‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami – Book Review

Overview

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.

Review

This novel, if anything, was persistently original. Murakami never fails in that area of expertise. An acquaintance of mine described Murakami as “dry and unimaginative.” His writing can be very simple and his characters do seem dry at times, but he has a great talent for deep sentiments disguised by parables, secondary characters, and details. The beauty of this book is that it’s a bonafide Japanese tale that allows outsiders to experience the culture via Murakami – the world, the war, and Japanese imperialism.

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His characters are not meant to seem real, but ethereal personalities that exist in another world. Toru Okada, relentless, calculated, and bold was an admirable character. Through him, Murakami gives you the autonomy to interpret the text in a million different ways. It is truly, without a doubt, a piece of art. This is admitted whether the story is idolized or hated. Yes, this story became tiresome after a series of unrelated events (especially for someone who wants everything to piece together). However, I could not find myself to put it down. If anything, Murakami was able to weave suspense in the undertones and interlock his audience with the element of surprise. Hey, if you thought you were getting used to the story, here’s this to mix it up a bit! 

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was somewhat suspenseful, at times horribly macabre, and unnaturally beautiful. It was insanely weird and mysterious….would I call it excellent? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Rating: ★★★★

Genre

Psychological fiction: (also psychological realism) is a literary genre that emphasizes interior characterization, as well as the motives, circumstances, and internal action which is derivative from and creates external action; not content to state what happens, it rather reveals and studies the motivation behind the …

Science fiction: fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planet

Fantastique: a subgenre of literary works characterized by the ambiguous presentation of seemingly supernatural forces.