Andrew's Reviews > The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Aug 30, 08

bookshelves: love, modern_fantasy, philosophy, low_fantasy
Recommended to Andrew by: Jaci
Read in August, 2008

I broke one of my cardinal rules of book-reading with this one, taking well over a year to actually finish it. I decided early in to make it a book to read while at the gym, and by sticking to that decision, the entire process took much longer than this book deserves. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles is a hefty, hearty mountain of slice-of-life surreality with a cast of... mostly likeable characters populating this late 20th Century Japanese world. Toru Okada, the protagonist and narrator of the story, is presented as absolutely mundane, but the story he is forcibly carried through is bizarre enough to clearly be impossible, but so often follows along familiar everyday routes that it's very easy to empathize with him or any of the others he meets along the way. Chock full of both clever symbolism and stylish flash (that one has difficulty differentiating until after sitting back and digesting), this dramatic, occasionally funny, and strangely sexualized work deeply explores relationships and self-identity across a massive web of lives, ranging from a tiny neighborhood in Japan to the steppes of a Russian concentration camp following World War II. Fan's of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon will feel occasional pangs of familiarity, but with the engineer's pragmatism thrown out the window in exchange for something much more oriental in philosophy. An excellent read if you're in the mood for something dense and tasty, try to finish it faster than I did.
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