This is a weird book and fat: more than 600 pages, and then it just ends without explaining a lot of things. A lot like the TV series LOST. It started off well, the writing is very engaging and till the very end (around 85% of the story) I felt it was going great but by the time it ended, I could see that the story was not given a proper treatment.
The book introduces too many tangential characters, which although add a lot of pages but don’t add anything to the story – in fact almost every character is like that. Naburo Wataya (both of them), Kumiko, Mr. Honda, A lietinent, Malta, Creta, May, Cinnamon come and go. Many of them are out of the story around the first half, and then are described matter-of-factly at the end.
The dark/evil forces are described but never explained. There’s a fight at the end, but with whom you can’t tell; the narrator rescues a woman but it’s not clear who she is (I can assume she’s someone important lost in the beginning but then who makes the telephone calls?) Some of the people have special powers, but they have hardly anything to do with the storyline. Most importantly, the wind-up bird is “something”, but nobody has seen it, and people who have heard it are connected pretty weakly to each other – they might be connected by Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The narrator assumes a lot in the end, but what he comes up is never proved or denied.
The writing is good, in fact till the very end I did not lose interest in the story, and I’d read ‘Kafka on the Shore’ in the near future. It’s just that as I was reaching closer to the end, I realised this is going to go down in flames. In the last few chapters, the focus on the story should’ve been on explaining things but even at that point the story was just too complex and new things kept adding to it.