The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
November 21, 2010 36 Comments
This book was a re-read for me. I must have read it about ten years ago, and it was my first Murakami. For some reason, I then didn’t read any others for several years, until I came (back) to the Netherlands, 5 years ago, where Murakami is pretty big.
I’ve read most of his available books since, although I have a few more to go. My favorites are Hard-Boiled Wonderland and A Wild Sheep Chase.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: What it’s about
Ha, what it’s about, I ask? Would you like the short version or the long one (600 pages of small print)? Let’s try the short version:
Toru Okada lives with his wife in a rented house. He is unemployed while his wife is making long hours at her job at a publisher’s. When their cat goes missing, he enters the alley behind their house and a lot of events begin to unfold.
He meets a 16-year old girl that shows him an abandoned house nearby with a dried-up well. He meets two sisters that offer to help him find back his cat, and later also his wife, who also disappears. He also encounters a Lieutenant from the second World War and a woman and her son who make their money in a very odd way. Then there is the awful brother in law who plays a more important role as the story progresses.
All these people have their own story which do in various ways have their effect or relation with Toru.
In the end, some of the strands of the story come together, but a lot is left to the reader.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: What I thought
This book reinforces to me what a great storyteller Murakami is. There were many stories within the larger story and I found each and all of them interesting. I think this is not so much the story, well, not just the story, but especially the way it is written.
It’s like candy to me. Every sentence is somehow just right. And I want to read more, and more. It’s like arriving in a place where you feel safe and happy. What can I say? Murakami writes in a way that is perfect for me!
I recognised some themes from other books by Murakami: so is there a dark hotel with many corridors where Toru has to find his way. A hotel without any lights was also present in Dance, Dance, Dance. In Kafka on the Shore, I’m pretty sure the protagonist, Kafka, goes to Malta or a country nearby, while in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, one of the people Toru meets is Malta Kano, who lived on the island of Malta for a while. Then, of course, there is Toru’s cat who goes missing, while in Kafka on the Shore cats play a large role, too. And there are probably more themes that I missed.
While I found The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles a satifactory read, I’m 100% sure I missed lots of references and lots of links between parts of the story. Rather than trying to figure it out for myself, I hope someone else has the answers for me, if there are any answers, that is.
Rating: 5/5 and a favorite
I got this book: from The Book Depository as I wanted to own it. I read it for the Japanese Literature Challenge
I read this in: English, the original language is Japanese.
Extra: Also check out my review of Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
In Dutch- Elsje Las
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