The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami 


Recently unemployed, Toru Okada spends his time cooking, ironing shirts and napping. For a protagonist, he is rather quiet. However, when the sudden disappearance of his cat coincides with a plethora of peculiar phone calls, his life takes a serious turn for the strange.

From the ordinary to the fantastical, the known to the unknown, Murakami spins an odd yet compelling tale. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story laced with thought provoking philosophies and mysterious imaginings. With a cacophony of characters, each bearing their own absorbing tales, some truly violent and unsettling, but all imbued with the strange nature that Murakami is famous for, there is ever a new surprise waiting to be revealed.

For the novel’s protagonist, Toru is certainly a strange character, one who takes life entirely in his stride. Accepting each increasingly peculiar event in his life with near indifference, he exerts an overall nonchalance bordering on sheer insanity. With nothing in his life to distract him, no purpose of which to focus upon, he is strung along on the curious whims of others. Of course, in a world of Murakami’s, this can prove either enlightening, or fatal.


Whilst filled with many seemingly random yet absorbing stories, thoughts and interactions, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle did however seem to lack any sort of consistent narrative. The subtleties of Murakami can be great and well hidden, however in this instance I found much of the novel had to simply be appreciated for it’s style and grace, rather than for anything of apparent overall meaning. As a rather long novel, the impression leant was more of an amassed collection of Murakami’s odd musings than a consistent narrative.

Despite this, this is certainly a novel which causes intrigue, interest, doubt and confusion, all in the mesmerising style of its masterful author.

Length: 607 (Vintage)

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Like the sound of this? Purchase it from Amazon here.


Author: Jack Jakins

A recent graduate of history, now an aspiring writer and general cynicist

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