The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Ranked #2 in Japanese, Ranked #3 in Surrealismsee more rankings.

Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle from the world's leading experts.

Brian Koppelman If you have always wanted to read [this author], I think this [Covid-19] period of time is perfect for it. He could have conceived of this whole thing. (Source)

Bernard Tan I’m also a Murakami and Vonnegut fan, Kafka on the Shore, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Slaughterhouse-Five, etc. Now that I look at the books listed, they seem to carry an existential theme. I guess I like to understand humanity and human behaviour ultimately to better understand myself. I find reading a means to connect with people who may have lived before my time, or in a distant country, that I may never have had the chance to connect with in real life. As three-dimensional humans, we are all made up of so many faces and emotional layers that we find it hard to dissect them... (Source)

Sung J. Woo He’s the best-known Japanese writer right now and this book I would consider to be his opus. It’s a big sprawling book that deals with weighty subjects like the Second World War and Japan’s part in that. There is a horrifying section set when the Japanese had occupied Manchuria and the Chinese are approaching and it’s told from the point of view of a soldier who is told to kill all the animals in the zoo as the Chinese close in. It’s a harrowing tale of this Japanese soldier going round the cages killing these magnificent animals. (Source)

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