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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

(ねじまき鳥クロニクル #1-3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  252,331 ratings  ·  17,064 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 April 12th 1994)
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  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    Release date: Sep 01, 2022
    Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which i ...more

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    Giveaway dates: Aug 11 - Aug 25, 2022

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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)
    Nicole Miles It's funny, I actually had the completely opposite reaction to Elizabeth. Ultimately I really didn't enjoy this one (main problems with the story itse…moreIt's funny, I actually had the completely opposite reaction to Elizabeth. Ultimately I really didn't enjoy this one (main problems with the story itself; I generally find Murakami's writing faultless - but maybe that's down to good translation??). However, I loved Norwegian Wood. I think as far as Murakami goes, it seems rather subjective. His storytelling is fluid and accessible, his stories are often surreal or, at the very least, have surreal elements. Norwegian Wood has less surreal elements than The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and many people start with the former (obviously you don't have to). Personally, I would suggest trying a shorter introduction to Murakami than Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in the event you don't end up liking it as this one demands quite a large investment of your time and attention and could easily put you off Murakami altogether if it's not to your tastes which would be a shame.(less)
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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.15  · 
    Rating details
     ·  252,331 ratings  ·  17,064 reviews

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    Paul Bryant
    Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: japan-lit, 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
    Mar 25, 2009 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: H
    Dec 06, 2008 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
    Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: favorites
    Only like 10 books or so in this world could be made of actual MAGIC. They are entities so far out of this world they indeed resemble pariahs, belonging to their own orbit & following their own sets of rules that it is your utmost privilege to read them, to find out for yourself why it is that they stick to the collective psyche of one entire, delighted literati!

    This profound take on life & reality is so complex, so incredibly well-orchestrated, thought-out... a new one for the list of Tops. The
    Feb 01, 2012 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
    J.L.   Sutton
    Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    “When you are used to the kind of life -of never getting anything you want- you stop knowing what it is you want.”

    5 reasons why you should read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle right now – Misprinted Pages

    I think this is my third reading of Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and I am still loving it! However, I can't say that I fully understand it, but that is the nature of a Murakami novel and I accept that. Earlier review below.

    I’m a big fan of Haruki Murakami. When you pick up one of his novels, you’re never completely sure where you’ll end up. This is definitely true of
    Luca Ambrosino
    Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    English (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) / Italiano

    A great experience.

    More than reading a novel, I feel like I've lived the life of another, like when you wake up from a dream in which you played the part of a fearless hero, doing actions you never could have done.

    Toru Okada is thirty years old and leads an ordinary life with his wife Kumiko. However, a strange phone call marks the beginning of a series of unusual events that entirely change the existence of the young protagonist. Everyday life and

    Jim Fonseca
    Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
    [Edited 1/24/22 for spoilers, pictures added]

    Review contains spoilers

    If you’re a 30-ish married man in Japan with a dead-end job as a law clerk, with hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to have your wife agree with you that you need to take a year off to find yourself. During this year off your cat may disappear and you may start hanging out with a neighborhood high school girl who suns herself in a tiny bikini. Then your wife may ask you to have lunch with the weird psychic sisters to tr
    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
    Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Good Lord, it's been over a month since I've finished s book. What have I been doing with my life?

    And why haven't I read this book until now?

    First off, let me put my four-star rating of this book into context. It's only four stars because I feel like I need to read it again, and maybe again and again, to truly appreciate all that is contained within these 600 beautiful pages. I get the story. There's a plot and all that, but there is also so much more going on, there are so many layers, such co
    Ahmad Sharabiani
    Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru = The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami

    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a novel published in 1994–1995 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

    The first part, "The Thieving Magpie", begins with the narrator, Toru Okada, a low-key unemployed lawyer's assistant, who is tasked by his wife, Kumiko, to find their missing cat. Kumiko suggests looking in the alley, a closed-off strip of land existing behind their house.

    After Toru has hung out there for a while with no luck, May
    Always Pouting
    Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: favorites
    Toru Okada recently quit his job at the law office and has been spending his time alone in the house all day while his wife, Kumiko, goes to work. One day while cooking he receives a strange phone call from a women claiming to know him. He can't recognize her voice though and becomes confused by this turn of events. Kumiko is worried because recently their cat disappeared. Usually their cat comes home after a while even though he wanders off and so Toru goes off in search of the cat. On his sear ...more
    Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: the-list
    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
    Being a reader is weird.

    Sometimes I feel like in my case it is especially so - for example, every time I pick up this book or glance at this review I have to deal with the fact that some random angry person who thought my Ready Player Two review was a crime against humanity (the likes of which warranted response on everything I posted) called me a "teenager" spewing "bile and bilge" (redundant, no?) in the comments...

    But generally, no matter who you are, it's weird.

    Not just because of that meme
    Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    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?
    Everybody's born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source th
    Mar 24, 2011 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 devolved into some wretchedly bad writing after the first half. Or was it wretchedly bad translation? I wish I knew.) 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 dar ...more
    Michael Finocchiaro
    This was my first adventure into the magical universe of Haruki Murakami. I am one of the many people that feel that his Nobel Prize for Literature is long overdue - and a lot of that rests on his core work in the 90s including this masterpiece. This is a beautiful multi-level story in typical Murakami fashion with plenty of imagery and fascinating characters. I loved the story, the writing style, and just about everything that was in these 600+ pages. I won't reveal any plot spoilers - I'll jus ...more
    Ian "Marvin" Graye
    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
    John Mauro
    Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I feel fortunate to have a long list of novels that I adore. These are books that are beautifully written and where I feel a strong personal connection with the characters and themes being presented. Perhaps most importantly, these are also books that help me to think in a new way, or to somehow broaden and/or deepen my understanding of our place in the world and our relationships with each other.

    I don't always give the same response when people ask me which book is my favorite. It depends on my
    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
    May 02, 2011 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
    Andrew Smith
    Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
    I’ve read quite a few of Murakami’s books in the past few years and it’s caused me to reflect on my feelings about this one, which I worked my way through in late summer 2013.

    Beware; it is a weighty and sometimes complex piece. The story follows Toru Okada, a young man whose life is in the doldrums: he has no job, very little ambition, his wife has left him and now his cat has gone missing. In searching for his cat he wonders up and down a closed lane bordering his house and at one point finds
    Sep 24, 2011 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
    Murakami writes novels whose length can be at first glance. With nearly seven hundred pages, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is no exception to the rule. Yet, from the opening lines, one understands that one will have no difficulty swallowing it, as one aspired by the semi-existential and half-existentialist atmosphere surrounding it.
    Once again, it is a question of following a narrator whose banal life slowly slips into the Symbolist surreal. At first, it's only a matter of a lost cat and bizarre ano
    Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2014
    “Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.”
    ― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle


    A weird metaphysical (I KNOW it is a bit redundant to start off ANY review of Murakami by dressing it up in adjectives like weird & metaphysical) novel. I remember wanting to buy this book back in 2007, but I was poor and just about to get married and it seemed like my limited money would be better spent on bread and cheese. Now I own three, but I still wish
    Seth T.
    Apr 10, 2008 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
    Murakami inevitably is one of the best pulp fiction writers with a refined & sophisticated taste in music!

    As an ardent fan of Murakami, and after reading some of his substantial works, I've come to this conclusion that the experience of reading his books in itself is somewhat analogous to traveling, what really matters is the journey than the destination & in his books, it's more about the substance rather than conclusions.

    Apart from the usual magical surrealism & strong hidden metaphors, all ha
    Sep 16, 2007 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'
    "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
    Mutasim Billah
    May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: japan
    "In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment."

    A missing cat.
    A strange bird-call.
    An abandoned house.
    An observant teenager.
    Twin clairvoyants.
    War stories.
    Strange phone calls.
    Spiteful brother-in-law.
    A dry well.
    A separated couple.
    A bottle of Cutty Sark.
    A baseball bat.
    Recurring dreams.

    Wait, what is this about?

    Oh! Yeah, another Murakami book.

    "Goodbye, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. See you again sometime.”
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    Murakami Haruki (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: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

    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

    Other books in the series

    ねじまき鳥クロニクル (3 books)
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    This is a fun one: For the collection below, we decided to take a long-arc overview and try to identify the most popular books published over...
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    “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?”
    “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.” 2043 likes
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