Marco's Reviews > The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
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's review
May 22, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Marco by: Thom Yorke.
Recommended for: People asleep, but the dream's ending. People coming out of the well.
Read 2 times

Prior to reading this book I had fallen down in my regular reading. Where I was once reading at least one, but usually more books a week, I was reading a book maybe every 7 or 8 months and dreadfully slowly. Concurrent to the start of me reading this, I had just gone through a break up and things just generally felt like they were slowly beginning to come apart at the seams wherever I cast my gaze.

That's what I brought to the book. What the book brought to me was a similar experience to what I was feeling on an emotional level, and a process by which I could enjoy getting lost in a book again, and a return to not just thinking about things, but thinking about what lay under the surface of things.

I know, I know. How fucking pretentious and twee can you get.

To start on a plot description in my review would be a waste of everyone's time. There's some excellent reviews already here on the site and some of them tackle the nuts and bolts a hell of a lot better than I could. Especially since this is a book with a wonderfully quicksand like concoction of a plot.

I want to make special note of the way Murakami is an expert at listing the mundane normal activities of daily life. In all of his books, there's at least one scene of a character making some kind of rudimentary meal, having a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, and then relaxing while listening to either old jazz records or a Beatle's album. It should come off as boring, especially in a book about people with special healing powers and dream prostitutes and exotic torture sequences in World War II, but it never is. It just blends into the fabric of Murakami's simple but lovely oneiric writing.

The book continues another masterful trend in Murakami's books that I've always loved in that, on one level, it's a very slow, patient book that does have something of a plot, but it's all over the place with a passive narrator who slowly makes his way through it, making it easier and comfortable for the reader to venture along with him (even when he's not the most excited or active of protagonists). But then there's a deeper level, what I would almost say is a kind of second novel hidden within, written in tone and emotional resonance and really composed just for your subconscious to pick up on.

In a lot of ways, I feel that I can't write a normal review for the book, or that it's hard with Murakami's dream novels. Obiviously, they're just novels, intellectual constructs to breeze through and enjoy, but they're like walking through a person's brain and reminisces, navigating through their desires and their wounds, admiring their weird little ephemera all around you. Reading this novel, for me, was much like several of the character's paths in the book: They went into a place that was strange and new, both scary and amazing, and they found something and brought it out with them. In the sunlight, while examining it, they realized that something was their's.
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