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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (ねじまき鳥クロニクル #1-3)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  137,029 Ratings  ·  9,318 Reviews
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 h
Paperback, 607 pages
Published 1997 by Knopf (first published 1994)
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Dario Zampetti I feel myself squeezed in between different feelings. Even if I found this book so well written to keep myself going on reading like crazy, I consider…moreI feel myself squeezed in between different feelings. Even if I found this book so well written to keep myself going on reading like crazy, I consider the plot totally pointless.
The author starts a long series of circles without really closing many. The story doesn't stand, it doesn't go anywhere. Characters are thrown in form every angle without any particular reason.
A total plot collapse since the Nutmeg entering, running to an end which explains nearly zero.
Even if, I must say I enjoyed reading it. (less)
Mkfs I liked Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Wild Sheep Chase, and Kafka on the Shore better than this one. It's about on par with Sputnik…moreI liked Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Wild Sheep Chase, and Kafka on the Shore better than this one. It's about on par with Sputnik Sweetheart and Dance, Dance, Dance, maybe a little better. Much better than South of the Border, West of the Sun. I didn't read Norwegian Wood, as I'm not about to read a book by this guy that's named after a Beatles song. His fixation on 60s-era pop music is bad enough already, without devoting an entire novel to the topic.(less)
Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
2nd out of 490 books — 2,240 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
247th out of 43,321 books — 162,151 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Dec 04, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I had been wondering where my cat was when the phone rang. It was a woman offering to have no strings sex with me. I made some non-committal remarks to her and put the receiver down. I hate those cold callers. I had nothing to do that day, or any other day, so I walked down the back alley and fell into a desultory conversation with a random 16 year old girl who had a wooden leg and a parrot on her shoulder. She suggested I help her make some easy money by counting bald people. That sounded about ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Megha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, kickass

A part of me wishes that I hadn't read it yet so I could still read it for the first time and be mesmerized.

It is quiet difficult for me to describe what this book was like. It is surreal and psychedelic. It is mysterious, something out of this world. You just need to stop questioning things and let yourself get carried away. It begins with a seemingly ordinary day in the life of a very ordinary man. But things only gets strange and stranger from there - dreams spill into reality, lines between
Apr 20, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone open to the odd. Those that can handle mixed, random plots

You, the politician with the psychopath eyes on the T.V.! I hate you!

Russian scheming

Where the fuck is my cat?!!! And why did I name him after you Mr. Psychopath EYES!


Zoo animals?

My dreams are wack, yo – but WAIT! Are they really dreams?! No way man, I totally did it with her for real.

Skinning people alive

Wacky woman with the Huge red hat, tell me! Are you a psychic OR ARE YOU NOT?!

What a cool walkway between the HOUSES!

telephonetelephoneRing, Ring, Ring: Hellloooo -
Dec 06, 2008 Imogen rated it did not like it
Y'know what? I give up. I'm never going to finish this. I don't think Murakami's a hack, and I know that everybody except me thinks he's a genius, and I also understand- or, more specifically, have had it angrily explained to me- that my dislike for Murakami has to do with me being an American asshole who can't see through her own cultural imperialism enough to appreciate the way Japanese people like Murakami write novels. I acknowledge all these things.

But at the same time, nothing about this w
I absolutely adored the book upon starting out. It is exquisitely crafted, with each seemingly casual word chosen to illustrate the world into which we have entered. It is a lonely world full of half finished stories, abrupt departures, missed connections and deep silences. "Poor Mr. Wind-Up Bird," lives on an alley with no exits, in a borrowed life that he could never afford to live without the kindness of his uncle. He's just quit his job, as he has no idea of where to go with his life, but is ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Zach rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, hated
This book has received praise from many circles, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Wind-Up Bird was also considered a New York Times Notable Book the year it was published, and it earned Murakami, the author, a serious literary award presented by the Japanese Nobel Prize winning author Kenzaburo Oe. To top it off, most of the reviews on Goodreads are filled to bursting with lavish praise for both Murakami and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. But, less than ...more
Ian Grayjoy
Original Review: February 22, 2011

Songs of Fascination

Murakami sings to me of fascination. I still haven't worked out why.

I could analyse the sensation until it died on the operating table.

Or I could focus on just keeping the sensation alive.

Or, somewhere in between, I could speculate that it's because Murakami sits over the top of modern culture like a thin gossamer web, intersecting with and touching everything ever so lightly, subtly expropriating what he needs, bringing it back to his writer
Dan Schwent
Sep 12, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Jobless, Toru Okada spends most of his days searching for his missing cat. Until his wife goes missing as well. Why did she leave? Did she ever love him? And can Toru navigate an ocean of strangeness to get her back?

Back when I first joined Goodreads, one of the first things I noticed was how a novel I'd never heard of, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, got so much praise from Goodreaders. Was it hype? Or worse, was it just hipster bullshit? You know what I'm talking about. "I only read novels that ha
Seth T.
Feb 08, 2013 Seth T. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone smarter than a bag of hammers
Shelves: bookclub
Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is actually probably the best novel I've read in a long time. Granted, many of the novels I've read over the last two years have not been spectacular. There was The Lovely Bones. And then The Ass and the Angel. And then His Dark Materials. And others, none of which I would recommend spending any time with.

Wind-Up Bird on the other hand was worth every moment spent burning through its 610 pages. It was mysterious, absorbing, and informative. Murakami writes i
If I were to use only one word to describe this book, I would type the word 'brilliant' a million times with each letter in CAPITALS and fill up the entire word length of this particular space.

In all its sensitivity, emotional depth and keen understanding of the complications of the human mind The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is a stellar work of literature and a tour de force. I cannot go ahead and say it is Murakami's magnum opus (it is not his longest novel), since I haven't finished with all his t
Jan 27, 2015 Madeline rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.

The storytelling is great, and even if I had issues with some of the characters (okay, all of the female characters), they all managed to be consistently compelling. But I just couldn't get into this one. The story, while interesting, sort of meandered around and by the end, it seems to have forgotten where it was trying to go in the first place. Murakami starts plot points, presents us with new mysteries and characters, and then he gets distr
Sep 18, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So before long, you find yourself 340 pages into this book, and you have no idea what's happening.. Rather, you understand all you have read to this point, but still can't determine the direction Murakami is taking you in.

Still, the book is compelling. You can't seem to put it down. Meanwhile it begins to invade your dreams.. in much the same manner that Toru's (the main character) dreams are invaded. You start having dreams about strange women and empty wells.

So cracking into "Book Three", I'
T.D. Whittle
Sep 28, 2014 T.D. Whittle rated it it was amazing
I can understand readers having extreme love/hate reactions to Murakami, generally, and to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, particularly. As in his other works, the most recent of which is 1Q84, opening the covers of Wind-Up Bird is like strapping yourself into a carnival ride through someone else's dream world; unless you are very keenly interested in the mind of that dreamer, you will be in turns bored or repelled by the experience. I am keenly interested in Murakami, and I find myself willing to r ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
I think the phrase is “drunk reviewing.” Goodreaders I’ve seen tipple and type often have great success connecting to an audience. I can’t seem to scare up relevant examples, but I figure some of my friends more up on quaff-and-comment mode can help me with that. Imbibing reviewers are liable to say anything. It’s less formulaic. Plus, some previously guarded opinion may slip out. In vino veritas, right? The relevance of this to me is to ask a related question: Can it be said, in the same vein, ...more
Nov 11, 2011 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
This is LOST done by the Japanese. This book will blow your face off, or skin it off if you are as unlucky as certain characters, and you will love it for it. Murakami delivers a page turner of a novel that starts innocently with a man looking for his cat after getting sex-ed up on the phone while boiling some spaghetti and quickly drops you down a crazy well of crazed politicians, dream women, dream worlds, WWII horror stories and rich secret corporations. I can't believe this isn't an anime by ...more
"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different.”

Few pages into The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and this is the very first thought that struck me. If you haven’t read Murakami before, then this book presents itself as a perfect example of what constitutes this great story-teller style. His world would be completely different from that of yours or what you can imagine. It doesn’t know any boundaries between real and surreal, and it might propel you to
Franco  Santos
Dec 04, 2015 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Franco by: Vero
No voy a hacer una reseña larga. Cuesta hacerla cuando un libro te deja en una especie de deriva mental.

Mi primer libro de Murakami fue Tokio blues, y lo aborrecí. No me gustó. Sin embargo, me decían que no era el mejor de él y que debería leer Crónica del pájaro que da cuerda al mundo. Bueno, aquí estoy, escribiendo esto, a punto de decir lo mucho que me gustó y lo bien que reivindicó la imagen que tenía yo de este autor.

Esta obra, aunque extensa, no se me hizo eterna en ningún momento. Quería
Oct 28, 2010 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I forgot
Recommended to Mariel by: the unbearable restlessness of being
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle gave my brother nightmares. I think it gave me everlasting daymares, and an incurable restless feeling. Something I love about Murakami is the you-can-tell-them-anything voice of the narrator. I wish I had that. Well, my twin and brother are both Murakami fans and my friends too. It's not like I'll get the total blank lamp post look if I ever find the right words to say (hopefully...). Um, maybe I mean it's that something missing in me I miss. I feel restless 'cause I ...more
Erika Jo
Jul 10, 2007 Erika Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book jacket recommends The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as "dreamlike and compelling" which I initially understood as cliche review talk. But several hundreds of pages in, I realized I really did felt compelled to read it, compelled during work, compelled on the subway, compelled during any free moment at home.

As a Chronicle, and a meta-aware one at that, part of the compulsion results from not knowing what the hell will happen next. In three "books", a chronological recording of daily events sli
Jr Bacdayan
Oct 09, 2014 Jr Bacdayan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was a lunar eclipse tonight. As the moon was consumed by the earth’s shadow, I was consumed by this feeling of pain. Not the physical type of pain, but for lack of a better word a ‘spiritual’ pain that brought suffering to both the mental and the emotional. I was at the local starbucks reading amidst a sea of strangers. I didn’t know what to do. I felt this surging stab that I was losing something so important, that I was losing grip of a part of myself. In reality all that was happening w ...more
Kristin Rose
How can I put into words the magnificence of this book?! I CAN'T! But I'll tell you what, I'm gonna find an old abandoned well and crawl to the bottom, and then I'm gonna sit there for three days with nothing to eat and only water to drink and all I'm gonna do is think about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and how it is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, how I want to read it again right now, how it moved me to tears on numerous occasions, how it's evocative prose sucked me in and held ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Γκέλλυ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction, 2016
Θα ήθελα να ξεκινήσω δίνοντας μια σύνοψη αυτού του βιβλίου αλλά κάθε απόπειρα περιγραφής του είναι καταδικασμένη σε αποτυχία. Η πλοκή του, δαιδαλώδης. Η ξαφνική εξαφάνιση της Κουμίκο, της γυναίκας του Τόρου Οκάντα, η εξαφάνιση του γάτου, η γνωριμία του με την Μάλτα Κάνο και την Κρέτα Κάνο, η Μαγιού Κασαχάρα, ένα δεκαεξάχρονο κορίτσι που συμπεριφέρεται σαν ώριμη γυναίκα. Δεκάδες πρόσωπα εμφανίζονται στην μέχρι τώρα ήσυχη ζωή του Τόρου, ο οποίος αφήνεται στη ροή των ασυνήθιστων γεγονότων που συμβα ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, literature
I’ve heard so much hyperbole about this book and this author that I was expecting it to be mediocre. However, “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami actually lived up to the praise that’s been heaped upon it. It absolutely falls into the category of Literature with a capital “L”.

If there isn’t a literary category called “Japanese Gothic Surrealism,” then Murakami has invented it. I think one could spend months pulling apart and analyzing this novel. It has so much symbolism and so many
From my comments on Constant Reader:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was actually written while Murakami was a writer-in-residence at Harvard, where his translator also worked conveniently. According to an interview with Jay Rubin, as soon as Murakami would finish a section, he would give it to Rubin to translate and Rubin sometimes offered his own advice and critiques (he didn't care for the Kano sisters).

After finding out the book had been edited for the English edition, I went on a mini wild sheep
Sep 13, 2014 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, translation, 20-ce
I adore this book and wish I could carry my enthusiasm for it to Murakami's other works. But in contrast to Wind-Up Bird Chroncle, those I've read disappoint. (Kafka On the Shore especially devolved into some wretchedly bad writing after the first half. Or was it wretchedly bad translation?) Anyway, I have read Wind-Up Bird twice and will read it again. My favorite part is the sequence set during World War II near the Khalkha River in Outer Mongolia. This is Lieutenant Mamiya's tale of a daring ...more
When I tried to write a review of this book, it came out sounding like this:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a beautifully written, complexly woven book that takes us into the life of Toru Okada, who quit his ordinary job and seems to be waiting to see where his life will take him next. However, a series of events occurs that turns his life upside-down, and although he continues to let events unfold around him, what develops thereafter is anything but ordinary.

Beautifully written? Complexly woven?
Apr 28, 2014 Erwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erwin by: Garima
What can I say? This was one weird, yet incredible ride! This was my first introduction to Magical Realism and to Murakami. And one that I can and will recommend to anyone who asks and to those who don't. I won't give a summary here, because I cannot. All I can say is this..... This won't be the last time I will read this novel and I am sure more work by Murakami will follow (already ordered 1Q84). This novel really had, to use a phrase by some TV personality, the WOW-factor for me!
Jan 24, 2016 Mona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guess I'll Never Be a Murakami Fan


I read Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 a few years ago when it was first published. While it was an interesting read, I ultimately found it frustrating and unsatisfying.

"Tale for the Time Being" and "Wind-Up Bird"

I wasn't going to read any more Murakami (guessing that he wasn't to my taste). But in Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being (which I loved) one of the main characters reads and loves The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, so I thought I'd give Murakami another chance
Sentimental Surrealist
Murakami catches me at a party, comes up to me pissed, throws a drink in my face and everything.

"What's wrong with you?" he demands. "I thought you enjoyed my work."

I take a moment to wipe the margarita off my face before I continue. Then, making my best effort to keep my cool - I was just about to deliver the punchline of my latest "Miles Davis was a great musician but an asshole" joke - I respond, "Well, I liked you more before I read 1Q84, that's for sure."

He stands back, look of shock on hi
This book is impossible to describe, except in perhaps in some abstract generalities: unsettlingly surreal, disturbingly violent, fantastically illogical. One part Kafka, two parts David Lynch's "Lost Highway," this book twists and turns with the surreal logic of a nightmare, probing the fluid and sometimes random nature of identity, relationships, and personal crisis. It isn't modernist or stream-of-conscious, however, so while a logical sequence of events refuses to gel, that doesn't mean that ...more
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
More about Haruki Murakami...

Other Books in the Series

ねじまき鳥クロニクル (3 books)
  • ねじまき鳥クロニクル (第1部) 泥棒かささぎ編
  • ねじまき鳥クロニクル (第2部) 予言する鳥編
  • ねじまき鳥クロニクル (第3部) 鳥刺し男編

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“But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning.” 1530 likes
“Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?
We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person's essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”
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