The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – A Book Review

Goodreads Summary–

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

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.”

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SPOILER ALERT – if you plan on reading the book please stop here!

The Good–

The writing style is absolutely dream-like. Murakami builds the story line up slowly and tactfully and there is a reason for everything. The details in his descriptions are also on point and although the story line is slow to develop it still is somehow very captivating. I also don’t like magical realism but this did not feel fantastical or confusing. Anyone remember having to read One Thousand Years of Solitude in Lit? Definitely not my cup of tea. I was also a huge fan of the plot. It was a story about a man who had been abandoned by his wife. He meets many intriguing characters along the way, such as a 16-year old girl, a veteran, his wife’s crazy politically famous brother as well as a prostitute. All these seemingly unrelated story lines come together beautifully through the perspective of Mr. Okada who is trying to figure this all out as we are. It’s nice because it doesn’t feel like as the reader you are clueless. You are clueless but so is the main character so its like figuring out a mystery together.

The Bad–

The book is a bit slow to get a grasp on. There are times where you wonder what the heck is going on, like the first time Mr. Okada went into the well. There are also moments of utter confusion such as when he receives the bizzare mystery phone calls and visitors. Really though, the only bad part I saw was that I wasn’t used to Haruki Murakami’s style. But, once you get used to it and let your questions go, the story takes a natural progression.

Overall, I would rate this book a 9/10. Great read!

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