The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I finished reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle earlier today, and when I had read the final word in the final chapter, and turned the page to make sure it definitely was the last chapter, I closed the book and thought: “What on earth am I going to write about?”

I can at least start with a small taster of what you can expect to find in this novel.  Toru Okada’s life is made up of everyday incidents and domestic chores, until his cat goes missing and his wife begins spending more and more time away from home.  Strange characters seek him out and ever stranger coincidences keep occurring, until he is forced to embark on a quest to get to the root of it all.

Reading Murakami is like looking at a surrealist painting by a great master: I love his work and appreciate his skill, but that doesn’t mean I fully understand what’s going on.  That certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book though.  There were so many loose ends left unravelled and unexplained that (I hope) you’re not supposed to get everything: you have to find your own answers.

If you want to read a surprising and quirky book about philosophy, dreams, contemporary day-to-day life in Japan, and a small sample of Japanese Second World War history, this is the novel for you.  Also try Murakami’s Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which is another great surreal read… and one of my top ten all-time favourite books!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 17:21:48

    Perhaps the true meaning was lost in translation?

    Reply

    • TheBrontëSister
      Sep 05, 2011 @ 21:18:23

      I’m not sure if that’s a joke or not!! Having read a couple of other novels by Haruki Murakami I definitely don’t think it’s the translation – I think that a surrealist style is what he does best. I didn’t feel dissatisfied at the end of the book, I felt that I was free to imagine my own conclusions and that the rest wasn’t important.

      Reply

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