The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
Mesmerising, surreal, this really is the work of a true original the blurb from The Times reads on the cover. And in all honesty, I don’t know that I have much more to add to that. Mesmerising. Yes. Surreal. Extremely! The work of a true original. Heck yes. It’s another one of these reading experiences where I cannot wrap my head around what would make someone be able to write like this, to actually put what has been put on paper, down on paper.
Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding at times, maybe even get them going. But curiosity evaporates. Guts have to go for the long haul. Curiosity’s like an amusing friend you can’t really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you to make it on your own – with whatever guts you can muster.
Did I like it?
Yes. And no.
I mean… Yes. This is such an awesome book. But it is a book that demands my attention as a reader. My full attention at that. So, quick reader that I am, these 600 pages or so took me more or less 6 weeks to finish (which for me is a long time. Remember, last year I read 101 books, this year I am aiming at 75. If all books I wanted to read demanded as much from me, I would fail miserably in reaching my target.). A dozen pages or so at a time. Not much more. Sometimes less. (And yes, of course, I’ve been reading a few other books during this period, as per my usual habit. I am a parallel-reader, not a serial one. But regardless!)
And in a sense… this sentence points to my ambivalence as a reader:
The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about.
This book is, at times, so far beyond the bounds of my understanding, it would be easy for me to dismiss it as absurd. Or plain strange. Not worth the effort. But it is! Truly. Like the back cover blurb from Independent of Sunday reads: How does Murakami manage to make poetry while writing of contemporary life and emotions? I am weak-kneed with admiration.
So am I. Murakami has a brain that I’d love to be able to “look inside”, to see how the connections are made, what type of leaps of the imagination that are necessary to spin this story… it’s so far from the way my brain works (or so it seems). But then again, that might just be another of the things I’ve come to know about myself, that isn’t anything but a belief, after all:
To know one’s own state is not a simple matter. One cannot look directly at one’s own face with one’s own eyes, for example. One has no choice but to look at one’s reflection in the mirror. Through experience, we come to believe that the image is correct, but it is just a belief.
The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.