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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
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Archived 2014 Group Reads > The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by H. Murakami, Book III, Chapters 20-29

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Zulfiya (ztrotter) This thread is to discuss the penultimate part of the book. Below are a couple of general questions to help with the discussion.

1. Is Toru still as a clueless as he was in the beginning of the novel?

2. What is the role of seemingly irrelevant articles/newsreel-like material in the novel?

3. Toru gradually establishes certain connections between the people who are and were in his life. Are these connections plausible? Is anything plausible and possible in the novel?

4. Do Cinnamon and Nutmeg pose threat or are they on Toru's side?


P.S. I will open the thread for the final part on Tuesday later in the afternoon. We usually post the final two threads together, and this time, it will business as usual.

And the most exciting thing is we will soon be reading another awesome chunkster.


John (johnred) | 364 comments I can't believe we're almost done with this book! The second half seemed to fly by :)

Is Toru still as a clueless as he was in the beginning of the novel?
This is a really interesting question; I feel like he has not gained much actual knowledge about his situation, but at the same time he has purpose and confidence now. He seems to be acting with his own will rather than floating around based on what everybody else wants.


message 3: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 1307 comments I agree with John, at least Toru is taking action himself at this point, such as figuring out the computer password so that he can have a conversation with Kumiko. As far as him knowing what is going on and what everything means, I don't think he is there yet. And I am right there with him, trying to figure everything out! I have a feeling at the end of this book I will still be scratching my head and wondering about what everything means.

I wonder about the point of the articles too. They are a bit boring to read and to me, they give no more insight to the story. I'm curious what other readers think their purpose is.

I assume Cinnamon and Nutmeg are on Toru's side? But then, they did help him obtain the "hanging house" property, and we all know what happened to the people who lived on the property previously. That in itself is putting Toru in danger.

I found interesting the part in the "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle #8" where the soldier is ordered to kill the Chinese man with the bat. First, all this takes place in a circular clearing where the sun easily penetrates it (similar to the bottom of the well when the sun passes overhead). After the soldier kills the man, he enters into a sort of trance where he can hear the Wind-Up Bird creaking, and he has visions of the future, although he can not see his own future. Nobody else hears the Wind-Up Bird. I am trying to make sense of when and why these various people hear the wind-up bird, and now also to have this soldier see visions of the future.

I'm excited to finish this book, and hopefully feel like I have some of these questions resolved. I'm also excited to see what our next chunkster will be!!


message 4: by John (last edited May 06, 2014 09:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "I have a feeling at the end of this book I will still be scratching my head and wondering about what everything means."
I have a four-page Google document filled with theories! In the last discussion thread I will share a public link to it, hopefully you will agree with some of my ideas :)


message 5: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 1307 comments John wrote: "I have a four-page Google document filled with theories! In the last discussion thread I will share a public link to it, hopefully you will some of my ideas :) "

That would be awesome, John. Thanks!


message 6: by John (last edited May 06, 2014 09:16AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "First, all this takes place in a circular clearing where the sun easily penetrates it (similar to the bottom of the well when the sun passes overhead)."

I did not catch that! Good eye! :)


Anna Moore (ihad2muchcoffee) I'd say the role of the news articles is to add tension to the story. We know Nutmeg values the privacy of her clients and the attention the "Hanging House" is getting in the news media could possibly expose the entire operation. Even though Nutmeg and Cinnamon seemed to have abandoned Toru, I don't believe they mean him any harm. It's kind of interesting that Nutmeg's "powers" are similar to Noboru Wataya's. She can feel something inside of her clients and she provides relief (though temporary) by injecting pleasant memories into the thing. Noboru Wataya, on the other hand, rips it out of his clients (or victims) which leaves them feeling defiled.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) I agree - tension, and maybe plausibility because the universe Toru lives in is not exactly our universe. Neither do we know if the world of his dreams is tangible and real.


message 9: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 1307 comments Zulfiya wrote: "...the universe Toru lives in is not exactly our universe. "

Do we know this for fact at this point in the book and I'm overlooking something? Or is this a common theme of Murakami's other books, so readers are carrying over this assumption to this book as well? This is the first Murakami I have read, and I guess I would have not thought about this possibility at this point unless someone pointed it out.


message 10: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Moore (ihad2muchcoffee) Zulfiya wrote: "I agree - tension, and maybe plausibility because the universe Toru lives in is not exactly our universe. Neither do we know if the world of his dreams is tangible and real."

Yes! Is it safe to say Toru is finally going with the "flow?" It seems the line between Toru's worlds is getting finer and finer.


message 11: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Moore (ihad2muchcoffee) Linda wrote: "John wrote: "I have a four-page Google document filled with theories! In the last discussion thread I will share a public link to it, hopefully you will some of my ideas :) "

That would be awesome..."


Goody! I'm looking forward to reading your theories!


message 12: by Deana (last edited May 08, 2014 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Deana (ablotial) Linda - I believe people are making assumptions at this point based on having read other of the author's books. I haven't seen anything that explicitly points to being in another universe as of yet, unless you count maybe the shared dreams (which I don't believe happens in our universe).

John, I agree with your comment in message 2. I think as a person Toru is less clueless than he was at the start of the novel and has certainly come into his own in that regard. But he (and we!) still are clueless as to what is going on with his wife. I find it astounding that we are so close to the end and there are still so many dangling threads.

I don't feel that the news articles are random or irrelevant. They certainly relate to the story as a whole. The style they are written in is more boring (but they are news articles, after all)-- and honestly I have to wonder why someone buying a vacant house (even if it does have a scary past) is news at all, and how did they find out it had been bought, were they watching it all this time, and if so, why? Makes me wonder if these past deaths were caused by someone with a vested interest in making sure the property remains vacant.

Also the article in this section says that they believe the hanging house could have been bought secretly by a powerful politician -- it makes me wonder if Nutmeg's "company" is actually owned by Noboru Wataya himself! In which case the answer to the question about whose side they are on anyway is a good one.

Very interested to read the last part of this book and see how things all tie together.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) Linda wrote: "Zulfiya wrote: "...the universe Toru lives in is not exactly our universe. "

Do we know this for fact at this point in the book and I'm overlooking something? Or is this a common theme of Murakam..."


Linda, I am obviously not sure about the universe, and as Deana said, I am mostly making this assumption based on his other books, but people with extrasensory abilities, dreams merging with the real life, mysterious omens are not exactly the widespread phenomena in our life. Their true arcane nature is never confirmed in the book because we do have people who claim to have visions or visionary dreams, but I still think that this is the world created by Murakami's imagination.


Jess :) Deana wrote: "Also the article in this section says that they believe the hanging house could have been bought secretly by a powerful politician -- it makes me wonder if Nutmeg's "company" is actually owned by Noboru Wataya himself!..."

Now wouldn't that be a twist!


Jess :) Zulfiya wrote: "
3. Toru gradually establishes certain connections between the people who are and were in his life. Are these connections plausible? Is anything plausible and possible in the novel? "


I'm so glad that the story is starting to tie together! For awhile, this was all seeming rather disjointed, and to be honest this was causing me to lose interest for some time.

I can't help but think that Toru is inventing the links in an attempt to impose order on his chaotic world. Regardless of whether the connections are real or imaginary, and in spite of how far-fetched they may be, I find myself searching for & craving the 'missing links' in the story..

I also noted Toru's speculation (Chap 27) that the Wind-Up Bird and other details may have subconsciously 'eaten their way' into Cinnamon's story (Chronicle #8). Here Toru argues that finding missing links may be more important than establishing truth: fact may not be truth, and truth may not be factual. Based on this, I'm not sure how much we should believe the details Toru's narrative. Perhaps we shouldn't over analyze the gritty details of the chronicle, but rather see this as Toru's invention.. a feeble attempt to make sense of a failed marriage..


Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments E :) wrote: "Based on this, I'm not sure how much we should believe the details Toru's narrative. Perhaps we shouldn't over analyze the gritty details of the chronicle, but rather see this as Toru's invention.. a feeble attempt to make sense of a failed marriage.. ."

I agree, I think this is a more logical (if there is such a thing!) reading of this book. It's not all meant to be "real."


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