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.
There's something wrong with this book. Maybe there's something wrong with me.
I don't know the cause but I violently disliked the majority of it. I usually love Murakami's wacky style so this repulsion surprised me.
The beginning started off promising, with the right amount of mystery, suspense, and craziness, but chapters later the story line had morphed into one huge jumble of words that seemed irrelevant. As I read I told myself "I have to wait and finish the book, I'll probably understand everything then." But no, this was a case of too many threads that stayed loose after the last sentence echoed away.
I'm sure there's a ton of readers out there who will disagree with me and who will fight for Murakami's literary honor, but did anyone out there find this book repetitive? The symbolism was worn and shabby, the characters dull, every other page was marred with gratuitous sex scenes. I know the sexuality is part of the plot, but there is a limit to how many underwear changes a character can go through in a novel. Sometimes I felt as if Murakami had a word limit he had to reach and so he added any random crap that came into his head. I know, I know, he's a master, blah, blah, blah. I would usually agree, but he does not get my vote with this book. I'm glad this was not the first book I read by him otherwise I wouldn't have picked up another. As it is, I will forgive and forget.
2 out of 5 stars