Friday, May 06, 2005

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I love the strangeness of this novel’s opening. That strangeness is quite believable—the protagonist receives a series of odd phone calls—and it sets the stage for even greater strangeness to come. In other words, Murakami declares his intentions—anything goes—early enough that as a reader I’m willing to accept whatever develops. But the novel lost steam for me about halfway through. At some point, while events kept piling upon our protagonist, and increasingly peculiar characters kept entering his life, the story stopped shifting and growing. Event and character didn’t add up to new developments in the mystery therein (disappeared wife). Too episodic for me ultimately. But I remain a fan of Murakami, particularly his short stories. Particularly the short story that became this novel and the title story of his collection The Elephant Vanishes.

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