Monday, September 2, 2019

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami ---------------------- 3 Stars

Well, this is my second run through with a Murakami book. A bit over two years ago, I read and reviewed Murakami's Norwegian Wood. A shorter, bit more straightforward book than The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. So, what did I think of him the second time through?

Well, as you can see based on my review, pretty much the same way I felt after the first time through. Certainly not bad, but I was expecting a bit more from one of the most highly regarded authors of the past quarter century. The one was about a man who has a wife, and loses a cat, and then crazy weird stuff happens to him involving military veterans, prognosticators (one of whom is a prostitute), and a young teenage girl next door. Also, it's really hard to tell what is a dream and what is reality.

Sooo, it's an incredibly thought provoking book. Not told in a fast way. In fact, at over 600 pages, it was clear the author was in no hurry to get to things (especially as not that much happened). But, I did find myself really yearning to understand more about the story - so, of course, the internet was of great help. Well, I certainly missed a few things. Not plot elements per se, but more about deep themes enveloped in the prose. Things that were hard to tease out while reading but pretty fascinating to step back and think about while over. Themes of masculinity, guilt, happiness, etc.

As I was going through what to write for this review, I did spend a few minutes reading my review of Norwegian Wood from a few years ago. Not surprisingly, I had a very similar experience to that book. So much so, I though I'd just quote that review

"On a positive, this book actually made me think far more about it after I finished it then during. The book is a bit of a slog to read, with nothing extremely exciting for long periods. However, the book is beautifully written and has a great deal of nuance and subtlety. Unfortunately, sometimes the book was so subtle and points made so hard to decipher, that it simply felt boring. Nonetheless, upon concluding and thinking/looking back at what transpired. I was more intrigued than when I was reading. What to make of that? Certainly, it's a good sign the novel was so thought provoking and ending open to interpretation that I continued to mull over various parts but what does it say about the entertainment value of reading it that I continually felt it wasn't moving anywhere?

Well, I'm not sure what to think about Murakami at this point. This book made him a star in Japan and at least three of his books are incredibly well acclaimed, but I really didn't love this one.. However, I definitely want to take one of his more traditional science fiction novels to try to get the full Murakami experience. In the meanwhile, do feel free to check this one but be forewarned about some of the concerns noted above."

Yeah, couldn't have said it better myself!

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