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Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - M.R. 13 > Discussion - Week Five - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Book Three, ch. 10 - 25

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Dec 05, 2013 11:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
This discussion covers Book Three, Chapter 10 – 25, p. 415 – 506


May sends further dispatches from the factory. A boy, a dream, and a shovel. Celebrity cures and secret scandals. A gumshoe makes an enticing offer and veiled threats. Cinnamon’s world of signs and order. More from May. Toru and Kumiko finally talk text. Another connection to Manchukuo as the Long Arm reaches out.


To avoid spoilers, please restrict your comments to p. 1 – 506

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.


Betty (olderthan18) The appearance of a new character called Ushikawa late in the book was a surprising development, and he's quite ominous to boot. (The convergence of him and Mr. Honda brings to mind the sweet, small-statured, psychically tuned character Mr. Nakata in Kafka on the Shore.) What Ushikawa and Toru's next encounter will be like remains to be seen. The story is heading toward a conclusion now, as the absence of Kumiko and Wataya, as well as the cat who returned, are now apparently about to reappear.


Casceil | 90 comments Did we meet this same character, Mr. Ushikawa,in 1Q84?


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

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Casceil wrote: "Did we meet this same character, Mr. Ushikawa,in 1Q84?"

We certainly did, though in TWUBC, he's not quite as hideous. BTW, this story takes place in 1984, so I wonder if Ushikawa was working on both cases at the same time....


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

Dee (deinonychus) | 27 comments Jim wrote: "Casceil wrote: "Did we meet this same character, Mr. Ushikawa,in 1Q84?"

We certainly did, though in TWUBC, he's not quite as hideous. BTW, this story takes place in 1984, so I wonder if Ushikawa w..."


I did wonder about parallels between the two, though I've yet to read 1Q84. I had noticed the date (and also the fact that both books are in three parts). Looks like I've a lot to look forward to in 1Q84.


Betty (olderthan18) I hadn't noticed the similarities in 1984 but will pay closer attention to them during the rest of TWBC & 1Q84.

Meanwhile, May's letters sound like she's in Siberia at a labor camp. There's also the cultural memory of young women at labor-intensive jobs between high school and marriage. And Ushi seems to be holding cards in his hand he is not showing Toru yet; nevertheless he's sweetening the deal with visions of Kumiko. Yes, I do wonder why Dr. Wataya has an interest in the haunted house.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Asma wrote: "I hadn't noticed the similarities in 1984 but will pay closer attention to them during the rest of TWBC & 1Q84.

Meanwhile, May's letters sound like she's in Siberia at a labor camp. There's also ..."


And worse than the labor camps, the "comfort girls" forced to be prostitutes for the various armies.

Re: Dr. Wataya, I imagine his concern was more for how Toru's activities might cause a scandal and threaten Wataya'a political career, rather than being interested in the house itself. But then, If Noboru also had psychic abilities, maybe he was able to sense what Toru was up to with Nutmeg and Cinnamon.


Betty (olderthan18) Jim wrote: "...If Noboru also had psychic abilities, maybe he was able to sense what Toru was up to..."

Psychic ability characterizes some female characters: Malta's predictions, Creta's mental invasiveness, Nutmeg's healing thoughts. Those powers seem genuine; it's Noboru "psychic abilities" which are not evident so far (p481).

There's another life story, Nutmeg's, which is announced in the story. (Each character is a short story in her/himself and told to the reader.) Coming as it is after the deep mystery surrounding her encounters with Toru puts a new face on her, at least gives some substance to her character, though there might be more about her later in the book.


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Asma wrote: " it's Noboru "psychic abilities" which are not evident so far (p481)..."

In Book Two, Ch. 13, "Creta Kano's Story Continued", Creta recounts her first encounter with Noboru in which he "defiled" her. While it is true that he did use his fingers to touch her body, the nature of the touching suggests someone with extra-sensory or psychic ability. I wouldn't want to stretch the definition of "psychic" too far, but based on Creta's story, Noboru has some sort of psychic power.


Betty (olderthan18) How about that, Cinnamon's secret computer file about Nutmeg's clients is "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". I believe that Nutmeg and Cinnamon suspect that Toru compromised the computer's secrecy on account of Nutmeg's saying to Toru after the decision to suspend business operations for a while, "So you could blow the magic flute and find Kumiko?...You have something you're searching for...And everything has its price." Of course, that phrase in their discussion about the breach of the computer might not dot the i and cross the t for some readers.


message 11: by tia (new) - rated it 3 stars

tia | 51 comments I realize how late in the game this is, but if no one minds, I have a few comments/questions I'd like to add to the thread. Specifically, I'm curious about what others have thought about Murakami's portrayal of Japanese history vis-a-vis his novel. Was the mysterious sentry in Mamiya's harrowing story the real-life Major General Yoshitsuga Tatekawa who tried to avert war with China? Was that maybe why the Kwantung Army officers questioned them so harshly when they returned?? Was that why he asked them to bury the document??
Also, Murakami tells us how Noboru Wataya's uncle knew Lieutenant Colonel Kanji Ishiwara and that he was inspired by the later's imperial ambitions. Does this story parallel a real-life story or does Murakami insert the uncle in the story simply to connect all the pieces?
Murakami does not treat Japanese imperial history kindly - he is clearly sympathetic to the farmers and Nutmeg and her mother, who had to flee from Manchukuo, and the soldiers who had to fight in pursuit of their officers' ambitions. Is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, then, a condemnation of Japan?


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Tia wrote: "I realize how late in the game this is, but if no one minds, I have a few comments/questions I'd like to add to the thread. Specifically, I'm curious about what others have thought about Murakami's..."

There should be a list of "Works Consulted" at the back of the book. Several are in Japanese, but I'm guessing they cover the history you're asking about.

Do you see the book as a condemnation of Japan? Or a condemnation of certain political and military actions leading up to the defeat in 1945?


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