What I Read: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

So I finished this a while ago, but it was before I started blogging again and I forgot about it. It’s not young adult or children’s, so that’s a nice change for this blog. (It’s not my fault I got a bunch of free YA books, okay?) (Also, now I have a New York Public Library card so I’ll read more grown-up books. Especially since I’m still unemployed.) (…someone employ me.)

Title: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Author: Haruki Murakami

This is the first Murakami work I’ve read and I really didn’t have any expectations when I started. Somehow I’d also been living under a rock and didn’t know anything about Murakami. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because this book was super weird and it was nice that that weirdness wasn’t spoiled. (…sorry, people who read my blog and don’t know that Murakami is weird sometimes.)

By weird, I mean surreal. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is super duper surreal. It’s the story of Toru Okada. While he is unemployed his cat runs away, and then his wife never comes home from work. Plot-wise the story is his search for both the cat and his wife. But along the way Toru meets all sorts of interesting characters, from psychics to a strange teenage girl to a former soldier.

It was really really good. It took me a long time to get through it, though. The book is 624 pages long and it isn’t an action-filled book so sometimes the going is slow. While I was reading it I read other books, which is a habit I’ve only recently adopted. Its biggest fault, probably, is the length and the slowness but to be honest, that fit so well with the surreal tone that I wouldn’t have it another way. Also magical realism, yay!

Favorite Quotes: 

“The sky was painted over, a perfect uniform gray. On days like this the clouds probably absorbed the sounds from the surface of the earth. And not just sounds. All kinds of things. Perceptions, for example” (58).

“Maybe when people take their eyes off them, inanimate objects become even more inanimate” (65).

“‘Oh, well, never mind,’ she said, her voice like a little broom sweeping off the dust that had piled up on the slats of a Venetian blind” (130).

I guess time doesn’t flow in order, does it–A, B, C, D? It just sort of goes where it feels like going” (449).

We think it’s only natural to get rice pudding after we put rice pudding mix in the microwave and the bell rings, but to me that’s just a presumption. I would be kind of relieved if, every once in a while, after you put rice pudding mix in the microwave and it rang and you opened the top, you got macaroni gratin” (461).

I think probably you can tell a lot about the feeling of the book after reading those quotes. Anyway, really well-written, super interesting, go read it. 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Quick note, though, don’t read the Kindle edition. It’s riddled with errors because the book was published before digital files were the norm. Buy the actual book.

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