INCLUDES A READING GUIDE Toru Okada's cat has disappeared and this has unsettled his wife, who is herself growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has started receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada's vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, ...
INCLUDES A READING GUIDE Toru Okada's cat has disappeared and this has unsettled his wife, who is herself growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has started receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada's vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.
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This story is an exploration on the psychic connection between individuals. The Protagonist Okada meets a variety of characters throughout this story, which is structured in layers. Not one character he encounters is superfluous to the story line, It is presented like a master painting. Imagine Van Gogh's Starry Night without those golden swirly globes in the air. Murakami has presented his characters by letting them encounter their life experiences and brings them along with a multi-faceted ending. It is an unusual story, it is modern and it's very likable. I completed the book a week ago and I am still thinking about it.
Nov 12, 2007
Catch of the Day
As with most of Murakami?s work, the first two-thirds of his books are engaging. The ending doesn't strangle you with a conclusion, which leaves everything open for discussion (always the sign of a good book) Murakami creates characters with quirk, concepts that smack of the serial. It?s grand to read of the relationships he builds or tears down. I?ve always thought Murakami is the best writer of killing time. He has a knack for describing mundane tasks to give us an understanding of his characters.
This book is about more than a missing wife and the equally missing family cat. Murakami manages to inject an off-beat nymphet into each of his books and also throws in his unusual but captivating secondary character (this time the mute boy codenamed Cinnamon). Contemporary Japan, a flashback tale of an old war hero and an escort service are thrown in the mix. If this hits the spot, try 'Kafka on the Shore' and 'Sputnik Sweetheart', both by Murakami.
Apr 4, 2007
i started reading this as soon as i got it and im already more then half way done :p its such a good book, i would reccomend anything by haruki murakami to anyone i know, old people, young people, funny people, boring people, and even smelly people :p hahaha this is such and awsome book, though i must say that i do like Kafka on the Shore a bit more, but either way, they're both such very good books!!!
Mar 22, 2007
A Modern Classic
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an insane book. Both in its genius and in the way it breaks virtually every rule I have been taught about creative writing. On the surface, it is about Toru Okada, a man in his mid-thirties who has quit his job as a lawyer to stay at home and figure out what he wants to do with his life. He?s afforded this luxury because his wife Kumiko has a successful career of her own which adequately pays the bills.
Their cat, named after Kumiko?s brother Noboru Wataya (a rising political star who Toru loathes), disappears and Kumiko is upset about this, hiring a mysterious woman named Malta Kano to assist in the cat?s recovery. Soon after, Kumiko herself disappears, eventually getting word to him that she?s been unfaithful and wants to separate. This leads to a LOT of odd happenings, mostly dark and mystical. They include Toru befriending an amusing, morbid 16-year old neighborhood girl, a Lieutenant from WWII who has witnessed numerous war crimes, a psychic prostitute, wells, baseball bats and a litany of other things.
The titular wind-up bird, a bird whose song sounds like someone winding a spring, appears throughout the book (including most notably as Toru?s self-chosen nickname by May Kasahara, the sixteen-year old girl), as do other things like the song to the Thieving Magpie, a blue-black mark on several people?s faces. The story is essentially of people ? Kumiko and Toru, as well as many tertiary characters ? coming to grips with the responsibility of themselves, understanding their own darkness and doing what is necessary to move forward in life.
Not all of the pieces of the puzzle make sense initially, and others are never neatly wrapped up at the end of the book. It?s very easy to see how this could (should?) drive some readers mad, and be unsatisfying. And in truth, there are questions I?d love to know the answer to ? like Infinite Jest, it seems likely there are online groups to discuss some of these things, but I?m not quite willing to do that, as I?d rather stew on these things myself or let them stay unsolved.
Murakami is indeed a very talented writer, using simple prose to discuss the surreal, and adding an almost palpable level of darkness and menace. I read a review by Laura Miller on Salon.com where she referred to him as ?Paul Auster with a heart,? and that feels about right (and is unsurprisingly probably one reason I like his writing so much.) I will continue to read his works, even if I know I won?t always understand everything.
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