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.


8 thoughts on “Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    • This is the fifth Murakami book I have read and agree they are rather strange, but at the same time, they have a sense a realism that I am not sure I can put my finger on – maybe because the environment or locations are real, ie. Tokyo and the surrounding areas typically.

  1. Nice! I’ve been meaning to read this one, though I kind of agree with the above commenter’s assessment of Murakami’s work…

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  3. With my birthday passing just a few weeks ago, I was blessed to have received a ton of new reading material as gifts from a few close friends. Fellow cast member, Stephen , went out on a limb and found a book from an author who I had yet to tackle. Heading to my favourite local bookshop, The Book Warehouse, he picked out The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. The front cover of the novel includes a quote from the Chicago Tribune, calling the work ‘dreamlike and compelling…Murakami is a genius.’ Impressive words which surprisingly rang true as I made my way through the pages.

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