Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a 1994-5 novel published (as 3 books) in Japan by Haruki Murakami (I have read 4 other Murakami books – 1Q84, Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, After Dark). For this novel, Murakami received the Yomiuri Literary Award.
The book was translated to English by Jay Rubin and first published in 1997 with the 3 books in one volume: The Thieving Magpie, Bird as Prophet, The Birdcatcher. Below, the first US edition hardcover was designed by Chip Kidd.
The story is about a young man named Toru Okada who is living in a Tokyo suburb who just left his job and loses both his wife (Kumiko Okada) and cat (named after his wife’s brother, then later is named Mackarel after Toru finds him). Murakami weaves an intricate and interesting story and cast of characters that Okada encounters who are linked together in the real and netherworld including a psychic prostitute (Creta Kano) and her sister (Malta Kano); his wife’s brother, a charismatic politician (Noboru Wataya) who Okada hates; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl (May Kasahara); an aging war veteran (Lieutenant Mamiya) who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria; an enigmatic famous fashion designer (Nutmeg Akasaka) and her silent son (Cinammon Akasaka). Doesn’t that sound very interesting (or maybe confusing)?
Below is the paperback cover designed by John Gall.