Norwegian Wood (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami,Jay Rubin

Reading about the complications of love from a male perspective was a first for me, and this, coupled with my romantic side and hopes of a happy ending kept me reading this story based on the lives of three young people with complex characters, who are connected to each other by student life, love and death. However, I often felt melancholy due to the general atmosphere of the story, which made it difficult for me to motivate myself to keep on coming back to it, as I knew it would affect my mood, and not for the better. But I did keep on going back to it and finishing it felt like a mini achievement.

There is humour along the way which helps to lift the mood of the story. Early on in the book, Watanabe describes his dormitory room, which he shares with a rather straight laced male student, nicknamed Storm Trooper, and refers to his room mate's choice in posters: 'We didn't even have pin ups. No, we had a photo of a canal in Amsterdam.' Then there is Nagasawa (Watanabe's drinking buddy and the opposite of Storm Trooper), and his anecdote of the time he swallowed three huge slugs.

But most of the humour is provided by Midori, Watanabe's quirky, uninhibited and salacious friend. For example, during a hospital visit to see her sick father, the range of conversation between her and Watanabe includes the three cucumbers her sister has packed in a bag for their dad ('I mean, what's a patient supposed to do? Sit in bed chewing on raw cucumbers?'), to Midori's love of dirty movies. And boy, does she love them!

I want to mention a part in the story where Watanabe writes a letter to Naoko. He writes: 'in general I go on living with all the energy I can muster. Just as you take care of the birds and the fields every morning, every morning I wind my own spring.' The concept of winding one's own spring really resonated with me. It is such a brilliant way to describe that particular feeling of having to keep on getting on with life. I know I feel this way sometimes, and perhaps you do too.

The story will stay with me for a long time to come and I will definitely be seeking out the author's other books. However, if like me, you consider yourself to be an emotional sponge, someone who easily empathises with other people, absorbs their emotions and internalises them, you may want to choose your moment wisely before you sit down to read this book; sadness lies within. Russian empire “Norwegian Wood” is the most famous of Harumi Murakami‘s work, so it seemed the perfect starting point for me. I’ve recently finished and have to say that I found it a little… odd.

I find it quite difficult to put into words what this book is about, because it didn’t seem to have a clear meaning for me. There are certainly elements of a love story (it’s listed in the top 100 romance books on Goodreads), but there’s not a great deal of romance to be seen. There is quite a lot of sex though!

It’s set in the 60s in Tokyo and it follows Toru Watanabe, a college student coming to terms with the death of his best friend Kizuki. Toru and Kizuki’s girlfriend Naoko form a bond and he soon falls in love with her.

I’m a little torn about how I feel about this book, because I do appreciate that it’s very well written and some of the passages are particularly poignant. The plot, however, I struggled with and I probably wouldn’t recommend it for that reason.

I think it’s quite impressive how popular this book has become as it doesn’t have a particularly ground breaking story but instead delves into the human mind, feelings and emotions. I’ve seen a handful of quotes which claim that Murakami can’t understand the worldwide love for this piece either which is quite interesting to hear.

I’ve also read that a few people have identified similarities between this book and ‘The Great Gatsby’, a book which is referenced in this story several times. In particular the notion that both Gatsby and Watanabe are in love with unobtainable women. I’ve read that Haruki Murakami rates F. Scott Fitzgerald highly and has previously translated several of his books from English to Japanese, so it makes sense that some of the same themes have crept into his own work. I know it’s controversial, but I didn’t like ‘The Great Gatsby’ either (I know.. sorry!) so maybe this kind of story just isn’t for me. I’m definitely not sworn off Murakami though, I’m happy to give of his work a read. What would you recommend?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Overall rating: “Norwegian Wood” by Japanese author Haruki Murakami had been on my list for a while but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be my cup of tea. I enjoyed the writing style and some of the poignant chapters but struggled quite a lot with the plot. This was a 2 star read for me. Russian empire It's the first time I read a Murakami and the style was very strange at first. It wasn't straight sailing for me and I had to push myself to keep on reading at first. Then, you not only get used to it but learn to enjoy its simplicity. This is weird, but it was somewhat relaxing to read. It's not easy to describe.

The main character seems very numb towards everything making reactions feel bizarre. This brings up something interesting about the approach towards the story events. Some very deep emotions & situations are then brought forward.

Although I'm not sure it's a book I would strongly recommend to anyone , I did actually enjoy reading the book. Russian empire ‘Norwegian Wood’ is a beautifully crafted and incredibly sensual story of the unfulfilled longing of love, where mostly all characters are broken individuals, broken from inside in some way or the other. The complete story is written in a flashback which starts with our protagonist ‘Toru Watanabe’ catching the melody of Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood’ on a flight, and he starts remembering his youth spent in Tokyo. The storyline revolves mostly around three central characters Toru, Naoko, Midori.

In this novel, Haruki Murakami has also touched upon the ‘Japanese’ experience of transitioning into adulthood during the years 1968 to 1970 through the eyes of Toru. The transition itself has been shown to be stressful and challenging, as evident through multiple suicides showcased in the book. The feeling of reading ‘Norwegian Wood’ is like that of being in a blank, dreamy world, which is very similar to most of Murakami’s work, although there’s no magical realism here. This is very much a story set in the real world, with rational events happening.

If I have to pick a core theme of the book, I would say it’s ‘Sadness’ or ‘Sorrow’, which indeed is a complicated emotion. It has an ability to immerse you completely in an alternate reality, where nothing else matters. Murakami’s work would make you feel this sorrow which is evident throughout the book, through various characters, but most precisely through the protagonist and Naoko.

It would not be right to summarize the plot here, as it won’t do justice to this beautiful piece of work. The book is of an emotion, a feeling that you need to feel, as you read it.

Like some of the other works of Murakami, this one too has an open ending, which can be interpreted in various ways by the readers. It is also confusing and frustrating to know that there is no definite end to the story, and as a reader, I was left longing for , for a definite ending.

Please go ahead and pick this one, you won’t be disappointed. I would rate it 4/5, not a complete 5,, becausere fond of definite endings. :) Russian empire Two things:
1. It's a very depressing read. So if you are depressed, or are in the process of dumping it, please postpone the read to when you know you've overcome it.

2. Find your Midori. Then don't let her go. Russian empire


Read the haunting love story that turned Murakami into a literary superstar.

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

Evocative, entertaining, sexy and funny; but then Murakami is one of the best writers around Time Out

Such is the exquisite, gossamer construction of Murakamis writing that everything he chooses to describe trembles with symbolic possibility Guardian

This book is undeniably hip, full of student uprisings, free love, booze and 1960s pop, its also genuinely emotionally engaging, and describes the highs of adolescence as well as the lows Independent on Sunday Norwegian Wood (Vintage International)

Haruki Murakami,Jay Rubin ↠ 9 FREE READ

It took me a while to get over all the depression in the story and enjoy it for its love and passion content. It’s a struggle for love, full of sadness and heartache. Lucky two characters brought a fresh air of life and made reading this novel worthwhile. *** Not recommended for individuals with suicidal thoughts (in my opinion). Russian empire If you are a fan of Murakami, you know he has the ability to make you live in his books, Norwegian Wood does this so than most. For anyone who has experienced the pain of losing a loved one, the awkwardness of being a teenager, and the pain and heartache of love, this book will take the thoughts that you never had the courage of thinking or saying and read them back to you.

Norwegian Wood is a masterpiece of the inner mind and will bring you back to places and feelings that you thought only you had ever experienced. Joy, pain, sorrow, loss, love, and death are intertwined with life and those of us who choose to go on living and feeling.

A must read for anyone still living. Russian empire I should have done research on this book before buying it because this is definitely one of the worst books I have ever taken the time to read. I never leave reviews but I have to warn y'all. First off, the main character is an insufferable little rapist who fetishizes mental illness. He raped Naoko and the author writes about it as if it's totally normal and is consensual, but Naoko was having a full breakdown. Second off, the way the women are written is completely unrealistic; it's as if the author has never actually interacted with real women in his life. And finally the part that made me want to burn this book, Naoko's roommate and the main character begin to have a conversation about the roommates first lesbian encounter, which happened to be with a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL!! And it just gets worse from there! The scene made me sick to my stomach because it's written as SMUT with so many details as if it's meant to be a turn on to the reader?? I don't even want to donate this book to my local thrift shop because I don't want anyone to have the chance to read this absolutely disgusting book. It's very clear that this book could only be enjoyed by a man who do not think of women as real people, just sex dolls. Because that's exactly what the author thinks. I'm very disappointed. Russian empire “That song can make me feel so sad,” said Naoko. “I don't know, I guess I imagine myself wandering in a deep wood. I'm all alone and it's cold and dark, and nobody comes to save me.”

3.5 really. I always confuse this Haruki Murakami with Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. The very pastoral feeling to a lot of it, the woods, the walking, the solitary Toru Watanabe and his broken heart I realize the stories are dissimilar, but this is not your average Murakami fare. It was one of his earlier works, and while nothing is wrong with it in particular, it's just so different from everything else I've read from him that it really is not the stuff one imagines when reading Murakami. I've seen it suggested so many times as an introduction to Murakami's work, but I doubt you could know if you'd like much else after reading this because it is so different (with the exception of South of the Border,West of the Sun another early work.)

Putting that aside, I wondered what was making all of these tragic events happen. I sort of hoped for magic, which we do get a hint of at the very end. All of the characters are unmoored floating around in the world without a tether. The Beatles song from which it takes the title is perfectly suited. I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me. And the jangly guitars along with the beat belie the sad story the lyrics tell. That's how this book feels. Surrounded by sex and funny characters/scenes, tragedy takes over everyone, characters are alone wandering in the wilderness, as it were, and while I wouldn't suggest this book could tell anyone if they'd like any other Murakami novel, I think it's well worth a read. It stayed with me for a long time, in detail.

(I've never seen the movie or for that matter, any of the movies made from his books anyone have thoughts on this one?) Russian empire Having loved some of his recent books, I was interested in checking what was described as his breakout book. I'm quite the opposite of a prude, and as mentioned I loved his other stuff, so when I describe this as terribly written smut I hope you understand it is not borne of other prejudices. The oddest part is I don't understand how this can be the same author as The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. My ah ha moment was that perhaps it was a different translator, and he has used various, but then the translator for this book was the same one as Wind Up! Very confusing, no idea how anyone could think this was a good book, please read his others if you are going to explore. Russian empire