Customer Reviews for

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

Haruki Murakami is known for his casual narration, his lack of conventional plot structure, and for the many metaphysical happenings in his books that more often than not go completely unexplained. The latter of these things may seem off-putting to a first time reader,...
Haruki Murakami is known for his casual narration, his lack of conventional plot structure, and for the many metaphysical happenings in his books that more often than not go completely unexplained. The latter of these things may seem off-putting to a first time reader, but I think of this as a strength. To put it another way, finishing a novel by Haruki Murakami is like awakening from a dream that you know instantly was important and meaningful, but whose meaning still remains unclear. It is a powerful experience, and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is among his deepest and most complex works. The plot is centered around Toru Okada, who wakes up one day to find that not only has his cat gone missing, but his wife has left him, disappearing without a trace or a reason. As Okada seeks to find her and to reconcile with her, he meets many unusual people who either help or hinder his progress: sisters Creta and Malta Kano, the former of whom describes herself as a 'prostitute of the mind'...a wealthy former fashionista identified only as Nutmeg, and her deaf son Cinnamon...war veteran Lt. Mamiya who survived an encounter in World War II but still feels his life has been taken from him...opinionated teenager May Kasahara who lives in his neighborhood...and his well-known politician brother-in-law, Noboru Wataya. Hovering aroung this narrative is a mysterious bird, often heard but never seen, that Okada feels is winding the world's springs, ensuring that reality continues another day. The story culminates in a most likely metaphysical hotel that can only be reached by descending to the bottom of a dried-up well. There are many side stories and characters that make the book more interesting, giving it more depth and casting different lights on the situations. And while the ending is open to interpretation of the reader, it is a satisfying and ultimately victorious ending, for in many cases Murakami deals not with achieving success at life, but at achieving success at being able to live. Subtle and complex, this is perhaps the greatest of Haruki Murakami's works.

posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A Trainwreck Garbed in Pseudo-Surrealism

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle would not be a bad book if the first 150 pages and the last 60 pages were removed from its current edition. Put simply, it is a miserably convulted book with vague and often unbelievable (I'm quite sure even surrealists were lost several times...
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle would not be a bad book if the first 150 pages and the last 60 pages were removed from its current edition. Put simply, it is a miserably convulted book with vague and often unbelievable (I'm quite sure even surrealists were lost several times) plot "twists" that chop the rhythm of the novel into a clunking mass, slowing down just as the reader is finally starting to get red-cheeked. Though Murakami's style has been compared to that of Thomas Pynchon, this book alone seems to be more than enough to disprove any allegation of the sort.

The beginning of the text is boring but promising, making you believe that soon you'll be given something really worth while. However, the reader is only rewarded with a good bit of writing that, while skillfully penned in terms of composition, leaves them feeling as if sections of the book (primarily those explaining major plot elements) have been ripped from their copy. Characters walk in and out of view all at once with little or no introduction and, in what appears to be the author's last-ditch effort to suddenly correct this, suddenly decide to spill every personal detail save their shoe size and PIN number with the main character 200 pages later.

While many Kafka readers will be drawn to the feeling of unnatural normalcy that Murakami's work usually exudes, they will starve to death trying to leech off of the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. There's nothing to see or read here except a series of unorganised events.

posted by HaydenDerk on April 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Review of a review

    It's wicked annoying when you give away things that happen in the book. A review is a review - not a book report. I'm so angry because I was about to buy this book. Don't tell me that some characters aren't important - let me figure that out ON MY OWN.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 31, 2012

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