The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: A Novel

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The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: A Novel

by Haruki Murakami

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | September 1, 1998 | Trade Paperback

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: A Novel is rated 4.5714 out of 5 by 7.
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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 624 pages, 7.97 × 5.2 × 1.4 in

Published: September 1, 1998

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679775439

ISBN - 13: 9780679775430

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brace your self for another mind boggling, f$%k of tale! Murakami once again hurls his audience into a dark and bold novel of modern Japan. In the span of well over 600 pages, he seamlessly weaves an intricate web of Japans dark history in World II into a refined, page-turning detective, mystical story about a simple man named Toru Okada who undergoes a series of life changes that eventually lead him into an underworld where he searches for answers revolving around the wife that left him, the significance of a bird whose presence is affiliated with impending doom, and a house that ruins the lives of those who inhabit it. Once again, Murakami brings to the table his fine ability to tell a story that dwells deep into the pysche, leaving the reader with questions unanswered. As in most of his novels, he explores such compelling themes such as isolation, existentialism, and reality vs. fantasy in greater depth and presents them in a variety of strange, yet apathetic characters. The story is balanced carefully between intriguing conversations, horrific stories from Japan's involvement in Manchukuo, bizarre dream sequences, personal thoughts about the meaning of life and finally...everyday routines. Yes. Don't expect the story to go by without Murakami's signature - bringing out lifes' most serene qualities with the utmost descriptive narrating. There are plenty of cooking, cleaning, walking, and leisurely scenes littered through out the story which only serve to bring out the disturbingly calm realism of a day in the life of an ordinary person, thus, causing the reader to sympathize towards the protagonist of the story. So if you like cooking, sex-craved emotionally disturbed women who hang around you 24/7, rhythmic story-telling, human mutilation, metaphysics, pitch black rooms, and the feeling that the world inside a novel is reaching it's 'long arms' to slap you in the face and challenge you to question the nature of your very own existence here on Earth, then I encourage you to go get your copy. This bird will wind you into something alright... ;)
Date published: 2015-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing My favorite book of the year, an dreamy surrealist tale.
Date published: 2014-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Audio book version got me through this Toru Okada is in the midst of much more than a mid-life crisis. He quit his legal job and has yet to search for a new position. His wife, Kumiko, has been acting out of character and is fretting about their lost cat. To top it all off, an unknown woman has been calling him on the phone and is making very suggestive conversation. I listened to the Naxos Audiobook version read by Rupert Degas. Great job on the various characters. I had no trouble telling when characters changed. At 26 hours, this is a very long story, though it seemed as though it was several novellas all linked together by common elements of flow and water. Mr. Murakami has put together a most unlikely group of characters. Right from the first, I didn't like Kumiko's brother , Noboru Wataya. He didn't seem to have any human qualities. More a logic machine than something alive. May Kasahara was a gem. She was that precocious teen that had a question about everything and wanted a true answer. I looked forward to her appearance in the story. I think that my favourite character was Lieutenant Mamiya. When he told a story, I wanted to pull over to the side of the road and just listen. I didn't want to have to pay attention to the traffic; I just wanted to listen. His stories were fascinating and quite likely could have been true. It was interesting that while Toru was trying to hang onto his marriage, all sorts of other females kept intruding into his life. May, the unusual physic sisters Malta and Creta and the mysterious Nutmeg. With no attempt at enticing them, all these women seemed to flock toward him. Why? All in all, I found this an unusual book. It kept coming back to 'flow'. That un-resolved issues in Toru's life had interrupted his 'flow' and that until he corrected them, his life would not be settled. I would have had a hard time reading a paper version of this book. It wasn't something I could listen to in huge chunks of time, but rather for shorter periods, with lots of time to digest what had happened in the various chapters. If you have tried to read the book and found it hard to stick with, give the audio book a try in smaller bits. It worked for me.
Date published: 2011-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Let the bird wind you up for your journey I get bored by chunky passages of descriptions on appearances, sceneries or tasks in fiction novels. Being a 600-pager, "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" does have a good portion of detailed words, yet I enjoyed every use of them. Murakami writes of daily regular routines or of things resembling some sort of normalcy, with partly supernatural elements (this is normal?!) and with fascinating characters. Damaged, regretful, strong-willed, naive, loving - all common people. He creates events that lead them towards becoming extraordinary. Stories within stories, there is a variety for the reader and the passing of each one builds this chronicle of Toru Okada's journey to an accustomed life once more. The author never ceases to amaze me. This is but my second one, and I will be sure to read others of his even more now.
Date published: 2010-04-11
Rated out of 5 by from Good The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is a long novel that is 607 pages, but it is written very well with a great amount of details just where they are needed. It is similar to a detective story, where the protagonist goes on a chase, first for his missing cat, and next for his missing wife. I did not like the ending so much because it did not give proper closure of the lives of the many people that were seen throughout the novel. Toru Okada quits his job one day because he feels that he is not satisfied with it. His cat soon goes missing and that starts his peculiar adventure. Soon after, his wife Kumiko disappears as well. Toru Okada meets many odd people in his quest to find his cat and wife. There is Malta Kano, a psychic; Creta Kana, a psychic prostitute, who declares that she was raped by Kumiko's brother, Noboru Wataya; May Kasahara, a troubled teen that is Okada’s neighbour; Lieutenant Mamiya, a soldier that tells about WWII; Nutmeg Akasaka, a secretive healer; and Cinnamon Akasaka, Nutmeg's son that stopped talking when he was a child. There are strange coincidences that link these people together. The wind-up bird that is heard throughout the novel and refers to an odd and unseen bird, whose sounds are only heard. The wind-up bird foreshadows evil. Okada feels that the bird turns the spring of the world to keep it going, because that is what it sounds like. Will Okada ever find his missing cat and wife? Does Noboru Wataya have anything to do in the matter? What do the many strange individuals that Okada met have in common? Discover a strange world that Okada uncovers through the numerous individuals that he meets. I enjoyed Haruki Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World better because it was more interesting and shorter.
Date published: 2008-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible! This is an wonderful story and very well told. I wasn't always sure where the story was going but it was always an engrossing, fascinating read.
Date published: 2006-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Brilliant Murakami is a genius: he writes about things so fantastic yet absolutely ordinary at the same time.
Date published: 2006-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A DEEP DESIRE QUENCHED There are a hand full of books that dare to provoke such lucid and engaging a world for ones minds eye to venture. Murakami is for me what no other literature or film of late has been capable of achieving. He is a true master who paints telling worlds in broad strokes with characters some we have known, some we have read and some unlike any. They are souls and details that weave simple yet complex intersecting stories of mystery, love, wonderment, memory and loss. The man does not skim or fluff such common themes. He is a master of twisting and redifing archetype. Just read the darn thing
Date published: 2001-04-30

– More About This Product –

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: A Novel

by Haruki Murakami

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 624 pages, 7.97 × 5.2 × 1.4 in

Published: September 1, 1998

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679775439

ISBN - 13: 9780679775430

Read from the Book

Book One: The Thieving Magpie June and July 1984 1 Tuesday''s Wind-Up Bird • Six Fingers and Four Breasts When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini''s The Thieving Magpie , which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta. I wanted to ignore the phone, not only because the spaghetti was nearly done, but because Claudio Abbado was bringing the London Symphony to its musical climax. Finally, though, I had to give in. It could have been somebody with news of a job opening. I lowered the flame, went to the living room, and picked up the receiver. "Ten minutes, please," said a woman on the other end. I''m good at recognizing people''s voices, but this was not one I knew. "Excuse me? To whom did you wish to speak?" "To you , of course. Ten minutes, please. That''s all we need to understand each other." Her voice was low and soft but otherwise nondescript. "Understand each other?" "Each other''s feelings." I leaned over and peeked through the kitchen door. The spaghetti pot was steaming nicely, and Claudio Abbado was still conducting The Thieving Magpie . "Sorry, but you caught me in the middle of making spaghetti. Can I ask you to call back later?" "Spaghetti? What are you doing cooking spaghetti at ten-thirty in the morning?" "That''s none of your business," I said. " I decide what I eat and
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From the Publisher

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.

From the Jacket

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.

About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo.  The most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe.  He is the author of the novels Dance, Dance, Dance, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and A Wild Sheep Chase, and of The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of stories.  His latest novel, South of the Border, West of the Sun, will be published by Knopf in 1999.  His work has been translated into more than fifty languages.

From Our Editors

Toru Okada's search for his wife's missing cat leads him into an unimagined world beneath Tokyo's unruffled suburbs. Psychic prostitutes, gruesome teenagers and damaging politicians people this strange underworld, and an aging war veteran haunted by Japan's campaign in Manchuria. This highly-imaginative novel is at once a gripping detective tale and a moving look at the Second World War's hidden secrets. Haruki Murakami, Japan's most highly-regarded living novelist, weaves a gripping, dream-like tale in his widely acclaimed The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.

Editorial Reviews

“Dreamlike and compelling. . . . Murakami is a genius.” —Chicago Tribune

“Mesmerizing. . . . Murakami’s most ambitious attempt yet to stuff all of modern Japan into a single fictional edifice.” —The Washington Post Book World

“A significant advance in Murakami’s art . . . a bold and generous book.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A stunning work of art . . . that bears no comparisons.” —New York Observer

“With The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Murakami spreads his brilliant, fantastical wings and soars.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Seductive. . . . A labyrinth designed by a master, at once familiar and irresistibly strange.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“An epic . . . as sculpted and implacable as a bird by Brancusi.” —New York Magazine

“Mesmerizing, original . . . fascinating, daring, mysterious and profoundly rewarding.” —Baltimore Sun

“A beguiling sense of mystery suffuses The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and draws us irresistibly and ever deeper into the phantasmagoria of pain and memory. . . . Compelling [and] convincing.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Digs relentlessly into the buried secrets of Japan’s past . . . brilliantly translated into the latest vernacular.” —Pico Iyer, Time