Group Read: Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
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I am in!! As soon as I find my book...
Thanks for getting us all set up. : )
à la >3 Berly:, I am in!! As soon as I
According to Amazon, it's supposed to arrive by 8 p.m. tomorrow.
I have my copy ready to go! I have the second cover posted up top.
Does anyone know if Murakami uses the same translator for all of his books?
ETA: I found this article that answered my question and gave me some insight into translation from Japanese to English and vice versa.
Found my copy! My cover is the last one on the right. Not starting 'till the first. Not because I am a purist (November read and all), but because I want to finish up one or two before I open yet another. My poor brain!! : )
I'm going to lurk. I loved this one but am not quite ready to reread it although it's tempting. (My cover is next-to-last on the right.) Enjoy!
>6 luvamystery65: Great little article, Ro. Thanks for posting the link. I found this quite enlightening:
"The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. Subjects are often left unmentioned in Japanese sentences, and onomatopoeia, with vernacular sounds suggesting meaning, is a virtue often difficult if not impossible to replicate in English."
My copy arrived safe and sound 2 days ago, all shiny and new. It's the first on the left, above.
39 chapters, 607 pages. Doable this month for sure.
Chapter 1. I'm in trouble already - how can someone divide ironing a shirt into 12 steps? I only use 10, only getting to 12 if you divide each sleeve into two steps plus cuffs. Back I go.....
Page one starts off with weirdness. A cat enters the scene just a few pages later. Yup, Murakami!!
Murakami IS weird. And funny. I picked up the audio-book, which is very well read. Not sure I can get through it in a month, however.
I will start sometime this weekend. I have to finish Manhattan Beach first. :-)
Huuurry uuuupppp! ; )
One-liner from Chapter Two:
Soliloquy from chapter 4:
This book has ensorcelled me.
>19 karenmarie: This book has ensorcelled me. Ha! Love it!
I hope to start getting back into its ensorcellous world later today or tomorrow, once I finish the one in front of it.
>19 karenmarie: Yes! I bookmarked that one, too.
I like "ensorcelled." : )
I first read this book many years ago when Mark hosted a group read of this title. It took me several months to read it, but it was worth it. It is a book that I think about from time-to-time. It is a book that will do the same for many of you.
There are many themes in this book, but according to the author and to critics the book is about history and memory. That is one of Muakami's main tropes. I loved this book and think it is one of the great works of the 20th century. I am glad that others are reading it and I hope to share with you while you read it as well.
Don't worry if you don't finish it in one month. It is a big book with lots to take in while you read.
As an aside. The dust jackets for Murakami's early work is unique. They are all similar and they are famous for being so distinctive and reflective of his work. As you read along you will notice the objects on the cover begin to appear in the novel.
Ha. I had to look up ensorcelled ~~ great word!
I plan to begin reading today and hope to quickly become ensorcelled myself!
I am just a little past here...
>23 benitastrnad: Now I have to find the original dust jacket and take a look...
>25 Berly: Kim, it looks like you and I are at about the same spot! The disadvantage to the audio version is that I hear these great quotes, but can't remember them well enough to add them here. But this book certainly has some very funny parts.
I'm really just getting started (only on page 46 of 607, ready to start chapter four) but this is a weird novel just like Kafka on the Shore was a weird novel. He just met with Ms. Kano. Foreshadowing occurs....
Toru sat in her back yard with this young lady, watching for the cats to cross.
I don't need another tattoo and this wouldn't be it, in any case, but this is kind of cool.
This is a really fun read.
I just finished chapter 9 of Book One.
May Kasahara is a charming character.
That is the original cover for the paperback of the novel. Each of the Murakami novels had some symbol from the book on the cover. They were all in the same color scheme but each cover had a different color emphasized. When they were first published and Murakami became a hit author these covers were easily recognizable. It was a way to brand Murakami and it worked.
The new branding covers are like the one on the far left in the first post. They are cool, but for some reason I like the old covers the best. They were so uptown back in the early 1990's.
Here is a piece by artist Jeremy Mayer made with pieces of old typewriters. It seemed very appropriate...
I have finished book 1. It is fascinating and very readable.
"Sometimes, when one is moving silently through such an utterly desolate landscape,an overwhelming hallucination can cause one to feel that oneself, as an individual human being, is slowly unraveling. The surrounding space is so vast that it becomes more and more difficult to keep a balanced grip on one's own being...the mind expands to fill the entire landscape, becoming so diffuse in the process that one loses the ability to keep it fastened to the physical self." Chapter 12
Have you guys ever experienced this? Where? When?
It is easy to do when on the Plains in the snow. One snowy grass covered space looks just like another.
Yeah, I could see that. I think mine would have to be out on a boat far enough out that no land was visible. Very flat, no waves. Quiet.
It has to be 360˚ to overwhelm the senses, but this gives the idea.
I will be joining this challenge, reading a Dutch translation. De opwindvogelkronieken
It appears the Dutch translation differs from the English one, it's longer by several pages. But I don't think it will be a problem.
Loving it so far, it does remind me of Kafka, this is my first Murakami, and I'm glad for the shared reading.
>42 Berly: I'd love that, wonderful, this would be a happy sigh for me.
>30 EBT1002: It seems there are many "long" stories (often with Part 2s!) within TWUBC, perhaps each guiding Okada somewhere new in his life? I know his story is somehow tied to these other ones and I am just trying to follow along.
>31 EBT1002: When I searched for images for WUBC, I was amazed at how many WU Bird tattoos were posted. Obviously, this bird symbolizes a lot of things for people. More on that as I continue to read the book...
And, then there are the wells....
>43 EllaTim: Nice to see you!
>44 drneutron: Grumble, grumble...
(End of Book I)
>45 Berly:, >46 Berly:
I've thought that the empty box meant Honda's gift to Toru was Mamiya and Mamiya's story - in other words, the box was just an excuse to get them together, and to give Toru more understanding of Honda, at the same time.
Why Cutty Sark keeps cropping up, I'm not sure. Why Johnny Walker in Kafka on the Shore? I'm not sure Murakami could answer those.
>47 jnwelch: Ah! I like your thoughts on the box.
>49 Berly: Glad to hear it, Kim. I love this quote from Murakami in that interview, when asked about his writing process:
I don’t have any idea at all, when I start writing, of what is to come. For instance, for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the first thing I had was the call of the bird, because I heard a bird in my back yard (it was the first time I heard that kind of sound and I never have since then. I felt like it was predicting something. So I wanted to write about it). The next thing was cooking spaghetti – these are things that happen to me! I was cooking spaghetti, and somebody call. So I had just these two things at the start. Two years I kept on writing. It’s fun! I don’t know what’s going to happen next, every day. I get up, go to the desk, switch on the computer, etc. and say to myself: “so what’s going to happen today?”It’s fun!
How great is that?
>47 jnwelch: Love the link. Everyone go read it! My favorite was this from Murakami:
I don’t have any idea at all, when I start writing, of what is to come. For instance, for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the first thing I had was the call of the bird, because I heard a bird in my back yard (it was the first time I heard that kind of sound and I never have since then. I felt like it was predicting something. So I wanted to write about it). The next thing was cooking spaghetti – these are things that happen to me! I was cooking spaghetti, and somebody call. So I had just these two things at the start. Two years I kept on writing. It’s fun! I don’t know what’s going to happen next, every day. I get up, go to the desk, switch on the computer, etc. and say to myself: “so what’s going to happen today?” It’s fun!
Imagining Creta Kano, from http://murakamigogodancer.blogspot.com/2014/03/so-this-was-creta-kano.html More photos of her there. In this one, she's wearing Kumiko's dress.
Another great link! You are on a roll. : )
Her wearing Kumiko's dress is another whole discussion.
How about the deep, inner meaning of Malta and Creta both being island names? Island themes: Isolation, not confined by laws and rules of the mainland, time moves differently there, rebirth...
>55 Berly: I don't know about everyone else, but living isolated lives is the one I thought of with Malta's and Creta's island names. Water is big for them, too, and that's another discussion! I like your ideas of not being confined by laws and rules of the mainland, and time moving differently (they sure act like it!). I'm not sure about rebirth?
>56 jnwelch: I was thinking rebirth in terms of the influence they have on Toru. Or Kumiko. What's up with Creta wearing Kumiko's dress up above? But then I am a first time reader only a 1/3 of the way in, so...
>57 Berly: I was trying to connect rebirth with the island theme - like islands being created from volcanoes. Or the rejuvenation we often feel when on a beautiful island. They sure are affecting Toru, aren't they. I just finished re-reading his meeting with Malta and Noboru,
Creta/Kumiko - we probably should come back to that one after you've read farther? It's not simple, IMO.
Murakami likes Scotch, methinks! (Cutty Sark and Johnnie Walker)
I'm about halfway through and yep, wells keep coming up. I like their symbolism to the degree that I'm getting it.
I have to say that I'm struggling with this one a bit relative to my reading of Kafka on the Shore a couple of months ago. It feels a bit déjà vu for me. The narrative voice feels the same, the tone and pacing and use of metaphor and dreams are similar, the elements of magical realism. I have heard folks say "this is vintage Murakami" and that makes sense to me, but if all his novels are the same, why are they so spectacular?
I say that and I am enjoying the novel. I am also wondering if translation from Japanese has something to do with the "sameness" of the two novels.
And I love the notion that the bottom of a well is a great place to think.
And she's back!! I had no time for reading this weekend, so now I suspect you are ahead of me!
>64 EBT1002: Further on, a connection is made. You may want to wait to revisit this one.
Hmm, yes, Joe, I think the meaning might be made clear. I have so many more questions than answers with this novel....
I just met Nutmeg and Cinnamon.
The transitory nature of self and reality appears to be a theme but that might change as I keep reading. What is the self?
Also, I just read a chapter in which the narration shifted mid-stream from first person past tense to first person present. Just for part of a chapter.
This may be the weirdest book I've ever read.
>65 Berly: I'm on page 386 now, I think, out of 607 pages in my copy.
One thing I love about the novel is the stories within stories. So many characters get to tell us their story and I love most of them, those are the compelling narratives in which I'm most likely to get completely absorbed.
Okay, time for bed.
Isn't that a good one, Kim?
I'm up to his meeting with
"Certain kinds of information are like smoke: they work their way into people's minds and eyes whether sought out or not, and with no regard to personal preference." Part II, Ch 3
"...memory naturally degenerates as the years go by. Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade." Part II Ch 4
I finished, but am not in much shape to comment right now, other than to say it was an eye-opener of a re-read, with how many elements had faded in memory over time. One of those was the continuing importance of May Kasahara; I had only really remembered her from the beginning of the book.
>74 Berly: I like those quotes, too.
Here's a classic May K. quote:
“It’s like when you put instant rice pudding mix in a bowl in the microwave and push the button, and you take the cover off when it rings, and there you’ve got ricing pudding. I mean, what happens in between the time when you push the switch and when the microwave rings? You can’t tell what’s going on under the cover. Maybe the instant rice pudding first turns into macaroni gratin in the darkness when nobody’s looking and only then turns back into rice pudding. We think it’s only natural to get rice pudding after we put rice pudding mix in the microwave and the bell rings, but to me, that is just a presumption. I would be kind of relieved if, every once in a while, after you put rice pudding mix in the microwave and it rang and you opened the top, you got macaroni gratin. I suppose I’d be shocked, of course, but I don’t know, I think I’d be kind of relieved too. Or at least I think I wouldn’t be so upset, because that would feel, in some ways, a whole lot more real."
One more from May, and then I'll shut up (for a while):
“I laughed. “You’re too young to be so … pessimistic,” I said, using the English word.
“Pessimistic. It means looking only at the dark side of things.”
“Pessimistic … pessimistic …” She repeated the English to herself over and over, and then she looked up at me with a fierce glare. “I’m only sixteen,” she said, “and I don’t know much about the world, but I do know one thing for sure. If I’m pessimistic, then the adults in this world who are not pessimistic are a bunch of idiots.”
I love May Kasahara!
"If people lived forever - if they never got any older - if they could just go on living in this world, never dying, always healthy - do you think they'd bother to think hard about things, the way we're doing now? I mean, we think about just about everything, more or less... I kinda think, if there were no such thing as death, that complicated thoughts and ideas like that would never come into the world."
I've totally lacked reading time lately...hoping to fit some in over the next few days!!
Joe--Loving all your quotes and the diner. : )
I finished the novel during my lunch break today. Yes, I took a real lunch break! I ate my salad and read the last two chapters of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. I didn't love it but certainly appreciated it. I wrote some other comments on my thread. I also posted this:
Here is a NYT review by Michiko Kakutani from 1997 that resonates for me.
The Dream at the end of Book Two
Another favorite quote which gives nothing away...
"He looked at me with eyes narrowed as if to apologize for being unable to speak because of the nervous black panther sleeping by his side. Which is not to say that there was a black panther sleeping by his side: he just looked as if there were."
>84 Berly: I don't know the answer to those questions but I will say that
>83 EBT1002: I am sorry, Ellen, that you and Michiko Kakutani did not like the book better. So far it is my favorite Murakami. I am about 2/3 done.
>87 banjo123: Vive la différence, Rhonda! I've not read enough Murakami to have a "favorite" yet but so far it's Kafka. Still, I'm glad I read WUBC! And I'm glad you're enjoying it!
Yes, the narrator is brilliant. Actually Mrs. Banjo had listened to it earlier this year, and she loved the way he does voices. May is awesome.
>91 banjo123: I am enjoying May's letter.
And BTW, I think Cinnamon should be the she and Nutmeg should be the he. I think Murakimai got his names mixed up. Just saying.
>92 Berly: LOL, earlier in the book, Mrs. Banjo asked if I had met Cinnamon yet, and I said, no I haven't met her. So I have been waiting for Cinnamon, but expected a woman. Perhaps it is a more masculine name in Japanese?
>93 banjo123: See? I knew he got them mixed up. ; ) You are probably right and their femininity/masculinity is switched in Japanese. OR not. You never know with Murakami.
And I am very happy about the cat.
Another Favorite Quote
"'A is like this, so that's why B happened.' I mean, that doesn't explain anything. It's like when you put instant rice pudding mix in a bowl in the microwave and push the button, and you take the cover off when it rings, and you've got rice pudding. I mean, what happens in between the time when you push the switch and when the microwave rings? You can't tell what's going on under the cover. Maybe the instant rice pudding first turns into macaroni cheese in the darkness when nobody's looking and only then turns back into rice pudding." (May Kasahara's Point of View:4)
I'm still early days in this book, so I'll close my eyes and come back when I'm done. :-)
I have finished and I love this book. However, I was reading up on it afterwards, and found out that 61 pages were cut in the English translation. I feel robbed! I wish I could read Japanese.
>96 luvamystery65: Probably a good idea, although I have tried to choose non-giveaway quotes and pictures that mean something to those who have read to a certain point, but also give nothing away if you haven't.
>97 banjo123: I am not reading banjo's comment yet because I have 100 pages to go....! What? They cut out a lot!
>97 banjo123: I like that speculative summary, Rhonda. I also agree that it made me happy when
I also still think I don't know what the boo was really "about."
Ellen a friend of mine took a seminar class through Literary Arts on the book. She loved the class and the book. Now I wish I could take a class like that. There is a lot in there.
And what do you all think about the emphasis on fashion?
I found this to be a very powerful book with certain scenes that just would't go out of my mind. I don't think it is Murakami's best book, but it is a powerful book and apparently, for Murakami, it has a very pointed message for the Japanese.
The last time I looked at this thread was November 11. After that there were too many things that seemed spoilerish to me, so I stayed away.
I finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle tonight.
>83 EBT1002: Ellen, I agree with your comment I didn't love it but certainly appreciated it.. I gave it 3 stars. I think I'm done with Murakami for quite a while, if not forever.
I may write a review tomorrow - if I do, I'll reference it here but post it on my thread.
>102 karenmarie: Well, kudos for powering through! Sorry you didn't love it more, but it was worth the try. You suggest the next shared read. ; )
There's going to be a group read of Nicholas Nickleby in January. As soon as Jim creates the 75 Book Challenge for 2018 and etc., I'll create the group read thread. Here's the list of people who expressed interest and their opinion of the month to read it (from my 12th thread, November 30th). I just posted private messages to everybody telling them about it now - January's only 16 days away!
jmwelch Joe - January
lkernagh Lori - January
m.belljackson Marianne - January or February
msf59 Mark - January for a big bang
SomeGuyInVirginia Larry - not December
>104 karenmarie: Aaaahhhh! My January is BOOKED. I better finish my 2017 reads and get going on 2018. LOL Thanks for including me.
You're very welcome. My copy is 9 pages of preface by the author and then 780 pages of chunkster.
What?!?! That qualifies as a tome for sure. This may be a Jan/Feb read for me. LOL
Got my copy of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle yesterday - I'm 4 chapters in. It's interesting so far...
I finished Wind Up Bird and I'm very confused. Mr. Murakami writes on a level I just don't understand. I liked this better than Kafka, but I still think Murakami is a creeper. I'm going to give him another try with 1Q84 since I already own that one, but it won't be soon.
Not going to reread this one.
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