The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle ( (ねじまき鳥クロニクル) by Haruki Murakami
translated by Jay Rubin
read by Rupert Degas
I felt so lost when the recording of this book ended. A small part is due to the sense of irritation by the vague and unresolved ending. But that was easy to get over with: as a reader, I never need tidy endings. Indeed, if all the loose threads and baffling aspects all get tied up and connected neatly, I would probably have been quite disappointed.
The real reason of the sense of loss is that now I no longer “live” in that hyperrealistic, half-true and half-dreaming world Murakami created for his readers. Starting with a very small story of an insignificant person, the narrative slowly opens up and expands to encompass both History (especially the Sino-Japanese War) and the unexplainable force of the entire Universe.
My admiration of Murakami’s philosophical exploration of what it means to be alive and to be connected to the rest of the humanity did not sway me from questioning one assertion of his ideology: That BOTH the Chinese and the Japanese were engaged in fighting a Senseless War. In theory, I believe that War is evil and senseless. But, growing up Chinese (and with my mother’s entire family in Fake Manchu murdered by the Japanese) made me also realize that China’s RESISTANCE against Japan’s INVASION into our country might not be so senseless after all. On a scale of Japan on one side and China on the other, the weight of who’s responsible of all the senseless killings and deaths should definitely tilt heavily on the Japan side.
I finished the book back in April. Three months later, I can still hear and feel some of the scenes and dialogs in my mind. However, I will not recommend to listen to this particular audio recording: I found Degas’ voice acting as the young girl, May, more distracting than enhancing and I wish that he could have pronounced the Japanese names with more accurate intonations. One day, I will go back and read the book itself and who knows, I might be able to teach myself enough Japanese to read in its original form!