Dan Sandman

43: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

In Books, Fiction on 24/10/2014 at 12:00 pm

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiHaruki Murakami has sold millions of books and has had his work translated into over forty languages. Ever since Norwegian Wood (1987) became a worldwide hit, Murakami has built up a loyal fan base across the globe. In a recent interview by The Guardian newspaper, the Japanese writer agreed with the interviewer that his fiction can be divided into two categories: magical-realistic romances and works on a smaller canvas. Of these two types of fiction, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994) fits into the first type.

The narrator and protagonist Toru Okada lives with his wife and has recently quit his job at a law firm. Okada spends his time listening to music, cooking and searching for his missing cat. As Toru becomes more and more detached from his mundane suburban existence, he meets several strange characters with intriguing stories to tell. Before too long, the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred, as Toru’s world takes on a dreamlike and magical quality.

What I love about Murakami’s fiction – and why I am able to read six hundred pages in a week with little fuss – is that it never becomes boring.  Perhaps this is because it continually introduces new and exciting characters, or because its secretive quality keeps me guessing until the very end. Whatever the reasons, Murakami continues to write books that are equally deep and fun, mastering the balance between philosophy and entertainment. This balance, most evident in this magical-realistic romance, has given me many new ways to view the world.

An epic and multifaceted masterpiece.


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