Morrissey once sang about living in the arse of the world. Well, I am pretty sure Murakami represents the arse of literature. This is apparently his masterpiece, which means, of course, that it is his longest [or it was, as it has now been superseded by 1Q84] and most Politically Aware [you getting this, nobel judges!] novel. Unfortunately, none of that is worth a drip of piss if the writing is as stilted and catastrophically poor as is on display here.
What can one expect from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle? Uh, do you even need to ask? Anyone who has a mere passing interest in Murakami’s work already knows what to expect: a nondescript, emotionally stunted every-bloke and some insufferably kooky women.
THE BEST BIT: Every-bloke crawls into a well, and, y’know, stays down there for a while.
Worth noting re: the best bit: Well, it’s kinda stolen from The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe.
Also worth noting re: the best bit: The bottom of a well usually only accommodates one person, so the possibility of any of those kooky women turning up is diminished.
Warning re: the best bit: I’m pretty sure one of those kooky women does turn up in the well.
THE WORST BIT: the kooky women, of course. Oh, and the tour-de-force man-getting-skinned-alive sequence [seriously, nobel judges, YOU GETTING THIS?!]. Ack, why do authors feel the need to hammer us with this kind of pornographic shite? I can imagine what a man being skinned alive entails, Haruki, I don’t need you to describe it for me in excruciating detail. Fuck the fuck off.