FINALLY. I AM DONE WITH THIS BOOK. I’ve been swimming in the unhinged words of Murakami since early December, and I think I was beginning to lose brain cells from the absolute lunacy that his work is. I was determined to finish it though, and I am so happy that I finally have 😀
The Wind-up bird chronicle is told from the perspective of Toru Okada, a normal Japanese citizen living an ordinary and bland life. Then, his cat disappears. His life is turned inside-out, and the story unfolds more and more obscurities, taking him on a bizarre journey led and manipulated by a plethora of equally bizarre characters. Opening undiscovered doors in the mind that can never be closed again, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is perplexing as it is philosophical.
I really struggled to finish this book. I wasn’t sure why as I was reading it, because I was enjoying the story overall, and I was still determined to finish it. However, now that I have finished this novel, I have gained a new, zoomed out perspective, and I can now identify that I really did hate so many things about this story.
I had little to no issues with the translation from Japanese to English, done by Jay Rubin. I thought that it was done beautifully and really painted a vivid and true picture of Murakami’s original story. That being said, something often found within translated books is the feeling of lacking authenticity, as if I’m not truly reading Murakami’s work because its not in its native language. Its difficult to escape this feeling with anything that has been translated, and it sticks with you throughout the while book, almost like the feeling of guilt because you are not getting the truest form of it. Even with such a peculiar and distinctive novel as this one, sometimes I felt as if I was getting a rip-off of rather than the real thing, and that feeling is unlikely to go away no matter how incredible the translation is. Equally, I’m not going to learn Japanese just to feel like I am reading a more authentic book; I’m not that committed eek.
THIS BOOK LEFT ME WITH SO MANY QUESTIONS… and not in a good way. So much was going on, with so many individual stories all intertwined within it, all branching off in unclear directions. The significance behind any of these things is just as cryptic. I felt that almost everything in this book was left up in the air, leaving you with an astronomical amount of questions behind literally EVERYTHING. It leads me to question the need and consequence of many events within the story. So much of it never went anywhere, provoking me into the impression that things were just added simply to add to the curious vibe of dancing monkeys eating grapes in the rain while also being attacked by killer daffodils with eyebrows the size of Turkey (that has nothing to do with the actual story it just felt like a fitting metaphor). I’m sure some of it did have a meaning, but for someone like me, reading simply for pleasure, I don’t want to have to analyse everything that occurs – which is a LOT. I JUST HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AHHHHH
That being said, I didn’t hate everything about this book. The characters really were essential in sweeping you away and jerking you around in the harsh yet delicate world Toru Okada finds himself in. Toru himself (while I questioned many of his morals and found many of the things he does discreetly sickening ) was an impactful protagonist and tether. Almost all the other characters were eccentric and unbelievable, but, even though he did have his fair share of manic behaviour, he was always a character that kept me tied to the story, and prevented the novel from settling into the actual brain-implosion category. I also have a sweet-spot for Cinnamon, one of the only other male characters in this very female cast- all of which were sexualised and subject to blatant misogyny, but we won’t even get into that. Still, Cinnamon is a precious character and must be protected at all times.
This book is so hazy, not in regards to the things actually happening, but the overarching plot. It is as if Murakami himself lost track of everything that he had included too. This created a beyond unfulfilling ending, and I felt like all the answers were being stolen from me. In the last few hundred pages the only thing keeping me going was the anticipation of actually getting answers and reasoning behind the perplexing events, anD I DIDN’T EVEN GET THAT I FEEL SO VIOLATED AHHHH
Yeah.. I ‘m not sure this was the best start to reading Murakami, but even though I have just gone on a 700 word rant about why I disliked this book, it hasn’t put me off reading more of his work. Why you may ask, I have absolutely no idea, but I’m just going to accept it and leave it there.
okay only one more tiny rant i promise
I DIDN’T EXPECT TO GET REASONS FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK BUT I JUST NEEDED SOMETHING AND I GOT NOTHING
ugh I need a nice light read after this my heart can’t handle this kind of stress