The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Amazon Book Description:

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.
Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.”

My Review:

This is not so much a review as it is my overall feeling and take-away. Reading the Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami was like walking thru a very large art gallery (slash) house of mirrors. In this gallery, each work of art is loosely connected to the one next to it (sometimes), and the gallery itself is like a big fun house with moving floors and distortion mirrors where a whole lot of freaky, weird stuff is happening. I thought if I could make it through the 600+ pages, the meanings of these mysterious elements would be revealed in the end. So I finished all 600 pages, and in the end there is no explanation for any of the weirdness, no explanation for the odd characters, weird events, strange objects… But man, there are so many layers in this novel, and they are all very rich and wonderfully complex.

Most of the works of art, like Lt. Mamiya’s story, are great stand-alone pieces, interesting in their own rights, and also because it’s quite an imaginative novel. I really dig imaginative and even far-fetched literature when it’s done right. I also enjoyed the variety of literary forms. Although the protagonist is very pop culture-esque, I also appreciate Murakami’s high-context style of writing.