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Grammath

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Initial thoughts

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I'll confess that I nominated this novel without having previously read it. However, Murakami is among my very favourite authors and, critically at least, this is often regarded as one of his very finest novels, so I had high hopes for it.

At over 600 pages, I think this is Murakami's longest book to date. This is a rambling novel, both in terms of the glacial pace at which events unfold and its digressions into the past. My guess is those past events are meant to provide echoes of those in the book's present, but with the ever mysterious Murakami I couldn't be certain.

Describing the plot is difficult; this novel is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. Toru Okada is a typical Murakami narrator - unemployed, apathetic and swept along by the increasingly bizarre happenings around him. Even the goadings of teenage neighbour May Kasahara don't seem to get a rise out of him.

The novel opens with the disappearance of the Okadas' cat, named after Toru's politician brother-in-law Noboru Wataya, a man whom the normally laid back Toru hates with a passion. After initial searches prove fruitless Kumiko, Toru's wife, brings in a clairvoyant, Malta Kano, to help. Then, more seriously, Kumiko also vanishes. At the same time, Toru is receiving anonymous 'phone calls from a woman who claims to know him well.

Throw in the grisly stories about Malta Kano's one time prostitute sister Creta and, war veteran Lieutenant Mamiya's tales of his time on the Mongolia/Manchuria border in the 1930s Sino-Japanese war and subsequent imprisonment, Toru's increasingly explicit dreams and the strangle blue patch on his cheek that appears from nowhere, the silent Cinnamon Akahasa and his wealthy mother Nutmeg, the apparent possessor of spiritual powers and witness of a massacre of zoo animals during the same war and you have a novel full of tangled threads that sort of resolve themselves in a denouement in the mysterious Room 208.

Perhaps the novel's reputation rests on the fact that this is the most Murakami-esque of Murakami novels. The atmosphere of a Murakami story is not quite like those by any other writer I've come across - apparently simple prose describing hauntingly surreal worlds of mystery, unease and tension and full of philosophizing characters - and, of the five books of his I've read, this is the most extreme example I've come across so far.

I can't tell you even a week after finishing it if "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle" is a work of profound genius or self-indulgence. Possibly, it is both.

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My theres a book that i had forgotten but i remember - i dont think it can be described better than (and i quote from you) - a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

 

What can i say i liked it, im not sure i understood it, but whats not to like about a man who hides in a dried up well to do some thinking !

 

I have even tried some of his other books (Norweigian wood ?) but in all honesty have never managed to finish one !

 

Not for the feint hearted yet somehow i am fond of it

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This is a rambling novel, both in terms of the glacial pace at which events unfold and its digressions into the past. My guess is those past events are meant to provide echoes of those in the book's present, but with the ever mysterious Murakami I couldn't be certain.

 

I thought the novel was rambling too. I really love his writing, I can read one of his novels all day and lose track of the time but this one I never knew where I was or what was going to happen next. It is very unpredictable which is good! But a bit too much I thought. At the end of the day, something unusual is always good to read but you do need that anchor to kind of keep you in the book. Although I read the entire book I would give it a 6 out of a 10 on my scale for a book. You can't deny he's a brilliant writer and it seems so effortless for him. This book though was a bit long winded and confusing.

 

I have read Norwegian wood and Kafka on the shore and I loved those. You always feel like your having a dream when you read one of his books. Things are just veiled in mystery and not what they seem. And his writing always has some kind of whimsical, fantasy element which I like. I also have Blind willow, sleeping woman which is a collection of short stories that he wrote, I think he got the idea for Norwegian wood from one of them but that mind be another collection. I've read about half of it and the stories vary from very random and confusing to very good! That's not a put down for him, it's a compliment, keeps the old brain active :)

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I love the strange ethereal atmosphere he is capable of creating without airy fairy language, it is a genuine skill i have never found in an author before (although maybe I'm just not as well read as i thought- i don't know). I am enjoying his meandering storyline but as i read a section every few days, i sometimes get a bit lost as the story can be quite convoluted; things that were part of the story get dropped and seemingly loose relevance... :confused:

Anyway still enjoying the book. I also enjoyed after dark by the same author... Are there any other authors with the ability to create this semi dream world? I have been looking but cannot find them...

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      megustaleer 16th June 2006 08:56 AM

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      Momo 16th June 2006 01:45 PM

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      belwebb 16th June 2006 05:28 PM
       
       
       
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