Reading this book was like looking at a beautiful painting I didn’t quite understand so this review will be very short.
‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ is standard Murakami. There are references to jazz and classical music, and cats, and the plot involves dynamic, forceful women whose lives seem to encircle an aimless young man. It’s philosophical and, though I loathe describing it in this fashion, fantasy-based. Toru’s cat goes missing and there are cracks in his marriage. He receives increasingly strange visits from mediums and ex-soldiers and is continually haunted by the wind-up bird in his neighbourhood.
Like all Murakami novels, it really feels like he’s making up the story as he’s going along. Although this is part and parcel of a Murakami novel, however, at times this caused the novel to feel disjointed and plotless. Throughout the story, various characters appear guiding Toru through his journey with morbid and fanciful tales to tell and these feel as if they had been written for another novel and are now being forcefully connected into one story.
I’m also sure there was some sort of symbolism and philosophical metaphor behind the continual references to alternate universes but because I’m not a former literary student, it was difficult to understand. Nevertheless, Murakami still provides his vivid observations on people and general human interactions, which is to be expected, and this I thoroughly loved.
I’ll be fair, I won’t compare this one to ‘Norwegian Wood’ because firstly, ‘Norwegian Wood’ is a class of its own and secondly, ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ is Murakami’s surrealist fiction so it’s inherently different from ‘Norwegian Wood’ anyway. However, I didn’t like this one as much as I liked ‘Kafka on the Shore’. It’s still an engaging read even though its deeper meaning eluded me.