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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

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This title in other editions

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Cover

ISBN13: 9780679775430
ISBN10: 0679775439
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Average customer rating based on 32 comments:

VLeigh, October 14, 2013 (view all comments by VLeigh)
This is one of those books where you can't discuss it with anyone unless they have read this book. What is this book about? No idea. I love it though. Anytime I pick up a book by Murakami, I know that I am in for a splendid visual experience. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story surrounding a man who finds his life suddenly in upheaval. He leaves his job and then his wife disappears without warning. Some would blame the cat, but I blame the magic. Those forces that push and pull in a Murakami story without reason. This book takes you into WWII Japan and then into a pit and then back into looking for a cat. Seriously, I have no idea what to say about this book other than reading it will consume every part of you for weeks after the final page.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Crystal Trulove, May 26, 2013 (view all comments by Crystal Trulove)
What a strange, unsatisfying book! Well-written with a story line that kept me coming back, day after day, hoping for some understanding. Wildly unconnected and mystical (even scary) story lines are woven in, promising never a boring moment. An author who could place each twist and complete the puzzle in the end would truly be the genius reviewers say Murakami is. Almost nothing pulled together in the end, and though we did finally find out what happened to Toru’s wife, her rationale for leaving was WEAK. After years of heroic championship of his beloved missing wife, Toru ends up alone, then lies to and abandons his only real friend at the end, in an unexplainably wicked way.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Rick Lazarus, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Rick Lazarus)
Disturbing but compelling piece of fiction. After starting a reading time, I didn't want to stop. But picking up the book was definitely exercise. You know you will gain from it but will power is required to begin.
I wonder how much the translation added or subtracted. The themes of wells and clothing were intriguing.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
BookAddict, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by BookAddict)
Reading this book was like taking a ride on a roller coaster. I was confused, a little scared at times, surprised, but most of all intrigued from page one. Definitely the most memorable book I've read this year.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Allan Clark, March 17, 2012 (view all comments by Allan Clark)
A fantastic novel in both senses of the word. Murakami carries you slowly and surely into a surreal world with Kafkaesque details in which everything is fantastic, yet simultaneously mundane. The one constant thread throughout the phantasmagoria is the narrator's detached and indifferent voice. This is not a book for literal readers who demand a driving plot and intense characterizations�"they will be puzzled by its convolutions and bored with its elaborate details�"the narrative arc is very long, but quirky with interruptions for long pieces that could stand on their own. What is not said is often more important than what is made explicit. Murakami brings it all to a quiet yet definite end that is fully satisfying�"magical realism at its very best.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679775430
Author:
Murakami, Haruki
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Translator:
Rubin, Jay
Author:
Rubin, Jay
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Political fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
19980931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
8 x 5.16 x 1.26 in 1.05 lb

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 624 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679775430 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Known for his beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and — at times — funny surrealistic stylings, Haruki Murakami is one of the most beloved Japanese authors in the Western world. Although infused with the pop culture of the West, his writing remains at its core firmly rooted in Japan. And as modern as his style is, his work draws upon the country's past while delving deep into the Japanese psyche. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is pure Murakami — a vast, enchanting mystery filled with dreamlike surrealism. Considered by many to be his best work, the novel tackles themes as varied as the nature of consciousness, romantic disappointment, and the lingering wounds of World War II. Readers will eagerly want to unravel this intricate, multi-layered tale.

"Review" by , "Not merely a big book from the broadly respected Murakami, but a major work bringing signature themes of alienation, dislocation, and nameless fears through the saga of a gentle man forced to trade the familiar for the utterly unknown....On a canvas stretched from Manchuria to Malta, and with sound effects from strange birdcalls to sleigh bells in cyberspace, this is a fully mature, engrossing tale of individual and national destinies entwined. It will be hard to surpass."
"Review" by , "A stunning work of art...that bears no comparisons."
"Review" by , "Magnificent....[Murakami] has taken a pre-millennial swing for the fences a la David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo."
"Review" by , "Just what kind of book is it? That's the befuddling part. Plot summary is nearly useless....This overwhelming tidal wave of story washes over Toru Okada, who absorbs each new revelation implacably, hoping but usually failing to make sense of it. Murakami is utterly at ease with multiple subjects, genres, and styles — surrealism, deadpan comedy, military history, detective fiction, love story. His canvas is as broad as twentieth-century Japan, his brush strokes imbued with the lines and colors of American pop culture. Oddly, it all holds together on the stoic shoulders of Toru Okada and his single-minded determination to reclaim the woman he loves no matter how absurd the world around her becomes. In the scary but never boring vastness of this novel, it's nice to find one buoy on the horizon we recognize."
"Review" by , "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a wildly ambitious book that not only recapitulates the themes, motifs, and preoccupations of [Murakami's] earlier work, but also aspires to invest that material with weighty mythic and historical significance. But...he is only intermittently successful. Wind-Up Bird has some powerful scenes of antic comedy and some shattering scenes of historical power, but such moments do not add up to a satisfying, fully fashioned novel. In trying to depict a fragmented, chaotic, and ultimately unknowable world, Murakami has written a fragmentary and chaotic book....Wind-Up Bird often seems so messy that its refusal of closure feels less like an artistic choice than simple laziness, a reluctance on the part of the author to run his manuscript through the typewriter (or computer) one last time."
"Review" by , "[A] big, ambitious book clearly intended to establish Murakami as a major figure in world literature....The new book almost self-consciously deals with a wide spectrum of heavy subjects....[It] marks a significant advance in Murakami's art....Murakami has written a bold and generous book, and one that would have lost a great deal by being tidied up."
"Review" by , "Dreamlike and compelling....Murakami is a genius."
"Review" by , "This very long journey is much less magical than simply strained. There are detours into the history of Japan's occupation of Manchuria and accounts of Japanese prisoners' lives in Siberian coal mines. Though interesting in parts, taken as a whole, this latest from Murakami labors diligently toward some larger message but fails in the attempt."
"Review" by , "Murakami's most ambitious work to date....Ingeniously, Murakami links history to a detective story that uses a mannered realism and metaphysical speculation to catapult the narrator into the surreal place where mysteries are solved and evil is confronted."
"Review" by , "Murakami is that unusual creature, a metaphysical novelist with a warm, down-to-earth voice and a knack for creating credible characters and spinning a lively yarn....From the beginning, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has the easy authority of the work of a natural-born storyteller, and each eccentric character and odd development only adds to the anticipation that Murakami will tie it all up in a satisfying resolution....The first 600 pages of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle offer much unadulterated reading pleasure, and it's only as the remaining pages grow ominously sparse that the proverbial sinking feeling sets in....Murakami can't, in the end, gather all his novel's intriguing subplots and mysterious minor characters together convincingly, and he summarily drops whole handfuls of loose ends. Like the mark in a brilliant con game, I closed The Wind-up Bird Chronicle feeling somewhat bereft, but still so dazzled by Murakami's skill that I couldn't quite regret having come along for the ride."
"Review" by , "Murakami lets the narrative lines, so carefully laid, snap; you're suspended midair, your tender attentions scattered to the winds.... Murakami's story ran away with him. Too little too late, his impulse to tidy resolution testifies more to his discomfort with an expanded canvas than to his plug-and-socket skills."
"Review" by , "Whether his target is Japan or the world, Mr. Murakami's work sums up a bad century and envisions an uncertain future....The novel is a deliberately confusing, illogical image of a confusing, illogical world. It is not easy reading, but it is never less than absorbing."
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