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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Toru Okada's cat has disappeared, and this has unsettled his wife, who is herself growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has started receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada's vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.

©1994 Haruki Murakami (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tuesdays Wind Up Bird
  • 10-01-21

Favourite book of all time becomes worst thing to ever enter my ears.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has been my absolute favourite book for decades now. It’s a surreal journey that is both nightmarish and dreamlike. The language is often poetic and the characters are amazing. A lot of Murakami’s novels remind me of the films of David Lynch and like those Murakami constructs a world with stunning imagery and bizarre events.

This audiobook however is just, no other word for it, disgraceful. There are times when it is unlistenable. Case in point, I listen to audiobooks while working out, I have just had to pause my workout to write this review as I couldn’t wait for the last five hours to be up. People need to be prevented from listening to this, as not only is it awful, but it may dissuade them from reading the book.

The main problem is Rupert Degas’ voices he uses for certain characters. I don’t know if it was Degas himself, or the director etc. But for some reason they have chosen to incorporate the most cartoonish of voices, the majority of which are annoying.

Worst of all is the interpretation of May Kasahara. Such a fun and interesting character is turned into a shrill, obnoxious, and intolerable mess. I had to pause the audiobook where she had long bits of dialogue, pick up my copy of the book, and read instead of listening.

Overall Degas can’t voice women at all. I don’t expect perfect voices, but they can’t be so distracting. Looking up his other work also sheds light on his performances. I decided to look up some of his work on Bob the Builder, and yes, he uses very similar voices for some of the characters. At some point, somebody decided that voices used in Bob the Builder were the same kinds of voices that should be used to narrate Hurki Murakami.

I will give credit where it is due however. His vocal work as the main narrator is actually very good for the most part, and there are a few male characters he voices well. Though one of the uncle roles he channels Zap Brannigan from Futurama, and another is an unlistenable over the top pastiche of Peter Lorre playing a cartoon version of Igor.

There are also numerous noticeable production issues. There are individual lines that suddenly sound as though they are read in a different voice and have more background noise. I assume these are re-recordings or alternate takes shoved in at the last minute.

This was a huge disappointment and something so bad that I will be carefully researching the work of voice artists reading audiobooks in the future.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-11-20

Love the story, hate the narrating.

I absolutely love this book. I have read it several times, and this time around I wanted to revisit it as an audiobook. The story is one of my all-time favorites, Murakami at his best, but the narrator made it impossible to enjoy. The voice acting for some of the characters is terribly bad and extremely obnoxious, it totally ruined it for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ana Silva
  • 13-04-21

What a load of absolute rubbish

Nothing happens. No story. no plot, just boring, relentless day to day tedium, with occasional nonsensical, irritating randomness. Totally unsympathetic characters that grate. Gave up 11 tedious, painful hours in. Should have stopped after 1. Don't waste your time.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-04-21

Great story! Irritating narration

Unfortunately the narrator’s attempts to read in a woman’s voice and other strange voices are very odd and irritating! But I loved the story!

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  • J K
  • 20-01-21

Intriguing

Some have mentioned they had an issue with the narration but I thought it was a wonderful performance. Murakami books are always so deliciously dreamlike and this is no different. I highly recommend it.

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  • Kate
  • 08-01-21

Japanese illusion of consciousness

Interesting book, "very Japanese" if that makes sense, but too much of a "visual" descriptions makes it unacceptable for some.

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  • Sponge91
  • 07-12-20

Great Story, Great Narration.

I loved the characters. I, honestly, couldn't stop listening. Rupert Degas is the best. Period.