Monday, March 8, 2010

REVIEW: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

As always, it is very difficult to describe a book by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. He is so artful of painting this vividly surreal world planted in a 'normal' one. This book follows Toru Okada, an unemployed thirty year old who lives in suburbian Japan with his wife and cat. Then things begin to unravel. First the cat disappears, and then the wife. Through his journey to find out what is going on and attempt to bring his wife back, he meets a colorful group of characters. Sisters Malta and Creta Kano, who were brought in to help find the cat but know more about the situation than they are letting on. A WW2 veteran who lost a part of himself during the war. A woman who has strange powers and her son who doesn't speak. And probably greatest of all is his wife's brother, Noboru Wataya, whose role in all of this may be just a bit more sinister than ever imagined. Once again an excellent book by Murakami!

My rating: 4 stars

Other books to consider: Norwegian Wood and A Wild Sheep Chase, both by Murakami

A bit about the author:
Haruki Murakami is considered an important figure in postmodern literature, and The Guardian has praised him as one of the "world's greatest living novelists." He was born in post WW2 Japan and is the son of a Buddhist priest and daughter of a merchant, but both parents taught Japanese Literature. Murakami's fiction, often criticized by Japan's literary establishment, is humorous and surreal, and at the same time digresses on themes of alienation and loneliness. Through his work, he was able to capture the spiritual emptiness of his generation and explore the negative effects of Japan's work-dominated mentality. His writing criticizes the decline in human values and a loss of connection among people in Japan's society.

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