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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Audiobook

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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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

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4.0 (1536 )
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4.1 (877 )
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  •  
    Cherry Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-06-11
    Cherry Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-06-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant book poorly delivered"

    I've been listening to audio books of novels I'd previously read for a while now, and up next on my list was one of my favourite Murakami pieces. When I read this novel it was an immediate stand out, and it is so finely crafted and beautifully told. The story is full of wonder and intrigue, with just a little darkness and science fiction.

    Unfortunately this audio book version is a huge let down. The performance by the narrator is actually pretty good until you get to the female characters. His female voices are so annoying to listen to and so over the top and thoroughly dumb sounding. This is especially bad when the characters are incredibly strong.

    I usually give narrators a good chance to sell their interpretation to me, but after a few hours I just couldn't take it any more and unfortunately had to give up this listening. As I said; terribly disappointed.

    What a shame it's not the same narrator as for Kafka on the Shore or even Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the World.

    I've listened to over 70 audio books in the past few years and this is the only the second one I completely gave up on and only the first that was due to the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda W-G 08-19-11
    Amanda W-G 08-19-11 Member Since 2016

    kiwi_baby

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Recommended to read because loved move Inception"

    I never write reviews but after listening to this for over 40 hours I can't help but to write one in fear that someone else would waist their token on this. Don't! It is so boring you just want it to end. Have to give credit to the narrator though. He did a wonderful job, could manage multiple voices well and even stayed awake. The only memories I will take away from this book is the horrible skinning a man alive scene and I wish it would go away!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dontkickthebaby 04-10-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excruciating"

    There is very little plot here. There are a lot of pathetic, low-life characters who spend the book brooding. It will depress you.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica FAIRFIELD, CA, United States 03-14-11
    Jessica FAIRFIELD, CA, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2011
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    7
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    "Beautifully Unpredictable"

    This book is haunting and touching. Poetic and harsh. Relatable and surreal. Completely unpredictable. Different from any other book I've read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas New York, NY, United States 03-07-11
    Thomas New York, NY, United States 03-07-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Winded Bird!"

    Missing cat, over boiled spaghetti, wife who disappears, skinning a man alive… humm… you have The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki-Murakami. This is the third book I have read by Murakami. While there are some issues related to the translation of his work into English, let’s face it, he has a very unique style. For many, the seemingly disconnected independent stories, which are all tied together by the lead character, make for a very confusing story. The reader is uncertain about which is parts are dreams, which parts are where the lead character is lost in his thoughts (is it real or is it Memorex? I mean, let your mind create your own stories). This is not a linear story, though I do think it the book has some major themes which are repeated often and leave the reader with some level of “learning” or at least message on the meaning of his life. In the book, the main character, Toru Okada, an unemployed married passive man is led on a series of unexplained experiences, some real, some dreamed, some hoped for, leaving the reader creating his/her own context for the meaning of the book. This makes your read different than mine and leaves lots of room for exploration and venturing into quite a story. One of the most impactful parts of the work for me occurs when Lieutenant Mamiya and his partners in the map planning business are confronted by members of the Russian military. The Lieutenant shares his story with Toru when he is delivering a gift left by the dead palm reader who leaves Toru a present. The present, in many respects, is for Toru to hear the horror of Mamiya who is tortured, much like Toru (but in a physical way, not in an emotional / spiritual way), when he witnesses the brutal “skinning” of his colleague and then is held captive by the Russian military. He eventually is let go years later but when he attempts to kill his captive he is unsuccessful and then he receives a curse to be lonely the rest of his life. Through each of the characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Solis Yucatan, MX 03-04-11
    M. Solis Yucatan, MX 03-04-11 Member Since 2007

    Malena

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My first Murakami experience"

    I loved the book, I did not know what to expect so it was a wonderful surprise, never boring always intriguing and very interesting; loved the characters. I already bought Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood, can't wait to start listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Columbia, TN, United States 04-08-10
    John Columbia, TN, United States 04-08-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Odd"

    This is definitely an odd book, and I am sure it is full of culture I just don’t get. It was pleasant to listen to and had some memorable lines. If you can stay with it and not be put off when it gets a little to far out, you may like it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tatiana bethany Beach, DE USA 07-16-09
    Tatiana bethany Beach, DE USA 07-16-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""My hero is truth""

    Shall I compare the work of Haruki Murakami to Tolstoy? Perhaps I shall make a parallel to Dostoevsy?
    This book is in its own way an art. The craft of language, the hero’s personal world and the depth of the human soul is the truth in its purity. I did not mind the Manturia and the war! How many writes, including Ernest Hemingway wrote about it openly.
    This book will throw you off your guard and make you think deep thoughts and guide you into the darkest places of your soul.
    Do not be confuse, dear reader! Stay open and enter the world of darkness and light, enter the soul of a man and his journey. This book is a fairly tale of the modern reality. I loved it!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James McGinley 07-03-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way too long"

    Don't get me wrong; I love a long book, but this one has a lot, and I mean a whole lot, of digression. It is well written, so I made it through the book, but it was a challenge. There is one character in the book who is particularly annoying, and I believe the author did this intentionally. This book should be shorter by half.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marius Irene, South Africa 04-06-09
    Marius Irene, South Africa 04-06-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wound up"

    Murakami could do with a better editor. I've enjoyed two of his books (Kafka and Norwegian Wood) before this one. I enjoyed this one as well, but the others were more satisfying in a way that is hard to define. This is an extraordinary book and one can appreciate why it won the Yomiuri Prize. However, some of its interludes drag to the point that they become somewhat tedious. The removal of about 20 per cent of the text would have substantially improved the flow of this book, while sacrificing little. As always, Murakami's characters are more off the wall than Humpty Dumpty, and their psychological hang-ups make a typical Woody Allen character seem well-adjusted. Naturally, there is the required hefty dose of Japanese mysticism, in David Lynchian quantities. Not your average novel, but worth it if you have the time. The narrator, Rupert Degas, does a fine job.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Martin
    Inerness, United Kingdom
    5/4/09
    Overall
    "A very different listen"

    It is not really like anything I have listened to or heard before, you are not sure what is meant to be reality or not, as you listen you have absolutely no idea at all where the story is going and what will be in the next chapter. That sounds like something bad but this is the genius of the book, you will be wondering all the way through how and if all of the plot lines and characters are going to tie up. The story blends reality and dream together with a bit of supernatural. As others have said the narration was extrordinary. A very enjoyable experience, but be prepared for something quite different to what you may be used to in terms of how you are used to thinking a story "should" go. Not a fast paced story, requires time and patience but it is a very rewarding experience.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Glawsmole
    5/1/10
    Overall
    "Long but never boring"

    This is the second of Murakami's novels I've listened to and I enjoyed this one very nearly as much as Kafka on the Shore. Again this is a very fine novel; mystical, poetic, brutal, uplifting. The author seems to have an uncanny knack of being able to tell a great story without having much of a story to tell. If you boil down the actual events the book, nothing much happens, but there is this tremendous sense that there is an order to the world. When something disturbs that order, Murakami's protagonists have to embark on an odyssey before they can get back where they belong with the various elements of their world order in their rightful places.

    I suspect this is a big thick book if you see it in a bookshop, yet not a word seems out of place or superfluous.

    Vast sections of the book are told in side-stories of minor characters and yet everything that is told has its place and pulls the reader along with it. It's complicated without being convoluted.

    I never once felt bored in the 20 hours of listening and that must be a difficult thing for a writer of this type of work to achieve.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    Bassingbourn, South Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
    3/12/09
    Overall
    "Verbosely captivating"

    This is a captivating chronicle of Mr Wind Up Bird - where the main character goes into extremely verbose detail about everything he does - and everything other people have told him.

    In real life I would hate this - just get to the point - but in this book you welcome the descriptiveness of everything - even down to him making some spaghetti in chapter 1.

    This book is long but it isn't boring. Often when people talk to you they touch on something and you are curious about the things they touch on. The author of this book seems to know you are curious and goes off on tangent after tangent describing and filling in the gaps that you just assume will come up at some point.

    The book remains moderately sane for the first half - then gets weirder and weirder - but a good weird that leaves the reader curious to contine.

    The audio book reader shows great talent at differentiating the voices of the different characters - it is something often lacking in other audibooks.

    I thoroughly recommend this audiobook - give it a go.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Liz
    old windsor, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Best audible book so far"

    I was completely captivated by this book, mainly because of the superb narration by Mr Degas. The story, if you can call it that, alternates between mundane, surreal and disturbing, and sometimes a combination. Not a comfortable listen, but I really didn't want it to end. Haven't listened to anything as interesting before or since. If you read the other reviews it seems that everyone has got something different from it, which I suppose is the point. Will definitely listen again to this one. And I am looking out for more by the narrator, who I thought was fantastic. Would give it more stars if I could.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    aylesford, kent, United Kingdom
    8/25/10
    Overall
    "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"

    For my first experience with audio books I chose this, my favourite ever novel.

    This is probably not usually the best way of going about things but this time it worked out well for me, the narrator has a fantastic delivery, with a great variety of characters, all sounding very natural and authentic. Add this to the gripping and mesmeric story and you have a sure fire winner. Bring on more.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Kayd100
    5/3/07
    Overall
    "I think I'm turning Japenease"

    What a brilliant listen. Gives you an insight into the scary labyrinth that is Murakami's imagination. All the characters range from quirky (at the very least) to the outright bizarre, this serves as a wonderful contrast to the lead, whose happy (but somewhat dull) existence is about to be overturned. Not everybody's cup of tea, but really great if you occasionally like to come out of the comfort zone.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    9/6/10
    Overall
    "Tends towards incoherence"

    This is my first stab at Murakami, and I'd heard this was supposed to be his breakthrough, so thought I'd give it a shot. It has an intriguing surreal quality to it, counter-pointed with rather stark, straightforward prose. And, as far as its audio version goes, it is superbly narrated.

    The book itself, though, is a very long listen, which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, because the story has no linear plot to speak of, my mind began to wander. There was little to hold on to, no thread to pull me through this roughly 24 hours worth of attention I needed to give to it. So, when I got to the third and final installment and saw that I had yet another eight hours to go, I must admit my heart dropped a bit. But I've slogged on and, upon finishing, felt good simply for having gotten through it. If self-consciously artistic literary fiction that purposely does away with plot and narrative structure is your thing, by all means, take this review as praise. If you're looking for a great yarn to captivate you and keep you desperate to know what will happen next, well, look elsewhere. I won't be rushing out to read another Murakami anytime soon, though will perhaps look at a shorter work if I do.

    25 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Redditch, WOR, United Kingdom
    1/24/07
    Overall
    "24 hours and I think I've missed the point."

    I was tempted to give up with this book on several occasions but stuck it out to the end in the hope that the conclusion would bring all the strands together. Unfortunately that didn't really happen for me.
    I found the war stories very compelling but couldn't really empathise with any of the many characters. The brother-in-law was central to everything but by the end of the book I still couldn't work out the motivation behind his character. It was probably all a bit too deep for me!

    The narrator had a challenging job in giving voices to a range of characters. Although he succeeded in making each one distinct, I personally found some of the characters' voices grating and difficult to listen to.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Moose Molloy
    England
    2/5/09
    Overall
    "Is it literature - does it matter?"

    This hits me like Beckett does rather than Chandler - it paints patterns which hypnotise and challenge the reader at every turn without being half as pretentious as I sound here. Only Marquez has had this sort of impact on me in the last 20 years. It would be my top read of the decade - but his Kafka on the Shore is even more arresting. This great Japanese writer has told me more about the world I have lived in than any British writer I know.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, United Kingdom
    9/25/06
    Overall
    "quirky plot with nicely drawn characters"

    i'm hooked - think david lynch in tokyo

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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