Item description for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (The Complete Classics) by Haruki Murakami & Rupert Degas...
Overview While searching for his missing wife, Japanese lawyer Toru Okada has strange experiences and meets strange characters. A woman wants phone sex, a man describes wartime torture, he finds himself at the bottom of a well. Part detective story, part philosophical meditation.
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Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 2.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 5.75" Weight: 1.55 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 2006
Publisher Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN 9626344180 ISBN13 9789626344187
Availability 0 units.
More About Haruki Murakami & Rupert Degas
HARUKI MURAKAMI was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and the most recent of his many international honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul.
Haruki Murakami currently resides in Oiso. Haruki Murakami was born in 1949.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (The Complete Classics)?
A Story with no Destination Jul 4, 2008
I can't ever remember reading a book that, on the one hand, describes so well the inanimate things, and yet, on the other hand, provides so little information about the characters themselves. Six hundred pages of "I don't know how I feel" or "There is no way I can explain it."
Toru Okada's (the main character) lacks a spine because his attitude toward life is one of surrender -- he's generally reactive, not proactive. We know virtually nothing about his wife, Kumiko, even though she is central to the story. We never find out why her brother, Noboru Wataya, is such a nasty SOB. We wonder what drives Malta and Creta Kano, who simply disappear from the story. May Kasahara, Toru's 16-year-old neighbor, is like a dog that chases its tail -- she'll still be a flake when she's 50 years old. Nutmeg and Cinnamon Akasaka -- oops, same thing -- 100 questions about who they are, but only a couple of answers.
Leaving a little something to the reader's imagination advances a story; leaving huge holes for the reader to fill in makes for a story that never reaches a destination. It's kind of like the comment: if you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else. And that's how I feel about this book.
I understand that there is a battle between the defilers and the defilees. But I have no idea how the hostility began or how/if it was definitively resolved. The stories told by Lieutenant Mamiya are the best part of the book. In a word, they are fantastic.
I had hoped for a strong ending that would clean up this mess. Oh well, wishful thinking.
A Fun Trip Jul 2, 2008
I guess I like his books so much because there is always hope I will understand one of them. Even if I don't, I find pleasure in his writing and the fun of TRYING to make sense of them.
I don't know why this book by Murakami was so difficult for me to get through. It is no more obtuse than the others of his I have read, but I could only take this in small doses. I rarely re-read a book but I may give this one another try in a few years. As I said, there's always hope.
Can't wait to read it again Jul 1, 2008
Like I said, it's so great I can't wait to let some of it fade then pick it up again in a few years. Some of the gory bits are hard to handle, but it's well worth it. It's longish, but I wished it would keep going at the end. He really lets you slip into the life of the main character, as surreal as it may be.
Meandering mess Jun 4, 2008
This book was recommended to me after I had made a recommendation for another Japanese author, Natsuo Kirino. Windup Bird begins with promise but after 400 or so pages you are still trying to figure out what the blazes is going on. After 500 pages, I'm too stubborn to stop; but, the last ten pages were absolute torture. There are many components and characters in the book, while I'm sure the author thought would be interesting, were plain silly making little sense. Natsuo Kirino's "Out" would be time better spent.
Basically, a conundrum Apr 23, 2008
At once strange, fantastic, logical, philosopical, existential, historical, this novel winds you up in perplexity and understanding, confusion and awareness, and subtly forces you into the realms of being you have yet explored. Certainly, this is what the protagonist, Toru Okada, is undergoing as you read one disconnected encounter after another as he goes about, in a very uneasy and slow journey, at first in search for his lost cat, then his lost wife.
It is almost impossible to chronicle all the characters and encounters here, amongst them a prophesying fortune-telling woman, her sister, both eccentric; Noburu Wataya, Toru's wife's brother, with his stiff uniformity and intelligence, looming presence and snobbery; a Lieutenant and his horrifying and painful close encounters in Manchuria during the war(WW2); a stranger and her son, nicknamed Nutmeg and Cinnamon respectively, and how they assisted in saving Toru from the brink of existential loss are among some of the colourful and fantastic characters you'll ever encounter.
One after another, the events may seem random at most, seemingly having no place in the life of Toru. Of course they take place after one another but a questioning reader may wonder why they even appear at all. The answer to this is simply that, no reason at all. This novel is an exercise in existential self-questioning and is a bitter indirect satire at not just Japanese society, but modern society.
Toru's idleness for instance, is a quiet take at modern society's conception of work and all the over-importance we have assigned to it. But if not work, then where are we to search for meaning? Here comes Creta Kano, the prophesying fortune-telling woman who in some ways represent religion. Each characters is in some way, a symbolism. Noburu Wataya, for example, represents the dogmatic beaureaucratic worker, his looming presence is a mockery of government, his fate, well you'll find out in the end.
Lieutenant Mamiya, arguably the most futile character, represents a Japan unable to come to terms with its past. What about the cat then, you ask? That's for you to find out. For me though, it represents Nature. So where do we go from here? Nowhere. This book argues and raises our consciousness that perhaps for all the bustle and activity that takes place in our lives, perhaps only a few, if anything, really is of particularly any importance.