Monday, March 15, 2010

Good reads: "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"

So, despite the fact that I have some awesome 19th-century Spanish Romanticism works that are calling my name so that I'm prepared to teach for the week, I finally finished up Haruki Murakami's work, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I very much enjoyed, except for the end. I hate that! Not that the end was a total 'let-down', per se, but there were several loose ends. Still, I think I need to re-read the final chapters. You know when you are just racing to see what HAPPENS rather than taking in the experience of the fiction and the language? Yeah, I think that happened last night.
I am glad that I finally read a work of Murakami. It's funny because I had wanted to read something by him for a while, but for some reason, I hesitated, year after year. For Christmas, a student (or her parents) gave me a gift card to a local bookstore, so I decided to buy a book that I would remember and that I wanted to read. Somehow, Murakami jumped out at me.
On the whole, I would highly recommend the book to most people. Although I read the translation (of course, which I just read was cut WAY down because the publisher demanded a certain word length), it's such an interesting work, with different pieces to it and, of course, a very open ending. I loved the different spaces and times that Murakami created and evoked with it, presenting the reader with the timeless question "What is real and what is fiction" but doing so with a compelling narrative. Just a few quotes by more 'authoritative voices':
"Yet what Murakami lacks in finesse is more than compensated by the brilliance of his invention. (...) Murakami has written a bold and generous book, and one that would have lost a great deal by being tidied up." -Jamie James, The New York Times Book Review
"Wind-Up Bird has some powerful scenes of antic comedy and some shattering scenes of historical power, but such moments do not add up to a satisfying, fully fashioned novel. In trying to depict a fragmented, chaotic and ultimately unknowable world, Mr. Murakami has written a fragmentary and chaotic book." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

For my own reading pleasure, I will return to the Romantic movement, and I'm also going to try to get through "Tiempo de silencio", a Spanish novel that I was supposed to have read years ago for my master's. Better late than never, no doubt! I'll also try to read the school's book club choice, which I can't remember at this point.


Kim said...

How funny -- Murakami has been in my Amazon cart for months now. I am currently reading the torturous "Hawaii" by James Michener because my mom said I had to. We usually agree on books, but this thing is dreadful. I'm determined to finish it, so Murakami and everything else in my cart and on my nightstand will have to wait. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm always looking for books to read!

Anonymous said...

I must have been living under a rock because I have never heard of this book! I love to read though so I will check it out. And now I don't have high hopes for a good ending so I won't be disappointed!

The gift of a book or bookstore gift card is seriously the best gift anyone can give me too!