) Roman (41) surreal (90) surrealism (99) to-read (185) translated (42) translation (103) unread (60) war (36) WWII (95)
  1. 92
    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
    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.
  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
    Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis (Sarasamsara)
  12. 00
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
  13. 11
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (alzo)
  14. 00
    How the Hula Girl Sings by Joe Meno (andomck)
  15. 00
    The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (-Eva-)
  16. 01
    The Interpreter by Suki Kim (booklove2)
    booklove2: Both books involve a displaced from the world character searching for clues to solve mysteries.
  17. 12
    The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren (andomck)
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English (188)  Dutch (6)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (215)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
Magical realism at its finest. Beautiful, haunting, slightly disturbing. ( )
  LisaFoxRomance | Apr 6, 2014 |
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin) is simply a tour-de-force in fiction at the dawn of the new millennium. The novel follows one man’s search, first for his cat, and then for his wife, in a labyrinth of Tokyo’s multi-faceted world filled with unusual, but believable, characters. It is a masterfully written odyssey across time, space, and Japanese culture. Like an ocean tide it pushes the reader forward in a mystical world embracing solitude and the unknown then pulls one back with grim reminders of the devastating (ripple) effects of war and carnage. In a word it is perfiction. ( )
  lukespapa | Mar 5, 2014 |
So this is a really hard book to tell people about, mainly because I wouldn't know where to start or even what to say. The main character Mr Okada is a straight forward simple guy, after quitting his job to think about what he'd like to do next he enjoys his days relaxing, until his cat goes missing. This triggers off a string of events that lead to the most bizarre consequences. I really enjoyed the individual back ground of each character, especially that or Mr Honda and Lieutenant Mamiya, the war stories were great, gruesome but fascinating. I don't think i've ever actually thought about the atrocities that would occur during war, this book defiantly helped that to hit home. I also found Mr Okada very likable and my favorite was probably May as deranged as she is. I don't think people who are looking for a solid plot or even a coherent story will enjoy this book, the ending isn't very tangible, in fact reading this book is like trying to grasp at water, its mesmerizing and eerie and weird and you cant help but want to read on and on. Then you get to the end and feel like you need to think it over, look for a secret plot or a hidden message... maybe sit in the bottom of a dry well to think ;)

Im really glad i read this book, it wasn't at all what i thought it was going to be though it will certainly be a while before i can get over it and pick up another Murakimi title ( )
  shelley.s | Feb 28, 2014 |
This was the second Murakami book I read, the first being Kafka on the Shore. I enjoyed in both of them the deliberate, controlled language, the deep and layered mysteries driving the story, and the historical background that informed part of the narrative (much more so in this one). I think Murakami creates some very compelling images and has a particular talent for creating an atmosphere of strangeness as viewed by protagonists that seem quite normal (normal to the point of being being more detatched that the more extreme characters around them).

This is all mere description, I realize, and that's in part because one needs to know what exactly there is to enjoy in being presented mysteries without getting the satisfaction of solutions. It can be a frustrating experience, but of course so can being given unsatisfying answers merely to satisfy the compact between author and reader that "all will be revealed in the end." Some things fall into place, or at least become less murky. Other things are left to their own strange, cockeyed logic, and one has to accept that. After all, if one is to get a glimpse into a world truly not one's own, the view does not come with a guidebook and a friendly ambassador. Otherwise you might as well be taking a bus trip of a foreign country. In the end, those who people the underworlds of Murakami's vision are *not* just like us. They can't be, and thus we can't expect to know exactly why things are as they are there.

That said, this book deserves the highest possible marks, but I have withheld that for two reasons. One, the mysteries in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are so complete that even the half-explanations one should accept seem less than fair at times. Very late in the book, it seems the mysteries are only deepening, and it can become tiring over the course of a long novel to be given so few clues. Second, however, is the fact that the book in the third part begins to feel like its become overlong. So much time is spent in the early part of the book creating the strange atmosphere and following the often mundane daily tasks of the protagonist that the story felt like it was losing momentum even as some of the most interesting and important parts were being revealed. While the first two hundred pages pulled me along almost without my noticing, the last two hundred presented a challenge that I had to settle down to and sprint my way through.

All in all, I will remember this book for a long time to come, and I will no doubt go on to read more of Murakami's books. But they don't seem to be the kind of novels one can read one after the other. So far I'm working in one a year, and that seems the right pace. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
Was absolutely charmed the first half, but the lack of resolution left me not completely satisfied. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (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 and 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.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:50 -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 4 descriptions

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