Friday, March 06, 2020

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami

While not a rock'n'roll book by any stretch (I think the closest that it comes is when the main character wears a Van Halen t-shirt!), this was referenced in Patti Smith's M Train and sounded intriguing so I picked up a copy to peruse.

Here we encounter a young Japanese man named Toru Okada, whose life takes a wild and surrealistic turn after first quitting his job, which is followed by the disappearance of his cat and then his wife. From there he rendezvouses with increasingly strange characters before going through some fairly psychedelic' n'hallucinatory situations and gaining vaguely undescribed psychic powers. No one's motives are completely clear, including Okada's, as his steers himself through progressively odder directions and learns the tales of the people that he is now dealing with (that intertwine with his own experiences) in the search for his wife and cat. The "wind up bird" is a phrase that Okada believed that he coined, but which appears in nearly everyone's story at some point, always precursing an internal discovery or conflict or power, or possibly all of the above.

Although somewhat meandering, Murakami always keeps the reader engrossed'n'captivated and it can be difficult to put the book down. Most everything does resolved in the end, at least to some extent, but there are plenty of unanswered questions, as well. These days I read more biographies than fictional tales, but this was a nice diversion which might make me change my ways somewhat - we shall see. In any case, this is a strangely entertaining tale.