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Thou Art That
A Spot of Philosophy and a Splash of Everything

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami

Category: , By FreaKo

"Really, Mr. Wind-Up Bird, it's been a lot of fun being with you. No kidding. I mean, you're such a supernormal guy, but you do such unnormal things. . . . So hanging around you hasn't been boring in any way. . . . But tell you the truth, it's made me nervous too." - May Kasahara in 'The Wind-up Bird Chronicle'

images Haruki Murakami’s novel does not have a plot per-se, but is mesmerizing and befuddling story, an unaccountably brilliant and compelling novel. The story opens with the protagonist cooking spaghetti and listening to the Thieving Magpie. Everything is mundane in this Japanese world. But soon, Toru Okada is not only searching for his wife’s missing cat, but also for his wife who goes missing herself. And from here starts a search not just for the missing cat and wife, but a search of one’s own self along with a bizarre and puzzling set of characters.

Toru, is living a almost perfect middle class life in Tokyo when his wife goes missing. He has no clue as to why she left him. He has hardly any friends and he hardly likes to speak to anyone, but before soon, he ends up meeting several people who have some of the strangest dark stories to tell. A morbid & cheerful, out of school teenager who counts and categorizes bald heads, a prostitute and her sister, both of them with paranormal powers, a war veteran who has a gruesome story to share, a vacant house with a history of tragedies, Toru’s powerful brother-in-law who comes in on and off into his life, as a thorn in the flesh, and a well without any water in it. Somehow, all of these characters’ little stories presses into Toru’s own life. With a lot of things that start happening to him in a lot little time, Toru decides to find what these stories mean to his life and spends an awesome lot of time at the bottom of the well meditating and “thinking” of all that is happening.

This isn’t a small book that you could read in a day, but certainly it is one of those that you would want to finish at one sitting. Murakami’s narrative is subtle and descriptive with a vivid imagery when ever required and he is at ease with multiple subjects, genres and styles – surrealism, military history, deadpan humour, love story and fiction. Reading this book is like playing a game of chess. It is a search for answers in seriously illogical and frightening times.

The wind-up bird chronicle is a book that would make you both ponder and enjoy and as the story of Toru unfolds, it unravels a powerful thought on human relationships.

I had carried this book with me while I travelled south. However, I forgot to carry it back with me while getting back to Bangalore and I will have to wait till my next trip, homeward bound, to know the answers that would be unravelled in the second half of the book.


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