The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle question

Some Thoughts and Questions..
Lea Lea Aug 22, 2014 04:04PM
Let me begin by saying that this is the first novel I've read by Murakami, and I was sufficiently astounded by his use of language and storytelling. I've never read anything quite like it, and I can't get it out of my head.
The book does finish in an open-ended way, whereas I thought everything would be tied up in a manner that made more sense, but now I understand that this is simply not what Murakami does.
I wanted to discuss a few things that I thought about while reading the book.. SPOILERS AHEAD..
1. What do you believe was the motive behind Nutmeg telling Toru that her husband had been killed/his organs harvested? I thought that this was a very clear plot point that would be brought up later, but it never was again. I believe this also ties in with Cinnamon seeing the strange man that looks like his father outside his bedroom window, the night that he stops talking. What do you believe is the significance of this, and why do you think Murakami went into such great depth in both of these sections?
2. I read in another online forum that the man with the guitar/the magician who burns his hand on the candle is a symbol for Toru's pain, which never disappears. From my understanding, and thinking about the passages now, it's almost as if he doesn't even exist.. Like Toru imagined these things because of his depression about Kumiko and her abortion. Each time he shows up Toru is literally at his worst.. What is your opinion?
3. I loved the character of May Kasahara, and I thought it was brilliant that Murakami gave the reader a "break" to look at her letters to Toru, which we find out he never received. What do you think the point was to all of this? I specifically loved the last letter where she describes being bathed in the moonlight. I also recall that she tells Toru she actually heard him calling her name in the well. An interesting dynamic..
4. I also read in another forum that the book in Japanese is at least 20% longer and that the American version is abridged. I was wondering if anyone had read the original or any other translated version and if there were any plot holes answered.

Murakami worked in so many genius plot points, but I think my favorite was the idea that Creta Kano had that slippery "something" inside her that Noboru Wataya destroyed. He works this feeling into his novel with every character. I like the portrait he paints of Toru as this looming, emasculated man.
I LOVED the novel, although was disappointed in the fact that there weren't as many questions answered, like how Toru got the mark on his cheek and how it disappeared.. How Kumiko was the phone woman all along.. Who the man was in the dark room that he defeats in the end (some say it's actually a parallel version of himself).. But these things are so fun to speculate.
What are your thoughts?

Lea, You raise some very valid (and unanswered) questions from the twisting and turning plot of one of the most hypnotic novels I have ever read.

I suspect that with a Murakami novel, leaving the questions unanswered so the reader is left wondering is exactly the mood that Murakami is going for. The baffling unexplainable inexplicable uncertainty is an integral part of the Murakami experience.

When I finished the book, I found that I had been transported out of my reality into a new reality where I hovered for several days. My perspective had shifted so everything familiar to me looked askew. It took a few days for my world to come back into focus.

Only a novel can do that.

My point is that while the specific unanswered questions you are asking are crucial to the experience of reading this book, it is the total experience of experiencing this book that is its point.

Did May Kasahara's tears fill the well? I think the timing is about right. If so, why?

Cagne (last edited Aug 22, 2014 04:35PM ) Aug 22, 2014 04:35PM   0 votes
I assumed the man in the dark room was his brother in law, the politician who also goes in a coma after that, and it was some sort of ESP/spiritual fight.

I suspect a lot of readers like May Kasahara. In some ways she is an anchor, with her innocence and lack of self-consciousness serving to hold Toru back from the darkness that exists in his external and internal (sub-conscious) lives. She also serves as a "spirit guide" of sorts, who essentially catapults Toru on a mission into the dark recesses of his mind. Before meeting May, Toru is just an out-of-work guy looking for his cat and oblivious to the arduous journey ahead.

Yin and Yang, dark and light, is a consistent theme in this book. The prominent characters seem to have dual-purposes.

A question back to Lea, and anyone else who wishes to consider it:

Do we really think Toru never got the letters from May?

M 25x33
Peter "Do we really think Toru never got the letters from May?"

He said he didn't get them, and I can't think why he would lie about it. In her last letter,
Jul 08, 2018 03:15AM

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