The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle¬—By Haruki Murakami

Book Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When I think about Murakami, the first thing that comes to my mind is his amazing way of writing. Every time I dilute myself in his dialogues and thoughts I feel like a little girl, trying to describe a place or a character, even a story. I start by saying what I do since the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed at night, I describe the places, their smells, flavours, visions and their magic, to then focus on the people that I encounter. I think to whom they look like and what they inspire in me, physically and psychologically, and like that, like a long telephone cable, Murakami connects the dots without falling on boredom or repetition.

The second thing I think about is the plot of his books. And this time I have decided to talk about my favourite. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The imagination of this author exceeded all that we can possible say or think on storytelling. It is a long book, but in any moment tedious. Toru Okada, the protagonist, is clearly mundane. But as soon as we go deeply into the story the adventure starts. Toru is married to Kumiko Okada, a pretty publicist. They have a cat that they adore, Noburo Wataya, named after Kumiko’s older brother, a contradictory man, very mediatic and even famous, that convinces everybody of his altruism, except for Toru. In the search for Kumiko and Noburo, Toru finds some enigmatic characters that slowly help him to solve the mysteries of the disappearances. Malta and Creta Kano are sisters, and two mediums that join Toru along the story and show up constantly on his dreams, blurring the lines of space and time between what is actually true and what is not. Toru’s reality also becomes a dream, where the characters interact in different ways when they are awake and where they are inside Toru’s dreams.

The name of the book comes from the bird that ‘winds-up’, as he spends his time doing a ‘ric-ric’ sound outside Toru and Kumiko’s window, ‘like winding-up a mechanism’ [my own translation]. This same bird is remembered on the third part of the book with Nutmeg y Cinnamon Akasaka, a mother and son that meet Toru as the mother feels attracted by a blue mark that has been growing on Toru’s cheek since he started spending time inside the tunnel closed to May Kasahara’s house, trying to communicate with Kumiko through strange dreams and meditations. While he is in the tunnel, Toru transports himself to some of his battles, that happen in a hotel room. There is always a woman in the room, whom he always tries to identify, but he never can. He has strange sexual encounters with her. The last time Toru is in the room, he is attacked by a man with a knife, who he manages to kill while defending himself. When Toru wakes up, he is informed that his brother-in-law, Noburo Wataya, has had a stroke and is at the hospital. Kumiko suddenly appears. She was supposed to be with her brother under odd circumstances. Toru and Kumiko still have trouble to get together at the end of the story, because of strange things that kept happening until the very last page.

And this is how this book becomes an adventure where different scenes happen in two different dimensions, and where Toru, as well as other characters, move themselves interchanging good and evil, sexuality, mentalism and supernaturality. The simplicity of Toru’s character shakes to the point where he becomes a warrior to be able to find his wife. Toru faces his deepest fears, that are truly terrifying and it is here where the story keeps the reading without a breath. Once we start reading it is impossible to stop.

A 100% recommended book and author.


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