In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat – and then for his wife as well – in a netherworld beneath the city’s placid surface. As these searches intersect, he encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists.
Reading this novel is certainly an arresting experience. There is a cold aspect to the writing, a sense of detachment, which makes it nonetheless strangely compelling. The relaxed tone of the narrator makes this a novel of normality and functionality of life, which heavily contrasts with the extraordinary and the imaginative (or is it supernatural?) rabbit hole it soon encompasses.
Murakami doesn’t always join the dots, or at least not in an obvious way. I like that. Instead he encourages the reader to consider the bigger themes. It’s a thought-provoking piece of literature in many ways, crammed full with lots of symbolism and elusive connections, and one exceptionally gory scene which was a bit much, when it came to the details.
There is a rare insight into the Japanese people and their history, regarding the occupation of Northern China and the Manchurian campaigns of World War II. The themes of how different types of power and pain that can drive a person, and how different spaces can affect the mind are a constant companion, the book is about the physical as much as the psychological. Continue reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami”