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Books: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

January 10, 2012

If you are looking for an entry-point into Murakami’s work, there are probably any number of books that can fulfill that role. This one worked for me, to the point that I purchased 1Q84 after only reading a chapter or two of Wind-Up. There are so many aspects to this book with the potential to hook a reader, it is difficult to imagine escaping altogether.

Take the style of the prose: the narrator’s voice is clean and inviting, like a meticulous sushi plate. I don’t know how this compares to Murakami’s other work, but here at least, the economic lines and chapters move out of the way, easily giving up their poetry. While the mysterious plot becomes more and more convoluted, the prose gives no resistance in the reader’s search for meaning.

The plot of course is another draw: the mundane and the supernatural melt together almost immediately, creating a kind of dream universe that is at once believable and captivating.

The characters are wonderfully bizarre as well, and on down the line through the stunning use of leitmotivs, the inventive use of multiple narrators, the structure of the novel itself ; everything one looks for in a novel is here in the kind of high mastery that feels like it could only be the work of a singular, massive talent.

Finally, the aspect of this book that appeals to me the most is the constant struggle for  its main purpose. At first, it appears to be the kind of book in which the plot is simply used as a vehicle to reveal powerful insights into our humanity. As things go along, though, the plot comes more into focus; it becomes a damn compelling novel, the kind of thing that demands frantic page flipping so we can discover what happens. In the end of course, this book manages to be both a great story and an illuminating piece. But this book thrives in an amorphous space. It is only what it is, and I for one haven’t read a thing like it. Worth owning in hardcover.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 5:54 pm

    Aaron Likes This (insert thumbs up)

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