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Posts Tagged ‘Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’

It’s a pretty weird thing to do to climb down a well when you’re feeling confused about life, but at least it makes sense. Some sort of sense, anyway. It makes less sense to calmly trap somebody when they’re down a well, taking away the ladder and covering up the opening. Doing that is even weirder. At least climbing down a well is harmless. Toru Okada doesn’t bother anyone. He’s a pretty normal guy, too, spending his days cooking and searching for his cat. (That’s how he ends up meeting May.) Still, people always find him strange. May Kasahara (who calls him “Mister Wind-Up Bird”) finds him especially so. Which is funny, since she’s far from normal. May doesn’t play a pivotal role in the plot, but she’s always there, with her dreamy reveries about death and duck people. She doesn’t really do anything (the first time we see her, she’s enjoying a mellow summer day), but her presence is important, for Toru Okada as well as the reader.

Murakami seems to enjoy writing about strange teenage girls as much as he does apparently normal adult men. The same sort of character appears again in Dance Dance Dance and 1Q84, though neither are quite like May. The former is younger, and a bit more argumentative, while the latter is kind of like Rei Ayanami. Murakami isn’t an expert when it comes to writing women (at times, it makes me uneasy), but for all their flaws, I still like these characters.

 

 

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A while back, I made a list of the top ten Strange Girls in fiction. I was very proud of this list, until I realised I had stupidly left some very important Strange Girls out. So without further adon’t, here is a list of those glorious, beautiful eccentric fictional young women that I foolishly left out.

*Dulcie, from Going Bovine. I love this book, and I love this character. The only reason she wasn’t present in my list was simply that I hadn’t read it yet. But now there is no excuse. Before this book, I thought Luna Lovegood was the perfect girl, the one I was determined to marry. Now, she has a rival. Dulcie, oh Dulcie, how perfect you are! She’s a pink-haired punk angel with torn fishnets and a suit of armour, with a serious sugar addiction. I think that once again, I am in love. With a fictional character.

*Dess, from Midnighters. Dess was my favourite from these books. Jessica and her love interest were bland and boring (love interest guy is so boring I forget his name), Rex was cool but could be an asshole, and Melissa was just a bitch (though I still liked her). The thing I liked about this series was that Rex, Dess and Melissa were outcasts who didn’t fit in and enjoyed wearing black. Dess was the youngest (I think), whose special ability was that she was a polymath. She was also the one who made all the iron, tridecalogism-enhanced weapons they used to fight the Darklings with. She kind of reminded me of Allison from The Breakfast Club, except more badass.

Short for Desdemona.

*Linda, from the sitcom Becker. Linda was Dr. Becker’s slightly dotty assistant, and one of the funniest and most original characters on the show. Sadly, she was flanderised from an intelligent, if wacky character to a bit of an airhead. She even dyed her hair blond for some unfathomable reason. She was much prettier with dark hair.

*Jane Lane from the cult Daria tv series. Okay, I did put Daria herself on the last list, but Jane Lane deserves her own entry. And for some reason, I find her name unbelievably cool.

Daria and Jane.

 *That girl with the long gloves and red hair who appeared briefly in the Death: The High Cost of Living graphic novel. I’m not sure who she is, or whether she appeared in anything else by Neil Gaiman, but I felt myself taken by the character.

*May Kasahara from Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I didn’t finish the book, and didn’t even like it that much, but I still liked her a lot.

*Pippi Longstocking.

*Mina from the David Almond novel Skellig. I like her views on school (she thinks it is pointless).

*Violet Baudelaire from the Lemony Snicket books. Okay, I’m not sure if she counts, or how weird she actually is, but she is definitely surrounded by strangeness, and is an interesting and quirky character. Also, she has a slight gothic lolita look.

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