Toru Okada is an unemployed man living in Tokyo and trying to figure out his next step whilst keeping house and cooking for his working wife, Kumiko. She asks him to find the cat which has gone missing, last seen in a closed-off alley behind their house. He starts to get strange phone calls, and meets odd characters such as May Kasahara, the teenager who lives nearby, Malta Kano, a psychic that his wife recommends, and her sister, Creta Kano. Then there is the sound of a wind-up bird which only he can hear, and another psychic, Mr Honda, and a well, and a mark that appears on Toru’s face, and… look, it is very hard to explain.
I absolutely love it. I can’t say that I truly know what happened, though I sort of do, I think. But it was delightful, and charming, and quite horrific, yet still with some charm. I’d had it recommended, and meant to read Murakami for a long time, but when I picked it up from my local library and it was 600 pages of small type, I despaired for a moment. It was originally published as 3 books, so that may be a little less intimidating. The moment I started to read, I didn’t want to set it down. I just adored it.