Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (JRC3)

'Murakami writes of contemporary Japan, urban alienation and journeys of self-discovery, and in this bok he combines recollections of the war with metaphysics, dreams and hallucinations into a powerful and impressionistic work' (Independent). [back cover]

What just happened? This is usually what I think when I get to the end of one of Murakami's chapters, and often what I think when I get to the end of the book. I like the way DolceBellezza puts it 'When i close the pages of a Murakami novel, I feel that I have to sit quietly for a while. a long while. The pieces of the story that he's told me float through my conscious, and my subconscious; some of them make sense....'

So it's near impossible for me to review this book in detail today. I'm 100 pages from finishing it, and about 3 weeks away from processing it. But today's the end of the Japanese Reaching Challenge 3, so I wanted to offer some of my thoughts.

First - I found several other bloggers who read this during the challenge and offer really great reviews
Now, my current thoughts: There's a story and then there's the experience - it's like you walking down a winding path and the world beyond is all fuzzy - you want make our the shapes or the activity beyond the path - perhaps its more like you're caught up in the current of a fast moving river - clearly heading towards something greater (like the ocean) but you're not sure what you're passing along the way. Yet at some points on that journey you do get a glimpse of what you've passed or passing.

What I love about Murakami's novels is the introspection they offer. While I read what's happening to Mr Okada, or Mr Wind-up Bird, I see myself in the mirror. Was the cat's disappearance a signal for things to come, or coincidental? Was his wife's leaving a sign or a symptom? What was the mark on his face trying to tell him? ( I'm hoping I'll find out when I actually finish the book).... but the point is - there's always loads of questions in a Murakami story line - and most of them I can apply to myself.

I'm currently thinking that Mr Okada was accepting the journey he was on because he believed in fate - of destiny or karma. Me, I'm much more likely to see what I can do about my journey, change it if I need to, and to work towards my goals.

Again, I would recommend this read to anyone who's prepared to take the same journey of Mr Okada, or his cat, or Maya Kasahara or any one of the others in the story - because their journey is a reflection of ours, or the people around us.

I would like to reflect more on the spiritual aspects of this novel, but it's too early for me now.


Diane Dehler said...

I love the surreal quality of his writing. When I read his autobio I was surprised that he is such a down to earth person.

Tamara said...

Hi P.H. I will have to look up his autobio - it would be really interesting to know more about him. Thanks for mentioning it.

Anonymous said...

I think this line epitomizes the experience of Murakami so well: "What I love about Murakami's novels is the introspection they offer"...Me, too!

Tamara said...

I'm pleased I actually finished Wind Up Bird this week. While I struggled with the last few chapters, I think there's so much said in the end of the book.