The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Click for availability and more information The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami

In his best work, Japanese author Haruki Murakami treads the finest of lines between reality and dream, myth and metaphor, detective novel and heroic saga in an incomparably beautiful and at times terrifying way, blending the non-fiction of the Manchukuo episode of World War II with the mundane, modern-day life of an unemployed man living in Tokyo. The protagonist's (Toru Okada) cat disappears at the beginning of the book and his simple, rather drab life is turned completely upside-down by his quest to regain the lost animal and the "something" that he lost along the path of his none-too-aware life. Along the way he meets an array of fantastic characters who help and hinder his efforts, and these people appear as archetypes, both familiar and outrageous. I found this book by accident and have to say that it changed the way I look at fiction, non-fiction, and the blending of the two. Murakami, whose work I have thoroughly delved into after reading "Wind-up Bird," won the Yoimuri Literary Award for this 600+ page work, receiving it from the Japanese literary giant Kenzaburo Oe. The novel deals extensively with the realm of dream and its relation to everyday waking life, issues of sex and power, politics and the abuse of media, history, animism, childhood, and modern-day Japanese society. At times hysterically funny, terrifying, insightful, grotesque, and visionary, I consider one of the top ten books written in the last 20 years. A must read for all fiction lovers.

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This page contains a single entry published on April 25, 2008 8:12 PM.

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