The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

by Haruki Murakami · read August 7, 2019


An ambitious, stunning, confusing, unbelievable novel. I felt invested in Toru and his search to figure out what was going on - in his world, with his wife, even with his own body and mind. The array of other characters and their stories was equally interesting, and I particularly liked the vignette of the boy looking out the window and the account in the Siberian labor camp. This is a book that I feel I'd have to read many times to understand more; from my first encounter, though, the references to flow and fate definitely intrigued me. I also liked the prevalence of nonevents and didn't really mind the loose threads, which I think are prerequisites to deeply enjoying the novel.

At the same time, however, he would often come home from work and, seeing his wife and daughter there, think to himself, These people are, finally, separate human beings, with whom I have no connection. They were something other, something of which he had no true knowledge, something that existed in a place far away from the doctor himself. And whenever he felt this way, the thought would cross his mind that he himself had chosen neither of these people on his own–which did not prevent him from loving them unconditionally, without the slightest reservation. This was, for the doctor, a great paradox, an insoluble contradiction, a gigantic trap that had been set for him in his life.

Julia Cooke © 2023