A Reader's Disappointment: 'The Wind-up Bird Chronicle'
Do you know what it is like to skim through the pages of a book — a book you started with hope and excitement? You are reading one of your favorite authors, two of whose books you really liked reading — “Sputnik Sweetheart” and “Norwegian Wood”. Add to that, all the hyped up expectation coming on the coattails of the gratuitous praise printed on the first two pages of this book. You are reading Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle”. You are ready for a brain tingling feast.
And then the hours begins to pass. You like to read. So you are galloping through the text with your eyes peeled and brain focused. Soon, you are past hundreds of pages already. By this time the story of the book should come alive before you. But here you still feel unsure of the author’s vision. But you hang on to your faith that in a few hundred pages, the fog should clear up, and your patience would be rewarded.
And then the further you proceed, the more shaken you are to the realization that something is just not right. The fog here is so thick, the daybreak will never happen. There is verbosity to the text, just no luminosity. And then you find yourself skimming — your eyes are glossing over the text, now despairing and hopelessly looking for an exit, but not before seeing this hapless excuse for a story through its miserable end. A reader has to push through. A reader must push through!
If I could put a finger on it..
“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” is a huge disappointment. More than a handful of needlessly written characters exist who go on and on about their long winded backstories for no reason, never making it clear why there are there, or why they are talking. The fucking drawn-out expositions. I have already grown to utterly loathe the lead character. He is pathetic and stupid with not an ounce of will, wit or force of character. Even the side characters are fucking waste of space. Did Murakami get too high on his own reputation as a writer of magical realism that he wrote this? I mean this book is a pile of stinking garbage, and what is worse for a reader, there are not even little sparks of joy anywhere in between (May Kasahara shines though; she is the one I looked for in the end. Murakami knows how to write confused teenagers.)
I now hate the two pages of critical acclaim excerpts printed on the first two pages. They appear words of dupes who couldn’t tell apart an elephant from a rhino. A reader must plough through somehow. I have had this same feeling of getting through a work while reading ‘House of Leaves’ — another stinker where the writer was wholly convinced of how smart he was being writing all those footnotes, excerpts, and expositions.
I did finish this book like I finished ‘House of Leaves’.
I get swayed by critical acclaim. Therefore, I suffer.