Tag: Interrelated

Haruki Murakami – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle | Review

Title: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 628

Rating: 4.5/5

I picked up this book as a buddy read with my friend Charlie, who’s also an excellent author in his own right. Buddy reads are almost always more fun than regular reads, but I think I would have still enjoyed this one regardless. That said, it did have at least one other impact because we read it three chapters a day instead of all in one go, and I think that helped me to take it a little more slowly and to savour it.

And there was plenty to savour here. Possibly one of my favourites was also the most brutal scene, in which someone got skinned alive with all the efficiency of someone peeling a peach. Murakami is a truly talented writer no matter what he’s writing about, which in this case meant that the whole scene was horrifically realistic, right down to the way that the man screamed.

I also like the sort of slight hallucinatory quality that the book has. It’s almost like a series of interrelated vignettes as opposed to a traditional novel, but it works really well and gives you something different as a reader that you might not have been expecting. I’ve read Murakami a bunch of times before of course, but he takes things in a slightly different direction here.

There’s almost something timeless about the storytelling here, and you have to give Murakami credit for that. Credit is also very much due to Jay Rubin too, who’s the translator here. I was stoked to see that when I picked it up because Rubin is my favourite Murakami translator. I was excited to see that right on the credits page, and the book just kept on getting better from there.

Another memorable series of scenes are those that took place at the bottom of wells. There was something deeply disturbing about those scenes, and you could really sense the claustrophobia. To be honest, it’s making me feel a little bit weird just thinking back to them.

What’s interesting about Murakami is that he has this knack of writing stories that are slow paced and meandering but which still definitely go somewhere. They’re the kind of books where it feels like anything can happen, and that’s what makes Murakami so readable. This here feels as though it might be his equivalent of The Stand, and there’s certain that kind of epic quality to it.

But perhaps it’s more like Cloud Atlas or something like that, because it all takes place in our own world and there are none of the supernatural hijinks that come along with Stephen King, who I guess is the closest I can think of to Murakami when it comes to making fictional characters seem realistic while writing about the darker sides of humanity.

To be honest, when I got started on this book, all I knew about it was that it was a Murakami novel and that Charlie wanted to read it. I think I had a slight subconscious knowledge of it being quite a popular one amongst Murakami fans, but that’s about it. I’m glad that the buddy read gave me the impetus to pick it up and to order a copy in rather than just waiting until I spotted it in a charity shop.

So would I recommend this one? Oh hell yeah, I was very impressed by it. It might be kind of long if you’re new to Murakami, and I think most people probably start out with Norwegian Wood, but I think this book is a cracker no matter who wrote it. The fact that it’s a translation just makes it cooler.

Learn more about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

 


Danny Wallace – More Awkward Situations for Men | Review

Title: More Awkward Situations for Men

Author: Danny Wallace

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 280

Rating: 9/10

 

Danny Wallace - More Awkward Situations for Men

Danny Wallace – More Awkward Situations for Men

 

Danny Wallace is the perfect example of a writer whose personality is his selling point, but that’s okay – he seems like a genuinely nice guy and an entertaining chap to be around, although he does manage to get himself in to his fair share of awkward situations.

Here, he’s dealing with being a parent for the first time, a plumber who refuses to conform to societal norms, his weird friend Colin who gets in to just as many weird situations as Danny, and many, many more.

From what I understand, the book was compiled from a column that he wrote, and so each individual story (about each individual situation) is presented individually and usually only lasts for a couple of pages. But the clever thing here is that the stories are often interrelated, often with recurring jokes or characters. When you think about it, it’s not surprising – after all, that’s how life works, and at the end of the day this is a book about Danny’s life. It’s a good job his life is pretty interesting.

My favourite awkward situations? The one where he had to walk through London wearing a placard and shouting ‘The End is Nigh‘ was pretty good, and so was the story about how a picture of Danny hugging a monkey ended up on billboards across the world. But really, it’s the relatable stories which are best, like his struggle to surreptitiously take a picture in an airport for his Twitter followers. We’ve all been there, man. We’ve all been there.

 

Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace

 

Click here to buy More Awkward Situations for Men.