A Very Useful Guidance to the Harukist World
Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Matthew Strecher Published by Continuum Contemporaries Format: Paperback Source: Publisher Buy the Book
I have been long working on a paper for the upcoming conference, Librasia 2015, which will be held in Osaka next week, so I could not manage to find the time to sit down and write a review here. The other day, while I was in a bookshop, I came across a very good source for my dissertation. I also thought that it might be an excellent guidance for those who are not so familiar with the Haruki Murakami world and want to make a better sense of his characters and use of surreal etc. This critical work written by Matthew Strecher, one of the major Murakami critics in the West, is titled Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It is a very short critical work composed of only 96 pages and, as the title suggests itself, it mainly focuses on one of the major Murakami works, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Divided into five main chapters, Strecher first starts with a brief biography of Haruki Murakami and informs his readers into what sort of age Murakami was born in terms of both literary writing and political events. By drawing a parallel line between the political uprisings such as the student movement of 1960s, Strecher points out the particularities from which Murakami’s writing style and character portrayal arise. Strecher, who describes the transition from a politically active period to a period reigned by a sense of loss and confusion as one of the reasons concerning the change in the Japanese literary scene, continues with the analysis of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in the second chapter. He explores themes such as sexuality and the ‘other’, the function of oracle, the significance of the well and mark on the face of the protagonist as well as the war memories of the characters and so on. In the third chapter, Strecher in a sense replies the questions of many readers who are confused about Murakami’s endings in his novels in general by referring to both Western and Japanese critics and their ideas on The Wind-Up Bird. Strecher who, touches upon the performance of the novel in the fourth chapter, concludes this brief critical work with a chapter focusing on possible further reading materials and questions as well as useful websites for those who want to discover the Harukist world more. Continue reading