Todd Johnson's Reviews > The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Dec 31, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: epic, s0
Read from August 02 to December 31, 2010

Phenomenal. "Dreamlike and compelling," as advertised. The kind of book that makes you wish you were more perceptive, or had the time and ability to write a thesis on it. My strongest regret here is that I don't know much about Japan or the Japanese psyche, so I can't even guess at how much of the meaning I'm missing.

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Reading Progress

08/02/2010 page 32
09/06/2010 page 419
69.0% "Well, this is getting weird." 3 comments

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Adam Can I ask -- maybe I just don't understand this type of literature. But I've come to believe that a major component of any artistic expression is communication; that with any work, an artist is fundamentally trying to do something, and that a requirement for a successful artwork is that it communicate to its audience what it's trying to do. And my reaction to this book was, "Ok, this is all very pretty, but what am I supposed to get out of this?" People really love this book, so this is probably just me saying "I didn't get it" in an overly philosophical way, but my question is: What did this book add up to? What was Murakami trying to do? Because I couldn't tell; but if I missed it, I want to know.

Adam I'll be honest and say that I didn't read the last 70-100 pages, but that's because I became convinced nothing would wrap up -- do you ever find out about the woman who calls him when he's making spaghetti? Or is it a collection of short stories hidden in a novel? DAMN MY WESTERN MIND

Adam Whoa I shouldn't leave comments at four in the morning

Todd Johnson Hah. Some of this I think Anthony answered in the comments on your review. A lot of the mysteries get resolved, though perhaps not in particularly neat ways.

Perhaps my advantage is that I'm never great at interpreting art, so I have largely stopped expecting things to make sense. Music, for example. I listen to some jazz and I like it, other jazz and I don't, but it's very rare that I can articulate why.

So, this book. I really enjoyed its foggy prettiness. What was it about? If pressed to interpret it, I would say it's about simple things like secrets and loss and maybe also cultural unease about being on the wrong side of WWII.

tami Right on, Todd. I am the same way. The whole time, partially because the translation I read used the word "finally" so often in places it didn't seem to fit, I wished I could have been reading this in the original Japanese.

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