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If you could sum up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in three words, what would they be?
Murakami's wonderfully delicate, mysterious and absorbing novel is terribly marred by the narration here; Degas renders the main character unpleasantly arch and snarky initially and seems to be struggling without success to find the right voice for him throughout; children and teens have voices like obnoxious TV cartoon characters, and both female and children's voices are indicated by a very rapid, jerky, breathy, oddly pitched delivery that's just all wrong and actually jarring. The tone throughout is much too theatrical and feverish for the quiet deeps, wry humor and reflective unfolding of this tale.I loved reading this book - Murakami's stories never seem abstract and 'experimental' in the off-putting way at all and I can never put them down. Other narrators have done Murakami really, really well (1Q84, with multiple readers, is terrific, as is Kafka By the Shore with Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur ). Degas just never gets the mood of the work right, to my mind.
What did you like best about this story?
I'm a Murakawa fan; would just add to the many reviews of his work something that's often not mentioned - not only are they deeply beautiful, his novels are really fun to read. I think he's often made out to be less accessible than he is; newcomers should just relax and flow along with the narrative and not be too worried about assembling things - just kick back and enjoy the ride. Even with a poor narrator it's a dandy.
Would you be willing to try another one of Rupert Degas’s performances?
No indeed. I'm really not such a hard critic of audiobook performances and appreciate many readers deeply, but a good reader needs to understand and respect his characters and not deliver caricatures.
Any additional comments?
I didn't closely follow the outline suggested here (seriously?), but would say that this is a tremendous tale, difficult to put down for those who like Murakami's work, and widely reviewed elsewhere; I only wanted to warn readers that they might be unfairly put off this author by the disappointing performance here.
37 of 41 people found this review helpful
Please tell male narrators that womens voices aren't all high pitched and breathy. It is almost impossible to listen to these "female" voices. If there needs to be a vocal change, hire a women to play a woman. I finished reading the book because the "female" voices in this recording are incredibly grating. I am a women and all of the "female voices" in this reading sound like a man trying to imitate a small child. I can't take it.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful