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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
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Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - M.R. 13 > Discussion - Week Four - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Book Two, ch. 15 - 16 Book Three, ch. 1 - 9

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Dec 02, 2013 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
This discussion covers Book Two, Chapter 15 – 16, and Book Three, Chapter 1 – 9, p. 314 – 414


May speaks of gooshy heat. Toru meets his lady pimp. Cinnamon gives him new undies. The well is renovated. Nutmeg tells tales of clumsy massacres.


To avoid spoilers, please restrict your comments to p. 1 – 414

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 Asma (everydayabook) I've been trying to find some motifs in this novel. In earlier posts for previous chapters, I mentioned repetitious events which involved different characters. I would like to tweak that Repetitions to include Reflections (as in a mirror).

Besides events reflected in other characters' actions and Toru himself reflected back from the mirror, some other motifs might be Magic and Indefiniteness (Toru's frequent state of mind--"probably"). To me, Toru seems a magnet to attract new characters either at home, in the neighborhood, and in the city, they coming to him and catalyzing action by him, at least setting him into a flow that takes him along. The weird description in chapter 16 of the encroaching skin covering him is a metaphor for the ultimate takeover of his personality.

That spin on Toru's character takes a little dive with his enthusiasm about acquiring the vacant, haunted property.


message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Asma wrote: "I've been trying to find some motifs in this novel. In earlier posts for previous chapters, I mentioned repetitious events which involved different characters. I would like to tweak that Repetition..."

Some other motifs might be "flow", or in this case "blocked or interrupted flow". When the cat leaves, the flow of Toru and Kumiko's life is interrupted and this break brings all kinds of new people into Toru's life as well as completely changing his former routines.


Betty Asma (everydayabook) Then the cat returns, Toru changing its name to Mackerel. That return marks a transition in Toru "passivity":
"The cat had come back to me, and I had to begin to move forward to some extent."
Along with that return is something more revealed about May Kasahara and about why she abandoned Toru to the deep well. With those discoveries, there continue to be many mysteries about other characters and about the plot itself.


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

Dee (deinonychus) | 27 comments Does the cat suddenly becoming Mackerel have anything to do with the other maritime references, and the play on 'No man is an island'?


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

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
David wrote: "Does the cat suddenly becoming Mackerel have anything to do with the other maritime references, and the play on 'No man is an island'?"

Toru claims it's just because the cat likes to eat mackerel, but with Murakami, every word has multiple meanings. And of course, we have other characters who take on names of places and food - Creta, Malta, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and most centrally, Mr. Wind-Up Bird.


Betty Asma (everydayabook) The call of the wind-up bird is heard not only in modern-day Tokyo by Toru but also by a young soldier in 1944-45 Manchukua in Manchuria then occupied by Japan. It is a motif, or a continuing source of mystery, throughout the story.

Another motif or continuing mystery is the curse attached to participants involved in Manchukuo. There's Lieut Mamiya's unhappy life and Miyawaki's haunted house. Nutmeg's veterinarian father was also there. I almost tended to forget about Mamiya but an article about the "supernatural" brought out this other motif.
"But in Murakami’s fiction, Manchukuo is a supernatural place as well as a physical landscape. The desert, and by extension, Japan’s urge to colonize its neighbors, is the origin of a “curse” that hangs over those who fought there and contemporary Japan. In A Wild Sheep Chase, the curse can be “caught,” like a physical disease. In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a young soldier is metaphysically cursed with the words, “Wherever you may be, you can never be happy. You will never love anyone or be loved by anyone.” In both novels, the curse, passed from the soldier to contemporary life in the center of Japan, must be defeated by a sympathetic but otherwise ordinary Tokyo yuppie...
For Murakami, the curse is not a punishment or atonement for bloody atrocities. It is simply the blame-neutral result of stirring up the underlying order of the world. Murakami argues that war and colonization make people go where one should not be, both physically and supernaturally."
Murakami doesn't incorporate isolated events into this story; rather they incorporated into the larger scheme of the story though the reader might be unaware of the event's import when it's presented.


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

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Asma wrote: "The call of the wind-up bird is heard not only in modern-day Tokyo by Toru but also by a young soldier in 1944-45 Manchukua in Manchuria then occupied by Japan. It is a motif, or a continuing sourc..."

In my review, I focused a lot on the Manchukuo motif and how it affects the contemporary characters.


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