This one by much-loved Japanese Author Haruki Murakami is a surreal account of very natural yet complicated human feelings and is ingeniously imaginative.
The book starts with the jobless “Mr Wind-Up Bird” (main protagonist and narrator) spending a very normal day at home cooking lunch when he receives a phone call from a mysterious woman. And, that’s where all the typicality of normal life ends! Right from the characters to the plot to the events, everything is kinda fascinating, maybe creepy and haunting at times. That’s the thing about this book, it’s very difficult to sum it up in one adjective!
There are about 10 main characters in the book and each of their life’s (crazy) story is told to the reader in great detail. Most of them will bring you to verge of extreme of some kind of emotion. The stories range from World War’s experiences, looking for a missing cat, sadness of a disintegrating marriage, someone’s search for identity, weird capabilities like future telling and manipulating someone’s mind and forcing them into seriously bizzare dreams. So much for a book! And the weirdness just piles up!
Some parts of the book were very captivating, some parts became really boring. I had goosebumps while reading few events’ description and I am sure they will linger in my memory for long! Some characters brought freshness to the book while others brought that eerie feeling! Most of the characters are females BTW! Halfway through the book, it was pretty clear that it was going to be a crazy ride, the one where you cannot disembark until you finish it. You would know it might lead nowhere eventually with lots of unanswered questions, but still it was compelling enough to be read till THE end.
Contrary to the general ratings for the book, I wouldn’t rate The Wind-Up chronicle as a brilliant or an outstanding work. But I don’t regret reading the Magical Realism offered by the author. A different experience altogether. It was a bit too long for me though! Read it without any expectation as such and you might find yourself indulging in the gripping insanity of this book. To summarise, If you are OK reading about people sitting at the bottom of a well for introspection & mutating woman with cat tails , you might love it!
Some lines from the book:
“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.”
“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.”
“I realize full well how hard it must be to go on living alone in a place from which someone has left you, but there is nothing so cruel in this world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.”
“When you are used to the kind of life -of never getting anything you want- you stop knowing what it is you want.”
“Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person.”
“You might think you made a new world or a new self, but your old self is always gonna be there, just below the surface, and if something happens, it’ll stick its head out and say ‘Hi.’ You don’t seem to realize that. You were made somewhere else.”
“The passage of time will usually extract the venom of most things and render them harmless”