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Month in review

Reviews
Amulet 6: Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi
Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble by Nick Bruel
Below by Meg McKinlay
Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer L. Holm
The Curse of the Thrax by Mark Murphy
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Ghostbusters, Volume 7: Happy Horror Days! by Erik Burnham
Ghostbusters, Volume 8: Mass Hysteria! Part 1 by Erik Burnham
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson
If This Be Sin by Hazel Newlevant
Little Bo in London by Julie Andrews Edwards
Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard
Madlenka by Peter Sis
Matched by Ally Condie
Neurocomic by Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella
1.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Over The Wall by Peter Wartman
Sea of Shadows: Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
xxxHolic: Rei Volume 01 by CLAMP

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: 11/17/14

cover art

Haruki Murakami is one of those authors whose books I adore even though they are sometimes very uncomfortable to read. He populates his worlds withs with broken, perverted, evil, awful people. In the case of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a missing cat begins a plot that's a mix between The Graduate and the the legend of Orpheus and Persephone.

Or maybe instead of Orpheus, I should say, "The Thieving Magpie" as that is the piece of classical music that Murakami uses to set the tone of the book. If you're not familiar with Rossini's piece, take a moment to look it up; you've actually heard it if you've watched cartoons from the first half of the 20th century. Disney and Warner Bros. both used it a number of shorts.

But in all seriousness, when a character in a Murakami book or story mentions a classical piece of music, if you're not immediately familiar with it, put the book aside and listen to the music. Classical music is a huge part of Murakami's world and character building.

OK — now that we're back on track, the book opens with Toru Okada, a house husband, boiling up spaghetti and wondering if he should go look for his missing cat. Before he can finish making his lunch or make up his mind, he gets a strange phone call from a woman calling herself Malta.

Malta brings up rule #2 of reading a Murakami book: strange phone calls are harbingers of change and trouble. Malta's conversation — in fact most of Toru's early relationship with her, brings to mind the first half of Adam Sandler's Punch Drunk Love.

Although Malta is a prostitute, she isn't trying to extort money out of Toru. No Murakami character is that obvious or single minded. Instead, she and her sister, are the spirit guides for Toru. She tells him that he will never find the missing cat until things are sorted with his wife.

As with 1Q84, choices made by the main characters result in a split between worlds and a journey between them. Here, though, the route is through the underworld (both literally and figuratively). Toru must travel through both versions to rescue his wife and find their cat.

I have the newest translated Murakami on my reading list. I plan to get to it within weeks, rather than years because I know it won't disappoint.

Five stars

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