This was the first Murakami book that I read and was completely smitten by it. It easily blends in surreal and everyday events in such an intricate web that you are forced to stay glued till the very end.
The story is about a man named Toru Okada whose cat has disappeared, and then one day his wife leaves him even though they didn’t have any fight or any conflict. He begins to search for the reasons behind this and in the way meets many people who help him in their own ways to understand the situation that he finds himself in. Along the way, their own story unravels adding many layers to this unique story. A story filled with surreal situations, perplexing at times, yet it doesn’t seem odd and doesn’t obstruct the smooth flow of the narration.
The characters in this book are perfectly etched, be it Okada’s wife Kumiko who is fighting her own inner demons, or her evil brother Noboru Wataya, or our very own Toru – simple suburban guy whose simple uncomplicated life takes a twist, Malta Kano – a sort of a psychic healer, May – Toru’s no fuss young neighbour, a rich lady oddly called Nutmeg who helps him a lot in the latter part of the story and the ‘wind – up’ Bird ofcourse.
The book has quite a bit of flashbacks and in one of those Toru and his wife goes to visit an old wise man named Mr. Honda. The philosophy that he endorses forms the crux of this story. He tells the:
“When you are supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top, when you are going down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom.When there is no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up.”
Simple yet complex story telling with many layers of situations – a must read.
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translated by: Jay Rubin
Originally written in: Japanese
ISBN : 0-679-77543-9