The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Murakami's masterpiece (I seem to always say this about every Murakami I read) is about a young married man named Toru. Toru loses a number of things. First his cat, then his wife and then slowly his sense of reality. In search of these things he encounters characters both bizarre and amusing ranging from war veterans, a politician, an introspective sixteen-year-old girl and even mind prostitutes. Yes, prostitutes who pleasure you in your dreams.
To describe the plot of the novel is near impossible. At more than 600 pages this is an epic that crosses various time periods, various character viewpoints while managing to weave in and out (and sometimes in between) the real and the imagined. It sounds confusing and complex but it's actually deceptively simple. The way Murakami writes allows the surreal nature of the narrative as well as the layered plot to be as digestible as a children's fairytale. There are so many things going on but somehow Murakami never leaves you behind. This is probably because he never embellishes his sentences more than he needs to. At one point there is even a story within a story within another story. As one character tells Toru one of her stories Toru observes:
"Without explanation, she would
reverse chronological order or suddenly
introduces as a major character
someone she had never mentioned
to me before...
She would narrate events she had
witnessed with her own eyes, as
well as events that she had never
Upon reading this I realised Murakami was describing how he tells his own stories.
I would read this before I go to bed and I remember how strange my own dreams end up becoming. It was as if Murakami's prose somehow rearranged my brain to allow it to gaze at the world in a distorted, convoluted and even a perverse kind of way.
I tend to read fast and usually whizz through books but this one made me slow down and cherish every sentence, every moment and every chapter. I gave it time and it deserved it without question.
Image was edited by me from this original image.