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review 2018-07-18 12:28
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

Try as I might, I still can’t work out this book. I finished it a week or more ago and it still doesn’t make all that much sense to me. With that said and the litany of reviews out there concerning it, I’m going to make this review fairly short.

 

The plots starts out strangely, in true Murakami style, with the protagonist, Okada, searching for his missing cat. This in itself isn’t that strange, but soon after he receives a call from a woman who apparently wants phone sex. He hangs up, but she continues to call and even at this point, having read the whole book, I fail to see the reasoning behind it. Perhaps it was simply done to set the tone. Who knows when it comes to Murakami?

 

After this point things get odder and all the while, Okada is searching for his missing cat. From the outset we learn that he’s inextricably tied up with his wife’s brother, a dark ominous figure who continues to make his presence known throughout.

 

I really don’t know what to say about this. I’m wracking my brains here but I keep coming up empty. I found the experience of reading another otherworldly offering from Murakami a bit like the time I read Kafka on the Shore. It was largely about reality and was set in a place where two very different types of reality met. It was about disconnection and trying to reconnect. It also had the theme of war running throughout it. The war had little relevance to Okada, but the host of characters he met were in some way connected with it. It served to highlight how we all live in a very different reality to one another and the struggle we face when we try to connect those two.

 

Largely relationships were used to highlight an ever-increasing divide between each other. Be it from the strange relationships that were made, or the ones that fell apart i.e. Okada and his wife.

 

I’m not going to bother trying to wrack my brains any further to find the hidden meaning. It just didn’t work for me. Existential stuff is great on the surface, but it always falls flat for me. If you like all that magical realism stuff, though, I’m sure you’d love this. I just happen to like my books to reflect the real world a little more. I did like it, I just didn’t love it.

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text 2018-07-02 13:46
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

I finally finished it!! It only took me, what, a couple of months!? don't  really know how I feel about it. At this point I'm thinking, yeah, it was good, but it wasn't that good. I'll leave it a couple of days to write my review.

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text 2018-06-20 15:26
Reading progress update: I've read 69%.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

I had a good think and I really want to finish it, so I'm diving back into a lot of strange.

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review 2018-06-15 15:54
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World / Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.

 

I’m not sure what to say about this book, beside the fact that it is not really my cuppa tea. Not that I disliked it, I often found it amusing and I easily read to the end, no arm twisting necessary. But it certainly wouldn’t encourage me to pick up more of this author’s works.

It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of things, the chapters alternating between two narrators. Both story lines felt a bit odd to me, despite my love of fantasy fiction. But it was interesting in its nonconformity to traditional fantasy plots. Neither narrator is really very heroic, none of the women are portrayed as serious love interests, the reasons for the adventures are largely undefined, plus there is very little wrap-up at book’s end.

Interestingly, none the characters have names—they are referred to by title (the old man, the chubby girl, the librarian, etc.). Which I guess makes sense, as I assume that they are all parts of the same brain! At least it seemed to me that the point of the book was to explore the idea of the unconscious and how it interacts with the conscious mind.

Pluses? Unicorns! Even if they were kind of sad and decrepit unicorns, they were still unicorns. And who doesn’t love enemies like the INKlings who worship a large fish with violent tendencies? Also, the narrator’s fondness for the librarian. Good taste that.

Book number 287 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2018-06-08 17:42
Reading progress update: I've read 186 out of 400 pages.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

 

Very unconventional and amusing. Not sure how I feel about his female characters, however.

 

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