Monday, 19 January 2015

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle- Whew !

What an amazing book this is.  This is a good length novel of more than 600 pages and it never stops for a minute. One starts reading it and meets Toru Okada at home in Tokyo, Japan.  

It seemed mundane enough as I met Toru and his wife. It all seems simple enough as they share a breakfast. Then the cat disappears.  Toru consults psychic sisters to see if they can shed some light on this and we're off and running.  

As I read this book by Haruki Murakami I felt as though I was on a journey. A very long journey. Every page I turned was as though visiting a different place, a different country. There are twists and turns as Toru is flummoxed by the strange phone calls and the psychics that now become part of his life.

As I was thinking about the disappearing cat,  his wife disappeared.  There is no indication of anything being wrong with the marriage so that is a surprise.  

As he walks around his neighbourhood looking for the cat he meets an unusual 16 year old girl in the back yard of one of the houses.  A very strange friendship ensues.  There is also a very haunted house in the area that plays a significant role.  Enter a very old war veteran with horrific stories combined with a scheming politician relative and somehow all of this comes together to make up a terrific story.

This story is about the elusiveness of love, the atrocities of war, the scheming of politics and the ongoing actions of a very passive man trying to sort out all of this as it relates to his everyday life. He is trying to get his "normal" life back but everything only becomes more bizarre.

Toru is a passive man. He is a very passive man.  He can become quite irksome. The only problem I had with this interesting novel is that all these very weird things are happening to him and he just takes it sitting down. Give him another cup of tea.  

He does not get wound up much about anything. When he realises his wife is not coming home from work he really doesn't seem to do much about it except to ring her workplace.  If I were him I'd be checking with the police or the hospitals. I'd be doing something more than ringing her workplace.

I loved the way that all of these eccentric events came together to make up a very surreal, magical journey and how it appeared to become all so logical as the story progressed.

I enjoyed this book very much and part of me did not want it to end.  Yet I wanted things to start making sense. I will offer a warning though of some quite graphic situations that are most disturbing. Some chapters are definitely not for the faint hearted.  I found myself skipping over a few pages here and there when it got to be too much. I got the picture and did not need quite so much description.

This book was published in 1995 but not translated into English for another couple of years. In any case it counts for my Century of Books challenge.  

The first time I read a book by this author was several years ago when our book club discussed Norwegian Wood. I enjoyed that book very much, mainly for the visual descriptiveness of it. I thought it was beautiful.  It was very different to this book. 

After reading two of his books I am definitely looking forward to reading more of this author. I think his descriptive language is entrancing and the story certainly didn't bore me.  I could predict nothing.
I did have to let go of any kind of rationale thinking and completely disappear into this story. It was a story I didn't want to surface from.

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