The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force—and one of Haruki Murakami’s most acclaimed and beloved novels.
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 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.
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.
After his wife disappears, unemployed 30-year-old paralegal Toru Okada gets embroiled in a surreal, sprawling drama--part detective story, part history lesson, part metaphysical speculation, part satire--that marks Japanese novelist Murakami's (Dance Dance Dance) most ambitious work to date. As Okada searches for his wife (in an abandoned lot near his home, and in a city park), he encounters characters who are dream-like projections of his own muted fears and desires--among them, a precocious, death-obsessed, 16-year-old neighbor and Okada's brother-in-law, a sinister politician. Peculiar events and strange coincidences abound. A mysterious woman calls Okada regularly, insisting on phone sex. A mystical experience at the bottom of a dry well leaves him with a blue stain on his cheek. Although Okada seems to be sleepwalking through his adventures, new acquaintances feel compelled to share their life stories with him and offer wild tales of violence and passion, tales that contrast strongly with the numbness that settles like a DeLillo-esque cloud over the novel's events (one character, witness to gruesome wartime torture, speaks of having "burned up the very core of my life"). As Okada discovers, these disparate characters are linked by the memory of the 1939 massacre of Japanese troops by Soviet tanks at Nomonhan on the Manchurian border, and this massacre comes to symbolize the senseless violence and political evils, past and present, that haunt Japan in the second half of the 20th century. Ingeniously, Murakami links history to a detective story that uses a mannered realism and metaphysical speculation to catapult the narrator into the surreal place where mysteries are solved and evil is confronted.
Layers and layers of amazing storytelling.
Literally my favorite book!
This book is beautifully written. I love how this book allows you to connect emotionally to the characters and story as you read along. It’s such a great book! I couldn’t put it down. It has become my all time favorite book. I recommend to literally everyone.
I’ll Have to Think About This
A well in which to think.
I skipped over the vivid description of being flayed alive.
Brother-in-law gets what’s coming.