Monday, 25 March 2013

Review of 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle' by Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird ChronicleThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a weird book. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles is long and rambling, full of diversions and sub-stories, complex, and actually quite charming.

The novel could be described as magical realism, but includes historical fiction (focusing particularly on the Manchurian Crisis, Communism, World War Two), love stories, and war stories. What starts off as a simple problem (the main guy, unemployed Toru Okada, loses his cat) quickly escalates as he goes on to lose his wife, and then gets involved with various characters with their own stories to tell, and then has a series of symbolic supernatural encounters which throw him against self-doubt, the claws of history, and his powerful brother-in-law.

I came away feeling that there's more to the book than I had taken from it, that perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to appreciate how much genius is in there. I do know that I didn't want to stop reading it, and that the book's imagery, cultural-historical descriptions, and mini-narratives made an impression on me.

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