The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Japanese: ねじまき鳥クロニクル, Nejimaki-dori Kuronikuru) is a novel by Haruki Murakami. One of his most critically acclaimed and popular works, it opens with the life of Toru Okada, currently unemployed, and his marriage to his wife, Kumiko. One day their cat goes missing. It was first published in three parts during 1994-1995.
This novel provides examples of:
Abusive Parents: Let's face it. Kumiko's parents were absolute shit to all of their children.
Author Appeal: Apparently, the author has quite a thing for wells and classical music.
Author Tract: A good portion of the work concerns the Japanese occupation of Manchuria (Manchukuo) during the 1930's and World War II. Murakami makes no bones about calling the whole affair out as having been a Very Bad Idea.
Cool Big Sis: Kumiko's sister was the only thing that made living in their household bearable to Kumiko. When she died...
Malta Kano. Kind of.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: May Kasahara. A bit more levelheaded than most examples, but definitely out there.
It's a bizarre thing when the Cloud Cuckoo Lander is by far, one of the most normal and sensible people in the story. The other characters aren't nearly as far out in terms of their thought process, but this is countered by their actions and jobs being outwardly strange (a mind prostitute and her incredibly vague older sister with psychic abilities, a fashion designer who goes out of her way to buy the people around her perfect wardrobes, a dimwitted lackey who cannot stop talking about how stupid and horrible he is to the point where he forgets his reasons for entering the main character's house without permission, and Noboru).
All that said, May Kasahara is the only one who thought it would be fun to cover her boyfriends eyes while he was driving his motorcycle. Actually, she didn't even do it for fun; she just felt like doing it.
Determinator: Toru Okada becomes a surprising example of one of these as the book goes on, not giving up his search despite the increasingly bizarre, disturbing, and frightening things going on around him.
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: After Kumiko finds out she's pregnant, she gets an abortion despite her husband supporting the idea of raising a child. She mostly seems to be a "good girl" up to this point, but the story of the abortion is the first indication that she has a Dark Secret.
Harassing Phone Call: The novel begins with the narrator keeps getting phone calls from some an unidentified woman trying to initiate phone sex, which starts the chain of strange events that follow him after.
Lampshade Hanging: The narrator states when his wife disappears that "I felt as if I had become part of a badly written novel, that someone was taking me to task for being utterly unreal. And perhaps it was true."
Magic Realism: Pretty much par for the course for Murakami works, but this one goes rather darker than most of his other works.
Mind Screw: Pretty much the entire book past Chapter 3 or so...
Oh Crap: The phone rings and Toru, expecting it to be the phone sex lady, says something like "Is this the person who phones me regularly? I don't like to talk about sex before breakfast." It's not the phone sex lady.
On The Money: Toru needs money to buy the plot of land with the well. He meets Nutmeg by sitting on a bench observing people walking by.
Shadow Archetype: Toru Okada, the protagonist, and Noburu Wataya are described by Creta Kano as complete opposites, with each one serving as a representation of what the other person loathes most. No wonder they hate each other so much.
Smug Snake: Noboru Wataya comes across as this, especially to Toru.
Tomato Surprise: The identity of the woman in the hotel room, the same one who was calling Toru for phone sex. It's Kumiko.
This is actually left very ambiguous. Toru assumes that it is Kumiko, though her voice only changes to that of Kumiko's when he addresses this. Even still afterwards, she changes to two other voices and tries to make him doubt whether or not he had it right - though he is pretty sure. It doesn't help that she is never actually seen, even going as far to make Toru promise not to shine the light from his pen upon her face.
Troubled, but Cute: May Kasahara, who covered her boyfriend's eyes while he was driving his motorcycle.
Villain with Good Publicity: Noburu Wataya is an incredibly famous author and TV personality, and by the end of the book he's being considered for a position on Japan's Diet.
The Voiceless: Cinnamon lost his ability to speak after a traumatic dream in his childhood. He can still communicate effectively via an idiosyncratic form of sign language.
Thrown Down A Well: Toru spends a rather large amount of time in the well in the 'hanging house'.
Also Lieutenant Mamiya which is where Toru gets the idea.
We Named the Monkey : The narrator named his cat Noburu Wataya after his hated brother-in-law. The cat gets a better name later on, after Toru decides that it was unfair to the animal.
Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Kumiko's parents were never satisfied with her, and constantly compared her to her sister, even forcing her to play the piano like her sister used to before she died. This is the direct cause for her crippling inferiority complex, which is later manipulated by Noburu.
Worst News Judgement Ever: The local newspaper seems to put a ridiculous amount of effort into investigating who bought a "haunted" plot of land. The reader knows that the brother-in-law of a prominent politician bought the house with money from a bizarre, high-class quasi-prostitution ring for mystical purposes, but the newspaper doesn't.