This book is definitely an improvement on Kafka on the Shore, a rather disappointing and flat story. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle deserves unending praise, both for its captivating storyline and creativity.
After Toru Okada's wife goes missing, he is guided unknowingly by the stories of many colourful and eccentric characters, not least the quirky clairvoyant sisters Creta and Malta Kano (named after the islands) with her red vinyl hat. Each tale told creates its own little world within the great tapestry that makes up this novel.
Increasingly surreal, the novel builds to an exciting climax in the dark and other-wordly psycological environment of Room 208, where the resolutions to secrets which plague throughout the book are finally hinted at!
I loved the atmosphere this book created, and delighted in the lingering mystery which kept it in my mind for so long after finishing it. Despite what other reviewers said, I found the conclusion satisfying, with just the right balance of explanation and ambiguity to keep my brain happy. If anything, the way things might work out was made just a little bit too clear, but that is for you to decide for yourself.
Summed up in one sentence? A very moving and thought-provoking book not to be missed!
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