An isolated alley. A strange, teenaged neighbor girl who fakes a limp. A mysterious bird that (though never seen), rooster-like, heralds each new day. A mysterious woman with a red-vinyl hat. A despicable brother-in-law. A missing cat named after a despicable brother in law. I can almost imagine author Haruki Murakami having a hat full of little strips of paper on which things like this are written, and pulling a dozen or so from them when it’s time to write a new story or novel. Well, maybe two hats. Since it’s Murakami, one would have only strips of paper that somehow relate to a cat or cats. The items above are some of those he drew from the hat in order to write the novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
I’m about two-hundred pages into this novel so far. It hasn’t been my favorite Murakami by any stretch, but as usual it has just the right mixture of hints of the supernatural and prosaic daily activity (I’m sure I’ve read about his characters preparing more meals than any other writer’s) . The main character, Toru Okada, is low-key and relatively unambitious personally, but since he’s “the same character” I’ve found in all of the Murakami novels I’ve read thus far (well, at least he has the same “voice” anyway), I’m finding the fictional landscape comfortable and the reading easy. I should wrap this up by the end of the month and will report back on my thoughts.
Have you read this one? It will be my fourth Murakami, after 1Q84, Norwegian Wood, and Sputnik Sweetheart. Which Murakami work should I tackle next after this one?