Murakami Redux

I finished Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” a couple of days ago. I have to say that it got a lot better after page 140. I like his inclusion of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria – that plotline was the best part of the entire novel. I do feel as though the ending left me needing something more. I want to reread the whole novel but I know it will be a let down. There’s some great symbolism and dream sequences, but some of the plot components are left to their own devices and not united to form something better. There are a lot of loose threads left at the end of the novel, which annoys me a lot. Murakami could have done a lot better. Not that it was a bad novel, because it wasn’t. It just wasn’t as good as expected.

There are a lot of allusions as to the evil nature of the wind-up bird, but they don’t get played out. What’s with the buried heart and Cinnamon’s doppelganger? They don’t even mean anything, and once you read past them in the novel, they disappear. They’re not used for any sort of plot development, and this gives them the function of creating a mood. Granted, Murakami does a good job of setting the mood, but ultimately we need more than a mood. We need some sort of resolution, something more than mental conflict. Why the hell is May Kasahara even a part of the novel? I know she’s the opposite of Toru, but the whole sequence of letters from the wig factory could have been taken out.

It isn’t a bad novel, it just isn’t satisfying in the end.

Murakami continued

I got to page 113 in “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” today. That’s 78 more pages read. There’s a bit more exposition within these 78 pages: we finally find out the significance of the wind-up bird, Toru Okada (the protagonist) finds his long-lost polka dot tie, talks to the Lolita-esque girl who is his neighbor, documents stages of baldness on the Tokyo subway, and has a wet dream. He also meets another mysterious woman.

I’m not too excited by the book at this stage. Frankly, it is quite boring. After 113 pages, absolutely nothing has happened. Literally. He’s still looking for his cat, only now some complications are introduced. I wish something interesting would happen. I want to see more subplot with May Kasahara (his Lolita-esque neighbor). That is the most interesting character at this point.

I’m kind of disappointed right now, but I’ll keep reading since I’m already one sixth of the way through the novel.