I hope this book won’t be my last Murakami book, but I have a slight feeling that it might be. Especially if his other books are as long as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was. It’s kind of a shame because I thought the story was really interesting, especially since I was finishing up a thesis on trauma theory (which I believe is very present in the book) when I read it. Murakami has a beautiful way of conveying the terrible awkwardness of being human and I was floored by the wartime flashbacks. It’s made all the more poignant because from what I understand, Murakami wrote these sequences with the intention to highlight Japanese atrocities during WWII, which are frequently denied or ignored within contemporary Japanese culture*. This aspect of the book’s context really appealed to me because our American culture frequently writes out the shameful parts of our history as well (e.g. the genocide of Native Americans). It made the book somewhat more relatable in that way, at least for me.
Honestly I really liked the book, but long stories like these are major investments of time and energy. It was worth it for this story, but if the plots of other Murakami books don’t have the same appeal that this one did and they are just as long, I’m not sure if I’m going to make that investment. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book and I’m glad that it was my introduction to Murakami’s work.