The Wind Up Bird Chronicle:
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle was the fifth Murakami novel which I decided to read, right after completing Norwegian Wood. Therefore, I was well aware of the idiosyncrasies of the character in a Murakami novel, but this novel was something beyond fantasy. The novel starts when the cat belonging to a couple; Mrs. & Mr. Okada goes missing. Mr. Toru Okada, who is the wind up bird over here, meets a few people who are supposed to help him find the missing cat but the meetings do not help him and the cat does not come back, in fact, a few days after he loses his wife, Kumiko as well. She leaves her home on a certain day for work and never comes back. Mr. Okada tries to find her everywhere but all of his attempts are in vain. Things start to go haywire from here. Mr. Okada gets trapped in a dry well in the courtyard of an old, abandoned house in his neighborhood and encounters a near death experience. When somehow he manages to come out of the well, he discovers that there is blueish mark on his right cheek. He also meets a mother-son duo called Nutmeg and Cinnamon and it happens to be that Nutmeg’s father who fought in the Second World War also had this blueish mark on his cheek.
Toru Okada befriends a teenage girl who goes by the name of May Kasahara who apparently works in a wig making company! A very important character in this novel is Noburu Wataya, Mr. Okada’s brother in law, who aspires to become a famous politician. These two people do not like each other at all and he suspects that his brother in law is involved in Kumiko’s disappearance.
Murakami has used his imagination to its very peak in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. The novel is whimsical and weird in numerous places. The title of the novel comes from a sound of a bird, which only certain people get to hear, but nobody can see. From people going in and out of a room through a wall to physical manifestation of dreams. From skinning a man alive to the very act of making love, Murakami has beautifully painted a vivid canvas through his words. There are instances in this novel, which are “disturbingly fantastic” to process but are gorgeously written. Many of the episodes in the story do not make sense yet somehow by the end of the novel things add up. However, there are so many questions left unanswered by the end of the book. The novel is over 600 pages and it leaves the reader hanging by a cliff after every chapter. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is a classic example of postmodern literature which thematizes both historical and political issues. The book leaves you blank and yet wondering and by the time you finish it, you will fell old. Overall, this is must read for all Haruki Murakami fans and I will going to mark it a 4.5/5.