I am doing something I only do with great reluctance… I am giving up on a book.
For the last month I have been enmeshed in Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’m about halfway through it. A couple of weeks ago my husband begged me to set it aside for a while when the detailed, vivid description of a man being skinned alive troubled me. I don’t like THAT much reality, thank you. But that’s not what has made me put the book away. [hit “more” for the rest of the story…]
Murakami is a tremendous writer. He draws you in and medicates you with beautiful decriptions and fluid transitions until you are there…. you are in the book. I loved Norwegian Wood. So if anyone out there can offer me some kind of hope that something redeeming will happen in the last 200 pages of the novel I will pick it back up.
The story is narrated by Toru, a young man whose cat and wife have disappeared with no explanation or warning. His life becomes complicated by a stream of bizarre, almost inhuman characters who seem to appear with the sole purpose of messing with his mind. Toru, in an attempt to find himself, to find the answers to why his relationships are so complicated, literally goes down into a well to, as Gomer Pyle would say, take a think. I really thought that this would hold me. I love the idea of going to that kind of extreme in order to find out something important about yourself or about your life. But I’m leaving in Toru in the well.
I read some reviews of the book, hoping for encouragement to continue. It seems that this is not a delightful Western novel with a happy ending and neat little package at the end that makes you say, “See, life IS worth living. Silly Toru!” Instead it continues plodding its dismal, dream-like course for another 200 pages and leaves you hanging with unanswered questions.
I loved, at the beginning, questioning the characters’ motives and, in some cases (i.e. the phone sex woman) who the characters were. But when Toru’s wife started working unusually late and was distant and emotional and he couldn’t put two and two together to get ‘affair’ I became impatient with him and his lack of motivation and lack of passion for anything.
Now…. all of what I have said here (except the positive stuff) is completely unfair because I haven’t finished the book. So if anyone has an arsenal of reasons why I’m a moron (who obviously lacks motivation and passion) feel free to hurl blunt objects in my direction.