Saturday, March 10, 2007

Almost Too Lovely Chronicle

I have been meaning to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle for a while now. Finally, found the book and some time to read. It was love at page one that grew stronger as Murakami warmed up to his theme which interestingly is about nothing really but a lot of connected events and people who come and go out of each other's life like they were part of a design grander than any of their individual selves.

I loved the language, the pace which never slacked or quickened despite many long soliloquies and distracting side plots. In the end, like an expert puppet master Murakami always managed to pull all strings together in to feed his central theme - about a couple who loose a cat and then in a while the woman leaves the husband. The end of each chapter was a perfect segue to the next.

Yet towards the end, the expanding universe of characters seemed to dilute the essence of the story. It started to feel contrived as if the author was testing the limits of adding more twists and introducing few names into the cast of characters in what is essentially a plotless story to a reader who does not fully understand the historical and cultural references. Unfortunately the stone soup formula does not work quite as well with a novel - instead of getting richer and more flavorful it turns into a concoction of uncertain taste.

A few chapters shorter, the tautness of the storyline sustained to the end and this book would have been among my very favorites of all time. That said, I still loved reading it and will remember it as very exceptional.

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