The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

  • Colin Lewis
    • Book Reviews
    • Haruki Murakami
    • Vintage 1998
    • ISBN 0679775439

I can’t help but think I’ve read Wind-up before, though I’m certain I saved this one for when I really needed it. Murakami writes of a man without a job, a precocious young woman, a mysterious and nameless caller—all new characters, yet familiar and gauzy. If I look closely, I can nearly see through them to another story. And no matter how thoroughly I sift my memory for plot lines, all I ever find are bowls of fog.

Murakami creates an uncertain, mirrored world beyond our own, one that lies either behind, or below, or beside what we know. Near the end of the book, a story appears. A boy wakes to find a dark figure outside his window. The figure digs a hole beneath a tree and places a wrapped package in the hollow. Later, the boy retrieves the package and finds it contains a beating, human heart.

I own most of Murakami’s titles, but Wind-Up I borrowed from the library. Was it by accident the previous borrower spilled his wine across the passage detailing the heart? Burgundy drops scattered the page, and their sharp edges blurred where they bled into the pulp.

He opened the bundle, to find a human heart inside. He recognized its shape and color from the picture he had seen in his encyclopedia. The heart was still fresh and alive and moving, like a newly abandoned infant. True, it was sending no blood out through its severed artery, but it continued to beat with a strong pulse. The boy heard a loud throbbing in his ears, but it was the sound of his own heart. The buried heart and the boy’s own heart went on pounding in perfect unison, as if communicating with each other.

—from Book 3, chapter 11; Is This Shovel a Real Shovel? (What Happened in the Night: 2)