Brain Pain discussion

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
This topic is about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
70 views
Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - M.R. 13 > Discussion - Week Six - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Book Three, ch. 26 - 39

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jim (last edited Nov 17, 2013 07:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
This discussion covers Book Three, Chapter 26 – 39, p. 507 – 606
Conclusions/Book as a whole





IMPORTANT REMINDER: We’re trying out a new discussion format. Instead of posting one week at a time, all discussion segments will be posted on the first day of reading. If you read faster than the weekly schedule and wish to comment on later portions of the book, please choose the correct week and try to limit your comments to the particular section.


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Stacie wrote: "!?! :)"

I know, right?!


message 3: by Liam (new) - added it

Liam Howley (liam_howley) | 15 comments Jim, Stacie, anyone else.

I read this book a few years back. I'm curious, you both rated it five stars. I remember feeling not quite so enamoured, but I can't remember why. Why the five stars?


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Liam wrote: "Jim, Stacie, anyone else.

I read this book a few years back. I'm curious, you both rated it five stars. I remember feeling not quite so enamoured, but I can't remember why. Why the five stars?"


Time for a reread!

Murakami uses the device of an alternative reality to probe the psyche of modern-day Japan and its relation to its recent history of battles fought and lost. He does this with amazing skill and innovation, and so, the five stars. I posted a review last week.


message 5: by Liam (new) - added it

Liam Howley (liam_howley) | 15 comments Wow, Stacie, that's brilliant :) I hadn't thought about The Wind Up Bird Chronicle like that. I stand corrected. Thank you.

By the way, I'd written a lengthier response regarding ratings/reviews, but decided not to post it. I feel sort of compromised in that whole area.


message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Stacie wrote: ":) Thank you. You write whatever you want, but I understand the feeling (this was the edited version). I read Jim's review, I agree with what he said too. Everybody has a different take away. I had..."

Thanks for sharing all of that Stacie. There is certainly a lot of love between Toru and Kumiko. They form a kind of insular, 'nation-of-two', and for the first six years, they are snug and content in their isolation. But later, the rest of the world, and the larger nation they live in, interjects itself into their quiet existence so that at one point Toru ponders "Why is Lt. Mamiya and Manchukuo linking into our life like this? What does that past have to do with us?!?" (bad paraphrase). And so even though I keyed in on the historical aspects in my review, it's the interplay of the two stories - the war in the 30's & 40's, and the young couple in 1984 - that makes this such a powerful and memorable book. At this point in Murakami's career, it's safe to say TWUBC is his masterpiece.

BTW, Stacie, in my edition, Murakami cites a few of the history books he used for his research about the war years. It looks like two of the books were published in English.


Casceil | 90 comments I finished the book today. I'm going to have to think about this one for a long time. And reread it in a couple of years.

Some of the many things I wondered about. Was the rising water in the well linked to May's tears and that of her shadow? The heart that Cinnamon dug up the night he lost his voice, was that his father's heart (even though his father had not died yet)? The man with the guitar case, from whom Toru acquired the baseball bat--what we he supposed to symbolize? Did the bat have more reality in the parallel world than in the "real" one?


message 8: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Casceil wrote: "I finished the book today. I'm going to have to think about this one for a long time. And reread it in a couple of years.

Some of the many things I wondered about. Was the rising water in the ..."


I hadn't thought of May's tears, but maybe.

I interpreted it as once Toru achieved his goal in the imaginary hotel, some sort of blockage was cleared, which allowed the water to flow again into the well.

Not sure exactly what the man with the guitar case was supposed to represent, but Toru did encounter him while on a business trip on the evening of Kumiko's abortion. Also, there is the horrific description of one of the Japanese soldier's killing a Chinese man with a baseball bat - and soon after, the soldier heard the cranking sound of the wind-up bird -- so many connections in this book, it really does need a reread.


message 9: by Betty (last edited Dec 30, 2013 09:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Betty (olderthan18) There are quite a number of unexplainable coincidences (marks, bats, lieutenants, wub cry...) in the novel--something like the story TWUBC on Cinnamon's computer, his consciousness bringing to the factual/fictive story threads heard which he made a collage of to make up his history.
"Everything was intertwined, with the complexity of a three-dimensional puzzle--a puzzle in which truth was not necessarily fact and fact not necessarily truth." ch 27
The collage of Cinnamon's chronicle #8 works in parallel with the surreality of the final days of the Manchurian occupation.

The same chapter in book 3 also raises suspense about Toru's fate. Cinnamon's chronicle went a lot into his grandfather's acknowledging fateful happenings irregardless of will to change the course of events. The Bird according to the Chronicle signals fated misfortune.
"The cry of this bird was audible only to certain special people, who were guided by it toward inescapable ruin. The will of human beings meant nothing, then..." ch 27
I wonder what fate if any is Toru's or is he able to use his will, as he is one who heard the Bird.


Casceil | 90 comments Most people who hear the wind-up bird are alone in hearing it. Toru and Kumiko hear it together. I wonder if that is because their fates are intertwined.


Betty (olderthan18) Casceil wrote: "Most people who hear the wind-up bird are alone in hearing it. Toru and Kumiko hear it together. I wonder if that is because their fates are intertwined."

An interesting thought to keep in mind, Casceil, especially when I reach the end of novel shortly to find out what happens.


message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (d_a_r_k_horse) | 2 comments I loved the way in which Murakami takes banal occurances and makes them other, like walking down an alley to look for a missing cat starts a rather strange adventure.

I feel that Toru's time in the well is Murakami's testament to how powerful imagination can be to solve / work through mysteries or problems encountered during life.

I also wonder whether Murakami is not just writing about psychics but also alluding to Jung's collective unconscious which is inherent in all of us. As Jung says:

"For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us."


message 13: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Amanda wrote: "I loved the way in which Murakami takes banal occurrences and makes them other, like walking down an alley to look for a missing cat starts a rather strange adventure.

I feel that Toru's time in t..."


Yes, especially the collective unconscious/conscience of the Japanese people.


Betty (olderthan18) Amanda wrote: "...As Jung says: "For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us."..."

The character's (sub)consciousness is projected to the outer world; and his senses assimilate what s/he projected. Seems impossible to find a way out of that subjective cycle. This particular novel doesn't make as much from the subjective identification as Kafka... does, for instance.


Betty (olderthan18) Amanda wrote: "...As Jung says: "For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us."

Yes, there do seem to be 2 characters in one. The subconscious character acts out its true feelings; whereas the socialized character represses them, even in literally running away from them.


back to top