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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 (1339 )
5 star
 (604)
4 star
 (371)
3 star
 (198)
2 star
 (92)
1 star
 (74)
Overall
4.1 (695 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (40)
1 star
 (25)
Story
4.2 (699 )
5 star
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4 star
 (194)
3 star
 (75)
2 star
 (29)
1 star
 (34)
Performance
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  •  
    Shelley Hamden, CT, USA 08-14-07
    Shelley Hamden, CT, USA 08-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
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    15
    1
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    Overall
    "Bizarre"

    Jumping into a dark well to think to the point of starvation, characters that resemble caricatures, seem to appear and disappear with names such as Crete and Malta, a cat that comes back with a different tail... all this makes this book odd and amazing. This is my second book by this author and I remain intrigued by his storytelling and style. My issue is only with the violence, where the author dwells on wartime atrocities, taking care to describe torture techniques a bit too graphically for my taste. The audio is effective and keep you going until the end.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Minneapolis, MN 12-21-09
    Amazon Customer Minneapolis, MN 12-21-09 Member Since 2009

    theseus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    Bold. Funny. Horrific. Ethereal. And Fantastic in all senses of the word. Echoes of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Beckett. There are many, many memorable characters and scenes; but Murakami creates through these only the major pieces of a larger puzzle. He appears to be drawing parallels between two kinds of relationships (a) the interactions (loving, mundane, barbaric, kind, cruel, lustful, comic, duplicitous) humans have with each other and (b) the interactions (same list, pretty much) we have in our minds with our past, present, and future selves. These relationships cross and fade into each other so smoothly that neither we nor the characters are completely sure where one ends and another begins. A really wonderful book that feels like it will provoke thought for quite awhile.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Ann Berkeley, CA, USA 09-10-06
    Jo Ann Berkeley, CA, USA 09-10-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    217
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "Extremely worthwhile"

    I had read this book in hard copy. I enjoyed it even more listening to this audio version. The reader is brilliant, as is the novel. Be prepared for a surreal yet vivid, intriguing experience.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard St Louis, MO, USA 02-23-07
    Richard St Louis, MO, USA 02-23-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Fun Journey, but Lack of Resolution"

    3.5 stars. If you like Murakami, you will probably enjoy this. If you have not yet read a Murakami novel, I wouldn't recommend starting with this one -- it might prevent you from reading some of the most fun and engaging literature of modern times. Try Kafka on the Shore, perhaps.

    Although generally engaging (I really did enjoy listening to the book), there are too many subplots that aren't adequately resolved, which left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied when I finished the book.

    I've read elswhere that the original Japanese version was "stripped down" for the English translation as it was too long, and as a result, certain storylines being cut short. This is plausible.

    The narrator is excellent.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevie Rio Rancho, NM, USA 10-01-06
    Stevie Rio Rancho, NM, USA 10-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "very enjoyable listen"

    I found this to be a very entertaining story. This is not the type of book I usually buy, and I'm glad that I tried it! It's a wonderful tale with several other stories within. It is well written and well read - very enjoyable.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrence SINKING SPG, PA, USA 10-19-06
    Terrence SINKING SPG, PA, USA 10-19-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
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    36
    9
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    1
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    Overall
    "Exotic"

    What a fun read. The story is a skillful tale that blends and blurs reality and unreality; and which is which? Ultimately all seem to be only facets of the same reality. Maybe that is too ambitious a description. It is enough to say that the story is interesting, mysterious, comedic, thought provoking but above all entertaining throughout. The narrator is excellent, and every character has their own personality and voice. I enjoyed this book very much.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Jamie 08-25-06
    Jamie Jamie 08-25-06 Member Since 2004

    Jamie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    312
    11
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    8
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    Overall
    "Enthralling from chapter 1"

    I just downloaded this. I jump around a bit from genre to genre, but I alway gravitate to longer selections for the value and engagement. I'm not quite sure where I would put this as far as genre goes, but I was hooked after only a few chapters. The engineering is of good quality and the narrator keeps my attention and has good enunciation and pace. The story- well I will let you decide (I hate spoilers), but I can say this it's hard to put away once you get in to it. There is mild sexual content so be warned, but for anyone well read it is very tame.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chiharu Athens, OH, USA 12-12-06
    Chiharu Athens, OH, USA 12-12-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Another Haruki's world"

    I actually read it in Japanese first, and was curious enough to listen to the English Audiobook. It is in a way scary because I did have my own imagination of the world of this book. However, I was NOT dissapointed. This is pretty good interpretation and performance. I loved it and listened three times so far.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Elkhorn, WI, USA 12-29-07
    Roger Elkhorn, WI, USA 12-29-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    120
    ratings
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    860
    6
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    "Completely weird and undescribeable"

    As I slowly got into this book, I laughed out loud at times, was perplexed and filled with wonderment, and startled by some characters and actions which are so strange, others so real and horrific.... it is a very odd book. I doubt if I could "read" it but I loved listening to it.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Chardon, OH 44024 11-02-06
    Susan Chardon, OH 44024 11-02-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    109
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Exceptional narration.....Awesomely quirky story"

    Let me begin by saying that this is a very strange story indeed. It will stay with me for a good while. I do want to emphasize, however, that I feel that the narrator did an exceptional and very entertaining job with very difficult material.
    I loved most parts of this story and ...well, some parts were horrifically fascinating. Like a gruesome traffic accident that you cannot look away from even though you know you'll have nightmares from the sight.
    This is not a book that has a "specific" story but rather an intimate portrait of a microcosmic slice of humanity. I cried, I laughed (especially at the neighbor girl, May [sp?]) and I cringed. In fact, I believe I ran almost the entire gamut of emotions that I am capable of...including some disappointment in the way in which the author finished this story. I don't always expect everything wrapped up in neat tidy bundles but I felt a little flat, so to speak, in the last act.
    Would I have missed this opportunity to have entered this world and met these characters? Emphatically no. Would I have liked a slightly different conclusion? yes.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 104 results PREVIOUS1211NEXT
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  • Wendy
    TAUNTON, SOMERSET, United Kingdom
    5/15/07
    Overall
    "wind up bird chronicles"

    Weird but wonderful! This narrative keeps you enthralled from beginning to end. I could not wait for the story to unfold. The narrator is brilliant. Would recommend

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Beulah, United Kingdom
    7/15/10
    Overall
    "Great book"

    As with all of the authors offerings, there is a particular, other-worldy flavour to this book. The narrator does an excellent job of adding to Murakami's almost trademark atmosphere by his relaxed and diverse talent.

    Murakami has an incredible imagination and a rare talent for threading his characters together into compelling and moving stories. All his books contain a passive male protagonist, strange subplots, discussions of life and death and at least one cat - this book does not disappoint!

    HIghly recommended, enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rob
    Leatherhead, Surrey, United Kingdom
    5/18/08
    Overall
    "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"

    I didn't know what to expect, but had chosen it after reading other reviews. I was absolutely engrossed in the story with it's bazaar characters. The narrator, Rupert Degas, is brilliant and he brought the fantastic characters to life - even the women. The way Degas flies through the text is unbelievable - other audio book publishers should be fighting over him. The three parts totalled about 20 hours of listening and I was incredibly disappointed to reach the end. I will definitely be looking for more of this great duo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Dublin, Ireland
    2/28/11
    Overall
    "Great but full of woo woo"

    As much as I don't like the fact myself, my loathing for all things woo has started to taint fiction for me recently. Any mention of fortune-telling or anything of that ilk produces and internal groan I just can't help.

    Even though I like otherwordly novels with mystical characters, another half of me is thinking 'what a crock...'. I know, I know, it's ridicilous to be thinking that way. It's pure fiction but I can't help thinking the slightest encouragement for that nonense is unhealthy. Ridicilous that it should taint fiction for me really, just a tad, but it does.

    So I really liked The Wind-up Bird Chronicle but couldn't exacty bring myself to say I loved it. Not as much as most people seemed to

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    WATERLOOVILLE, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth the listen"
    Where does The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As the far as the audio element it was on a par with most of what I've listened to; not noticeably better but definitely not poor.


    What other book might you compare The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to, and why?

    It's hard for me to think of a good comparison, in many ways very little happens in the book and there's no climactic point to the story. But to me that was the point, it was interesting and full of content, and a refreshing change to a lot of what's out there. I don't know if that's true of Japanese novels or if it's specific to Murakami, but I've read several of his books (and am making my way through the rest) and I recommend trying them.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I can't describe an exact emotion, but I was definitely emotionally invested in the characters, they were brilliantly written.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ms. Joanna M. Benko
    U.K
    12/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not sure what to think about it"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The storyline is interesting and would not change a thing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The female character has is interesting. You know that she holds the mystery but have to wait for her to reveal it.


    What about Rupert Degas’s performance did you like?

    I hated it and that is the reason why I only gave the book 3 stars. I have no doubts that he might have actic skills but his voice and a way he was acting characters out was annoying!


    Could you see The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    Not sure as the book is a slow paste with no much dynamic and this does not sale.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris W
    Kent, UK
    11/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Do I have the stamina to get to the end!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, but for the insight into some Japanese cultural views rather than for the story. It seems to be a series of small scenes, which may or may not go somewhere. I'm still on the journey.


    Any additional comments?

    Its a book I need quiet to listen to, as opposed to my favourite story telling books that draw me in and block out the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ulrike
    Woolpit, Suffolk, United Kingdom
    11/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my taste"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Reduce it by half


    What will your next listen be?

    A book with a proper story


    Have you listened to any of Rupert Degas’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Yes, got the Name of the Wind. He's an excellent reader and brings characters to life.


    Did The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I give up after about half of the book. There is no story line to follow, I don't engage with the characters, and I keep dozing off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. W. Holdings
    St Martin
    9/16/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I still don't know what to think of it"

    One thing for sure, this is the weirdest and most bizarre book I have ever come across..

    Stories of the most ordinary and boring daily routines blend here with unexpected situations, strange dialogues and terrorising tales from the II WW, almost as if the author was playing with the reader, trying to put his emotions to sleep to suddenly wake him up with the most violent and detailed torture or a bizarre sex scene one can imagine.

    The pace is slow, yet what doesn’t happen is almost as significant to what does, making it for a quite a frustrating read/listen at times.

    What kept me going was the fact that I had no way of guessing where the author was taking his story and how it was going to end. Having said that, I found the ending disappointing yet not at all out of a character..

    One thing for sure, this book was so weird, I really don’t know what to think of it..
    hence the ***** and * star

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Stevenage, United Kingdom
    8/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, perseverance required though"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the most enjoyable?

    The story is quite intricate and requires attention throughout.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I found the narration to be quite annoying at times. I would recommend persevering through this though as the story is worthwhile.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're looking for an 'easy' listen, this isn't it. It is enjoyable with effort though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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