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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Posted on Sunday June 27, 2010 at 2:10am in

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I just finished reading this book today. It’s the third book by Murakami that I’ve read and I’ve loved every one of them. Murakami is a Japanese author and he writes very beautiful books. They usually have very dreamlike stories and contain a lot of unexplainable events. Wind-Up bird is no exception. It follows a fairly linear story in the first third of the book. It is on the surface a story of a man, the narrator, and his wife.

They live a fairly normal life, but the man meets many strange people throughout the story and heading into the second part of the book, things take a turn for the bizarre. His wife mysteriously never returns home from work one night. Completely lost, the man resolves to find out what happened to his wife and, if possible, bring her back home. Relying on a cast of strange allies with their own special quirks, he ventures into dream-like worlds far away.

There are a lot of mini-stories that are in this book as well, mostly about World War II. Those were my personal favorites. Murakami is a master writer and always leaves the reader wanting more. Even once the book is over, some things are simply left unexplained. This is done I suppose to make the reader reach their own conclusions or at least think about what is missing a bit more. I was sad when I reached the end of this book because I enjoyed it so much.

I found out after doing a little bit of researching that the English translation of this book, done by Jay Rubin is actually quite different from the original Japanese. Two chapters have been eliminated completely as well as many passages from the rest of the book. This was done because the book is very long and the publisher told Rubin he had to cut the book by 25,000 words. I don’t see how they could do such a thing to an award winning book such as this. I really want to read the missing content, but reading it in the original Japanese is pretty much out of the question. I can speak Japanese and read it, but reading a novel is an entirely different thing.

I was disappointed when I heard this news, and there is no uncut version published in English. In Russian and a few other languages, I know for sure it is uncut. Maybe sometime in the future an unabridged version will be released in English. Someday I may be able to read the original Japanese, too. So, whichever comes first. I am waiting for that!

If you’ve not read a Murakami book in your life, I recommend reading one. This is the third book I’ve read by him and if I could pick one to recommend it would either be this one or Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. This book is definitely at the top of the list. If you are interested or curious about popular Japanese fiction, this is an amazing book.

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