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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle | [Haruki Murakami]

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Toru Okada is going through a difficult time. He is without a job, his cat has disappeared, and his wife is behaving strangely. Into this unbalanced world comes a variety of curious characters, a young girl sunbathing in a nearby garden; sisters who are very peculiar indeed; an old war veteran with a violent, disturbing story. Okada retreats to a deep well in a nearby house. And the story unfolds.
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Publisher's Summary

Toru Okada is going through a difficult time. He is without a job, his cat has disappeared, and his wife is behaving strangely. Into this unbalanced world comes a variety of curious characters, a young girl sunbathing in a nearby garden; sisters who are very peculiar indeed; an old war veteran with a violent, disturbing story. Okada retreats to a deep well in a nearby house. And the story unfolds.

©2006 Haruki Murakami; (P)2006 Naxos AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1409 )
5 star
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  •  
    Amber Fort Collins, CO, United States 09-02-11
    Amber Fort Collins, CO, United States 09-02-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Do you understand?"

    I found this book hard to listen to, do you see what I'm saying? Maybe it was the translation, do you understand me? But it was just painful how repetitive certain phrases were, do you see what I mean?

    ARGH. I hate to be so childish, and maybe it's a cultural thing that got 'lost in translation' but so many of the very long monologues ended each sentence with a confirmation that the they were being understood.

    The plot itself is very odd. The main character has weird sex encounters throughout the book, and some suggestive stuff with a young girl. The character accepts without question a series of very strange events, so much so that it just misses out on being believable, even in a fantasy world. I did not enjoy the story, felt it moved very spasmodically and slowly. The very, very, very long monologues were frustrating... either not revealing the point of them, or repeating the point over and over. But the story was better than...

    The narration... I have never wanted to claw my ears off before the long letters from May, the young girl. A valley girl accent for what should have been a Japanese girl, it just didn't fit at all. One of the other reviewers here hit the nail on the head when he said that he sounded like a drag queen for most of the female roles, or an out of breath prostitute. It took all dignity away from the female characters, and honestly was almost impossible to listen through. He was also awful with many of the male characters, making a poet out to sound like a dead beat surfer, or the wheezing-sucking sounds for Noboru Wataya's off sider... Again, literally had to stop listening at those parts. I have written a note and stuck it to my monitor with Rupert Degas's name on it so that I never accidentally purchase another book he has narrated.

    I'm baffled by the popularity of this book. I regret spending my credit and feel foolish for listening to the end based on the belief that all the other good reviews must have been written for a reason.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-12 Member Since 2015

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Took a while to get into"

    A lot of folks liked the TV series Twin Peaks though they were hard pressed to explain exactly why. When plumbing the depths of likes and dislikes this is often the case with surrealism. We know that there is something about the surrealism of a piece that we are attracted to but exactly what that is is hard to two say. I found this to be the case with my third excursion into the Lynchian world of Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (tWUBC), the first two being 1Q84 and Kafka on the Shore in that order. While I definitely appreciated the second of these more than the last, it might even be true of the first, his most celebrated novel.

    I was not as drawn into this labyrinthian plot as I was the other two novels’. There seems to be a common thread in many Murakami books involving sex between male protagonists and their sisters and/or mothers. tWUBC does not “deviate” from that. It’s not always clear whether the tryst is dreamt since entire novels can be interpreted as dreamlike or whether they actually occur (if that can ever be said about a work of fiction in the first place). What is perhaps most remarkable is that Murakami gets away with describing, though not always in lurid detail, these affairs with veritable impunity and no one seemingly objecting to this recurring theme. It does give one pause to wonder though, what’s up with this and Murakami in the first place?

    Another recurring theme has to do with cats... in particular, lost cats and their relationship(s) with other characters in the books i.e. retriever of lost cats, cat whisperers and the like. What’s up with that? Who knows. Who can possibly know the mind of this talented and seductive author.

    Murakami’s writing has been described as weird and bizarre. Maybe so it is. But the clarity of Murakami’s writing is indisputable. Dreams in general are not always clear. Sometimes we see things in dreams through a cloud or sheer material. This is not how the writing of Murakami comes across to the reader. Every sentence of Murakami is succinct: short and with a clarity that almost defies comparison. I think that I enjoy the way Murakami chains his words together as much if not more than what the words speak about. Naw, maybe not, but close. It took me longer to get into this novel compared my first Murakami books but worth the investment.

    On the subject of words, I am again as often is the case, challenged by whether a book is improved or diminished by its reader. In all three cases, the above books are read by different and in the case of the first two, multiple actors. In all cases, the narrators/actors were outstanding. I believe I can say that I successfully “got” Murakami through the layers of narration in all of these and he was terrific.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Murphy 04-19-09
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    "Magnificant tale told"

    The author takes us into a world of bizarre characters, strange happenings and tells a wonderul tale with all the twists and turns of a complex mystery. Allow your expectations to stay outside of this world. Just step in and enjoy a magnificant tale of human weakness and strength.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 11-08-06
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 11-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW"

    I've now taken to listening to books before I commit. Came to the Wind Up Bird and after just a few words I was hooked. Strange I know but I will not like a book later if I don't right off.
    This book rewound often because I don't know my MP3 enough, but that was okay. Every time I listened to a portion again it was like the first. Kind of like when you rewatch a movie, every time you see something different. Wind Up Bird is just like that to me. I hated to see the novel end. Haruki and Rupert are geniuses. Loved the story, the characters and the brilliant narration. I highly recommend this novel. Be prepared to be entertained and forget the story line. Just kickback and enjoy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Monrovia, CA, United States 01-26-10
    Stephanie Monrovia, CA, United States 01-26-10 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing listen for being so long!"

    This novel has it all, an amazing reader a great protagonist and the most unique story line. I loved this and will recommend it to all my friends.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenn 03-30-12
    Jenn 03-30-12
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    "Surreal"

    This book was very interesting but oh so strange. What I didn't know when I bought it is that is full of sex and extremely graphic violence and gore. I don't think I would have purchased it if I had known. I don't think I will listen again but it was hard to put down. The narrator was very good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Joe Richmond VA 05-11-09
    Virginia Joe Richmond VA 05-11-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Your Usual Listen"

    Not the usual read. It kept my interest throughout. The protagonist experiences a somewhat metaphysical journey through a neighborhood teenager and group of eccentrics connected to his (estranged) wife's. Echoes of past lives and life lessons are interspersed with a cast of characters that will make you smile.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Ogden, UT, United States 03-09-08
    Daniel Ogden, UT, United States 03-09-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The longest not long enough."

    This is a really long audio book and I still didn't want it to end. Haruki Murakami is the master of strange.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Phoenix, AZ, United States 06-21-12
    Amanda Phoenix, AZ, United States 06-21-12

    I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Great Visit With The Master"

    Let me say going into this review, I love Haruki Murakami. He's become one of my favorite authors, so I'm pre-inclined to enjoy his novels.

    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle shares several common attributes with Murakami's other works. It takes place in a surreal world, where nothing is ever fully explained or resolved, and the bizarre and impossible are the norm. It weaves a thin thread that will tie different people, places, and generations together, with the help of a strange marking on a face, an unusual sounding bird that prefers to be heard and not seen, a missing cat (Murakami is so fond of his cats), and a main character that is searching for something they dearly want, but don't know how to find in this magical, odd world.

    Murakami demands that you let go of all expectations of a clear storyline or a full resolution; but if you are willing to do that, he'll take you to a land you can't get to without him.

    I really enjoyed this book a great deal. As a side note; if you're a fan of this book, it seems that a theatrical production has been created based off the book, and may have U.S. dates scheduled in 2013. The site is windupbc and I thought it looked pretty interesting.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Clifton Hill, Australia 12-26-08
    Sam Clifton Hill, Australia 12-26-08 Member Since 2006
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    "brilliant"

    Just brilliant. Let the story evolve and carry you along - it is one of the best I've heard in 2 years of subscription. Somewhat metaphysical and totally enthralling.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • Miss J. Pischorn
    UK
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Gentle"

    Rupert Degas as the narrator is very suitable for reading Murakami's stories. He has a gentle and dreamy way of telling the story which takes you into its spirit very easily. I found the world and the people Murakami describe almost addictive. It was very enjoyable to listen to the wind-up bird. As always there are sub plots which more ore less remain unsolved and open to interpretation. I would recommend it to all of those people who enjoyed Norwegian Woods.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. K. M. Fitzgerald
    Norwich, England
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Beautifully written and read"

    I downloaded this novel on the recommendation of a colleague, and have not been disappointed. The prose is beautifully written, with effective creation of narrative perspective. The protagonist takes the listener/reader on a detailed journey through not only the days of his present life, but also through flashbacks to his past life. There are elements of magical realism and mystery which add suspense and interest. However, the reader/listener needs to be someone who enjoys a slow-moving text with attention to descriptive detail. The reading is excellent - all characters' dialogue is read in individualised voices, which make it very realistic to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Derek
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Rupert Degas delivers another stunning performance"

    This quirky tale is transformed into a totally mesmerising audio book by the deft characterisations provided by Rupert Degas. Originally written in Japanese, the book was translated into (American) English. Degas delivers an engaging host of characters entirely consistent with the anachronistic theme making this my all-time favourite audio-book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Carol
    Ely, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "japan culture"

    i have recently read a number of Murakami books and have enjoyed both the stories and the incredible insight they give you into Japanese culture. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is the story of a man whose wife has left him, and the way that he deals with it. the range of experiences related and the breadth of language makes it a book that is impossible to stop reading

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Co Galway, Ireland
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "The Wind up Bird Chronicle"

    I had heard a lot about Haruki Murakami and decided to buy and listen to this book - It is difficult for me to describe what it was like. Somewhat surreal and mysterious, something out of this world. I found the best way to listen to it was to stop questioning things and just let myself get carried along with the story. I know Murakami has a great fan base, but this was just not for me, Listenuing to it was an experience I enjoyed but do not want to repeat !!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rima
    Dunoon, Argyll, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "The Perfect Audiobook"

    This is the most fascinating audiobook I've ever listened to. Rupert Degas does a magnificent job of presenting Haruki Murakami's ordinary yet extraordinary characters doing ordinary things with a surreal twist. There is a point in nearly every audiobook I listen to at which the narrator lets me down - either I find myself bored or annoyed with the narrators voice/accent or I find some fault in the way he/she portrays a character. Not once in the thirty six hours of listening did I find myself finding fault with the narrator or the story. If you like a good mystery with a lot of real life thrown in for good measure, you must try this one out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom
    9/27/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant, everything...."

    My latest excursion into the world of Haruki Murakami started with the initial thought that this earlier effort was a better holiday fiction prospect for the second week away that diving into the full IQ84 for a fortnight. I quickly got into the rhythm and realised that here was probably the best of this author’s work that I’d read - and least since my last Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Although, what nonsense - everything he writes is brilliant....everything...brilliant....without compromise without exception.



    The war reminiscences form a really strong strand in this novel, but the central narrative never lets go the pace. It is a novel that walks, takes, pulls, encourages, laughs along with you from page to page. At times the humour comes to the fore at other times it is the repulsion of savagery and violence in a land far away in a time not known of and circumstances that have been closed to the Western world. The patina of fiction is applied to real events that may or may not have happened in Manchuria. Zoo vets and Russian intelligence officers vie with Mongols and Afghans, the first of Facebook and the last of transcendental sensory deprivation all laid out step by step.



    The greatest living author currently 10/1 for the Nobel Prize which has got to be worth a punt.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    United Kingdom
    4/17/12
    Overall
    "Original and compelling"

    It is rare these days to find a novel that is both original and utterly engaging, either the story is lost in the attempt to find new concepts or, more often, it strays into previously written territory. This novel is strange and wonderful - some of the ideas expressed are so bizarre that you wonder what is going on in Mr Murakami's head! Well whatever it is - I for one am grateful - this is a word of genius.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nils
    Olstykke, Denmark
    3/14/12
    Overall
    "Disturbing, exhilarating, profoundly original"

    Having listened to Murakami's "Kafka on the Shore", I decided to get The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle next.

    It is quite different, but equally unlikely in its weaving seemingly unrelated and occasionally bizarre tales into a fabric strangely believeable and coherent. The concept of different worlds is alien, but Murakami manages to stir the heart and mind of the "reader" in a way that has left me grateful for this audiobook.

    Rupert Degas' narration is superb, clear and distinct and so respectful of the text and the strange worlds populated by Murakami. He underlines the humour wonderfully in the voice of young Mei Kasahara. Never once was the narration in the way of the author and the listener - well done!

    In conclusion: Few books have felt so enriching to me in years as this one and Kafka on the Shore. Which makes it difficult to know where to turn next without being disappointed...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • DG
    2/6/09
    Overall
    "Let Down"

    I do like David Lynch but I did not like this. Intriguing to begin with but it never really delivered. The first audiobook I have been close to giving up on

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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