Murakami is that unusual creature, a metaphysical novelist with a warm, down-to-earth voice and a knack for creating credible characters and spinning a lively yarn.
The well, of course, is a common literary image. It is a retreat into the self; it is also a retreat into the world of memory, of the past, and of death.
There’s the deadpan, surreal-verging-on-absurdist comic tone, a willingness to bend the edges of reality in stories set in an otherwise mundane setting, and the underlying melancholy observed in everyday middle-class rituals.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is complex and ambitious. Murakami brings together disparate fragments to create a novel that feels almost whole, and benefits from not being so.— Lily Power