The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
A "dreamlike and compelling” tour de force (Chicago Tribune)—an astonishingly imaginative detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets from Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria during World War II.
In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat—and then for his wife as well—in a netherworld beneath the city’s placid surface. As these searches intersect, he encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists. Gripping, prophetic, and suffused with comedy and menace, this is one of Haruki Murakami’s most acclaimed and beloved novels.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In the blink of an eye, Toru Okada's ordinary domestic world is upended. Much of the thrill of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle lies in how mild-mannered Okada reacts to the avalanche of mystical weirdness he shakes loose when he sets out in search of his cat and wife. But author Haruki Murakami also colors his hero's suburban Tokyo surroundings with such rich detail that it blurs the line between reality and bizarro fantasy. Add to this a blithe, sinister antagonist, and Chronicle is an epic feast for the imagination.
A perfect book for our times, a modern Through the Looking Glass in many ways. Better than any counseling to allow me to accept that nothing may be as it first seems again.
Layers and layers of amazing storytelling.
Being and Nothingness
The plot, through line, and character arcs in this book amount to one giant existentialist dream. Every page is dripping with phenomenological explorations of contemporary existence and relationships. The reader is not just an observer but a layer on which some of the exploits play out. You have to resist being pulled into the drama.
At every point Murakami blurs the line between dreams and reality. This duality is best captured in a line later in the book where a character states that “…truth was not necessarily fact and fact not necessarily truth.” Likewise in this book life is observed in its essence and not in the literal play by play experience.
Add in the perspectives of many untrustworthy narratives and the oddly inserted perspectives from newspapers and other characters, and you end up with chaos swirling in the mind. I felt like I was sitting on the ground in a field, wind swirling everything around me, trying to navigate calmly through this maze of wonder. I see now why Murakami is so celebrated, even if you need a way finder to navigate the plot.