The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
By Haruki Murakami
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679775430, 624pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 1998
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Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.
Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. The most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe. He is the author of the novels Dance, Dance, Dance, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and A Wild Sheep Chase, and of The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of stories. His latest novel, South of the Border, West of the Sun, will be published by Knopf in 1999. His work has been translated into fourteen languages.
“Dreamlike and compelling. . . . Murakami is a genius.” —Chicago Tribune
“Mesmerizing. . . . Murakami’s most ambitious attempt yet to stuff all of modern Japan into a single fictional edifice.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A significant advance in Murakami’s art . . . a bold and generous book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A stunning work of art . . . that bears no comparisons.” —New York Observer
“With The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Murakami spreads his brilliant, fantastical wings and soars.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Seductive. . . . A labyrinth designed by a master, at once familiar and irresistibly strange.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“An epic . . . as sculpted and implacable as a bird by Brancusi.” —New York Magazine
“Mesmerizing, original . . . fascinating, daring, mysterious and profoundly rewarding.” —Baltimore Sun
“A beguiling sense of mystery suffuses The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and draws us irresistibly and ever deeper into the phantasmagoria of pain and memory. . . . Compelling [and] convincing.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Digs relentlessly into the buried secrets of Japan’s past . . . brilliantly translated into the latest vernacular.” —Pico Iyer, Time