Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami


Pages: 296 pages
Publication: 1987
Publisher: Vintage International

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

My Thoughts:

4.5 stars

So I finally read the legendary Murakami and I ended up really enjoying it! The thing is, this book was mediocre really. Mediocre plot, a sad love story with far too much tragedy and overly sexual, but still good. But the writing is where Murakami shines. I started this book, read 10 pages, and hated his writing. But I grew to love it and I ended up being taken to Tokyo through his words. He has this way with words that he can write such an atmospheric story. He does this so clearly and so well that this is where he shines.

I did love most of the characters but not all. I didn’t fully understand Toru at all and the way he understood his relationships with other people. I also didn’t like Naoko at all. I felt for her but I wasn’t a fan of hers. I mostly didn’t like the way her and Toru affected one another. I really liked Reiko, and Midori was my favourite character. She was so unique and the one character in the book I could relate to.

Plot wise most of this story was unbelievable. There was far too much sex and sexual discussion for a book of 293 pages. If you take it out I’m sure the book would have hit only 200 pages. It was also not really realistic given the time period for some of the things that happened to have happened. And again, far too much death. The book also, while being extremely sad and emotional, didn’t emotionally affect me in any way.

So while there were some clear issues I had, they didn’t affect the story. I still was engrossed and wanted to keep reading all the time and I know I owe it all to Murakami’s writing.


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