Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When The Wind-Up Bird Goes Creek: Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle's Review

When life gave you lemons, made lemonade.

That's what it supposed to be, but not in this tale. Murakami was kind of twist it a little; made the main protagonist went into a self discovery journey to subconscious and surreal world in order to answer the question: what will you do if live gives you lemons?

Toru Okada is a jobless man who lived happily with his wife and their cat in a house. Not to covered in blinks, but pretty decent one. In order to fulfill their daily life, his wife, Kumiko, became the one who works from day to night, meeting clients and stuff. While Toru took care the house, do the laundry, feed the cat, and cook some spaghetti or other food. It all a good life, according to him, until the their cat, Noboru Wataya, gone.

Since then, his life became different: his wife gone without a trace and leave him; he met and get acquainted with a young girl who works as a surveyor of bald head; a random "booty" phone call from a lady he didn't know who and why; a war veteran that unable to die; and the last was a mother and son who gave him a job. And in between, he must find his wife and asked her the reason, and also he must find their cat.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a novel written by Haruki Murakami, originally published in 1994-1995. The one I had was the republished one from 2003.

I must say, this is a long story. It felt like, I was reading it through a long and winding road; it surely a time consuming until I reach the fun part, and after I passed that, it moved like a Jags on a smooth road. It may thinner than 1Q84 and not weird and surreal like any of his works, but frankly it way less entertaining from any of his works - at least until the mid part of the book. He took it slowly, building up mysteries and backgrounds that may affect his protagonist's future. Just like May Kasahara, a young lady who lived in a house nearby, which became closed to Toru Okada and became one of influential character later in the story. Or two sisters of Kano, Malta and Creta, which a kind of investigator (at first) in order to find their cat, and later in order to find Kumiko. Or maybe like Noboru Wataya (yes, it bear the same name with the cat), Kumiko's brother who doesn't like Toru at all (it even effect Toru's subconscious realm, gosh~). Some character was introduced briefly but had a significant role and part in the story, like Let. Mamiya, a war veteran, who had two full chapters for his story in the battle on Nomohan and several pages for his letter to Toru, talking (once again) about his life after the war; or Ushikawa, a chatterbox which had a role as Noboru's representative to Toru. He surely an annoying character.

For those who had read Murakami's work before, they may recognized his trademark: surreal worlds, weird and misfits characters, long, trivial dialogues, and sometimes articles excerpt from newspapers and/or tv (fictionized, of course~). In this story, you'll met it, after a long pages of chapters (in the original Japanese one, it may cost a book and a half!), dialogues and narrations. Well, of course the trivial dialogues and those unusual characters were served since the beginning, but the alternate world and such, it came on the middle, or a about the mid of second book. And does it worth of wait? Yup.

Mr. Murakami may prolonged the opening and the build-ups, but I guess it worth to wait. Maybe it wasn't as surreal as he wrote Kafka or 1Q, but it was so him, that was his trademark. An ordinary guy who able to moved from ordinary world to another world which an absolute different and weirder. And the guy, the main protagonist considered it as something usual, something that any ordinary people will experienced. Toru found almost everything he wanted to know and seek in that alternate world. And like any other surrealist world-involved story, the last battle was always happened there, on the world of mishap itself. Yup, that's a spoiler.

In a nutshell, I loved this book. But not as I loved Kafka or even Wild Sheep. This one is a great one, but not the one I will loved. Regardless how I recognized Toru and I was almost the same person, both in principal and feelings - those kind of losing and a hope of being founded - it still haven't strike me right at the heart. It was too long, too tiring. I even had a slight thought about abandon this book. Because it kept repeating inside my head "when this books end? when this books end?"

I'm not recommend it for those who in their first time reading Murakami's work. A big no-no. Maybe it would appropriate to those who had a huge patience, reading through the pages and chapters. Reading Let. Mamiya's endless stories. And so on. Believe me, I'm not the patient one.

In the end, this review wanted to highlight that not every famous author made a perfect writing all the time. I loved Murakami's works, I do. But this is an evidence that not all of his writing were able to satisfy all his fans. They are humans too.

Oh, and about Toru Okada, he finally found the way he wanted to with the lemons.