The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: Review
By Senan Tuohy-Hamill | Nov 21 2017Recounting the journey the reader makes with the protagonist, Senan Tuohy-Hamill explains why The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is his favourite book.The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is a breath of originality. Murakami is known for his unusual blend of the mundane and the fantastical, and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle epitomises this style. This book is my favourite because it really resonated with me, the way it links together seemingly unrelated ideas into a meaningful story is incredibly unique.
“As the couple’s relationship deteriorates, and the world of the everyday becomes more and more distant, Toru begins to feel alienated from reality.”Set in 1980s Japan, in the capital of Tokyo, the book begins as a portrayal of the relatively normal life of the main character Toru Okada along with his wife, Kumiko. However, things begin to take a strange turn when their cat disappears. As the couple’s relationship deteriorates, and the world of the everyday becomes more and more distant, Toru begins to feel alienated from reality. The characters he meets throughout the story highlight his descent from the surface world of normality to the dream-like, illogical world where he begins to feel more and more at home.If, like me, you love delving into new and different characters, and following their development and arc, then this book is perfect for you. There is a constellation of unusual and bizarre characters, ranging from psychic sisters to war veterans, all of whom intrude upon Toru’s life and contribute to its increasing bizarreness. Murakami manages to create the perfect juxtaposition of the ordinary and the fantastical, leaving the reader confused, just like Toru as he tries to navigate these strange happenings. The use of magical realism is what makes this book so unique as it combines events that would otherwise have no contact with each other. Murakami has a knack for creating a dream feel, one that gently carries you along to the end. It almost feels like an easy read, except for the amount of questions left unanswered. Though this can be frustrating for some, if you focus less on loose-ends and more on the exploration of a person and their development you will get more out of this novel.Through the veneer of normality, concepts such as the self, death, and what it means to know another person are approached, but no direct answers are given. It is left open to the reader to draw their own conclusions. It is as though Murakami is tempting us, nudging us closer to the answer, as though we are simply following breadcrumbs to reach what he already knows; some enlightenment that he reached long ago.