The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle



The Pequod Review:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle begins small, as a domestic drama involving a lost cat, and expands into one of Haruki Murakami’s most sprawling and successful novels. The story is narrated by Toru Okuda, whose missing cat is merely the launching point for a surreal series of events that follow — including two imagined sisters who enter his dreams, an extended stay in the dry well of a nearby vacant house, a meeting with a strange psychic who claims that his sister was metaphysically raped five years earlier (and has prophetic views about Toru’s missing cat), and much more.

These bizarre narratives are introduced in the first half of the novel, which is in many ways the finest work of Murakami's entire career. He assembles his story with dreams, flashbacks and letters, and he gets deep inside the mind and emotions of the bemused narrator Toru. For all of the brilliance of Murakami’s earlier books, they were often distant and elusive; with the initial sections of this book, he discovered a new and more personal tenor, involving a passionate search for meaning and human connection. While the resolution of the book is incomplete and not wholly satisfactory, Murakami charts a consistently fun path along the way.