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 WomanA 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 I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me She showed me her room, isn t it good, Norwegian wood She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere, So I looked around and I noticed there wasn t a chair.I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine We talked until two and then she said, It s time for bed She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh I told her I didn t and crawled off to sleep in the bathAnd when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown So I lit a fire, isn t it good, Norwegian wood. The BeatlesHaruki Murakami s novel Norwegian Wood is a love story on author s own confession, a straight, simple story quite unlike the type of fiction he is well known for Murakami claims the novel was a challenge to him, a test of his capability to write a straight story many of his fans see it as a betrayal of what his works had stood for until then Not having read any of Murakami s works so far, I had the advantage of approaching it with an unprejudiced mind And I found that while the story was straight, it was anything but simple.The novel is one bunch of impressions The prose is sensual, even voluptuous descriptions of landscapes and weather are done in long and loving detail There is very little exploration of inner mental states, other than as broad description of emotions, even though we are listening to only one voice throughout the book It is rather like stream of consciousness turned outward.I have been trying to do a traditional review of this book for quite some time now, but have been finding it impossible So I will give you my impressions of reading the book.Reading Norwegian Wood for me is like sitting on the porch at twilight during a rare break in the rains during the monsoon, watching the golden rays of the dying sun light up the rain drenched earth, and filling your lungs with the smell of the rain.Reading Norwegian Wood is like waking up on a winter morning, opening the window and getting hit in the face by an invigorating blast of icy East Wind.Reading Norwegian Wood is like staying up late, listening to the harmonious cacophony of drums at our local temple festival, inhaling the aroma of the burning lamp wicks and incense.Highly recommended. Before I begin may it be known that this was not my first Murakami I read Kafka on the Shore and loved it I read Wind up Bird Chronicle and loved that too So I got to thinking that maybe I should read the book that made him famous, the book that everyone in Japan is said to have read, that compelled Murakami to flee the country to escape the media attention How disappointed I was when I finished Also, I wrote this on iPad so the punctuation and capitalisation is off I tried to fix all the auto correct but I may have missed a few.The characters in this book are all loathsome Toru Watanabe, the main character, is a self pitying man looking back on his days at university in Tokyo during the student riots in 1969 1970 when he supposedly fell in love He attempts to paint himself as a nice guy , deluded into believing himself to be honest and who has never lied in his life an idea which is refuted several times in the novel E.g When midori asks him whether he slept with Naoko since and he replies we didn t do anything yeah, cause people generally rub up naked against each other and give blow jobs to anyone and everyone You know, that s nothing Also, bottom of page 350 Yeah which often came off as whiny whenever he felt bad over the fact that he was not self entitled to screwing people over and actually felt guilt although this guilt only tended to manifest itself awhile later when he actually got around to thinking about people other than himself One of many puzzling traits was his insistence at naming every single book and song that he was reading listening to despite most of them being easily interchangeable, replaceable and irrelevant seeing as they had no correlation whatsoever to the plot or character development a few exceptions being the song Norwegian Wood obviously , Das Kapital in relation with the setting of the student riots and the time, and there was a part where Toru was comparing himself to Jay Gatsby watch ing that tiny light on the opposite shore night after night although I cringed at the feeble struggle to relate this tacky soap operatic tale of Toru s wuv for Naoko s body to a symbol signifying Gatsby s obsession to repossess and re enact what has evolved into a doomed and glittering illusion and the idea that the dream has surpassed the real and is better experienced from a distance Seriously, the number of smug name dropping probably extended the book a few dozen pages and you would think that someone who read so much would have at least developed even the smallest amount of empathy but, for all I know, Toru Watanabe spent all his time reading with his eyes glazed over thinking and feeling sorry for himself that he has to feel guilt over using girls as rebound.What was evendepressing about this book was that every single female character was weak and dependent From I m pretending to do the tough girl act but in a cute subservient way Midori who is needy and whiny she has reasons for being moody and throwing tantrums but there are absolutely no excuses for being cruel and manipulative which is what she does to win Toru s heart to I don t love you but you want sex and blowjobs and I can t say no to men Naoko to I m so independent and empowering and independent but I have a small stomach and can t eat much coughi minsecureaboutmyselfcough Reiko Midori, however, is the character who ticks the generic box of being different , a thin veil attempting to hide the fact that she is actually the fantasy girlfriend of lot of insecure men She is cute, she is kinky, desperate to sexually please men, is interested in fuck ing like crazy , she is friendly and social with a lot of people, she cooks good food, cleans and is a hard worker and shows that she can slavishly take care of men ie domestic goddess I m looking for selfishness Perfect selfishness Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortbread And you stop everything you re doing and run out and buy it for me And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortbread out to me And I say I don t want it anyand throw it out the window That s what I m looking for Are we supposed to find this endearing Are we supposed to read this in wonder and awe and repeat to ourselves what Toru says afterward I ve never met a girl like you The thing is, it is in Murakami s style to present a lot of truisms and while in his other works, they are intertwined with the surreal in such a way that it doesn t matter whether they are huge generalisations or just really cheesy because they come from dreamlike layers echoing the absurd and the interior monologue of the character and so it isn t preachy, just something to think about In Norwegian Wood, they are brash and blunt The characters make sweeping and often blindly hypocritical and prejudiced assumptions disguised in the appearance of truth mostly about how they are so different and everyone else are such boring sheep in predictable hipster style liek omigod, i m, liek, sooo unique and different Liek omigod, my tiny brain never thought of that such as never again would she have that self centred beauty that seems to take its own independent course in adolescent girls and no one else So ALL adolescent girls are all self centred sorry, self centred beauty like totally a compliment eyeroll , huh, and Toru here wants US to think that HE is so exceptional when he manages to group half the population into at one point possessing a particular trait There are a lot of I don t know, I m just a girl moments but I reaaaaally don t want to have to open the book again and go look for them.I could go on and on about how odious Naoko and Reiko were but this review is getting really long and all I ve been talking about are the characters.The plot, in all its boring and barely existing glory Toru Watanabe runs into Naoko, the girlfriend of Kizuki, his high school best friend who had suicided a couple of years previous , and realises she has a hawt body On her birthday he rapes sorry, makes love to her while she s distraught over Kizuki and she runs away to a mental asylum to get better Toru whinges about loneliness He meets Midori Everything gets dragged out about how they are both sad and lonely Toru visits Naoko at the asylum and meets her roommate, Reiko Toru chooses Midori over naoko because she is a real, live girl Naoko commits suicide Toru and Reiko fuck in her memory.Half the book is whinge and whine, the other half objectifies women Positives 1 Murakami writes beautifully It s as simple as that Norwegian Wood is what you would get if you stamped a picture of the ceiling of the Sistine chapel onto a pair of crocs.2 My mum likes the Beatles song and I ve also had the song stuck in my head since reading this book.3 It s over. This is a relatively early novel by this author, 1987 The book jacket tells us that this book booted him up from being a famous author to superstar status On GR it is one of his most highly rated books It s also the only I ll call it straightforward novel of the five or so of his I have read There is no science fiction or magical realism No women in bars who may be ghosts, no hanging out in deep wells, no psychic cats, just a single moon We do have, as usual in Murakami, a cat, mention of a mysterious well, and western music, especially pop music such as that of the Beatles Being an only child is often mentioned in Murakami s novels which would be true in low birth rate Japanese culture I d say the two main themes are sex and suicideThe main characters are a young man and a young woman The woman is permanently damaged by the suicide of their male friend when he was 17 Until then the two boys and the girl had been an inseparable three some Earlier the girl s sister had also committed suicide She is so stricken that she elects to go to a sanitarium until she can deal with life again At times both characters say they have word searching sickness the inability to put their feeling into words He feels responsible for the girl in the sanitarium and can t make the break to commit to another young woman that he has fallen in love with There is a story within the story from another woman at the facility She had been a piano teacher and the story is of a lesbian relationship There s a lot of sex in the book with little actual intercourse You have to read it to see what I mean.Set in 1969, many of the characters are in college against a background of student revolts, students taking over classrooms and universities closing There s a lot of talk of Marx and communism Murakami was in college in Japan at this time Some passages that I liked the self I was then, the world I had then, where did they go Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it s time for them to be hurt Life is like that I m all through as a human being All you re looking at is the lingering memory of what I used to be The most important part of me, what used to be inside, died years ago, and I m just functioning by rote memory I think this is my favorite Murakami top photo from images8.alphacoders.comphoto of the author from i.guim.co.uk Great ending This sure was the saddest book I ve ever read Seems very dark and depressing, but the light comes out at the very end and you can see the sunshine through the clouds I ve never read a book like this and to be honest, I m not sure I ever want to read another one It just takes a piece of you and leaves you feeling a little empty I don t even know how to explain it It s like traveling up a mountainside on a dark gray day Yes, the beauty is still there, but you have to look for it You don t even notice the beauty before you because of the overcast skies The higher up you go, thedrained you feel At the very end, as you reach the top, you re bone weary and exhausted, both mentally and physically, but suddenly you can see above the clouds and it s so bright that your eyes hurt and the whole mountain suddenly looks differentyou suddenly feel renewedthe world you thought was gloomy and gray is suddenly bright and new.and beautiful.. Murakami divides his novel into two There is the past and death Then there is future and life What road do you take Seems like an easy question to answer But what happens when you are in love with the past And what happens when you so desperately want to save that past from such a death Life becomes complicated and the prospect of the future feels like a brutal betrayal of one who is desperately clinging to you You are her anchor her only connection with reality And you love her How can you ever walk away Life is fickle, though true love isn t Sometimes we have to do the hard thing and let go even if it kills usThe dead will always be dead, but we have to go on livingSuch words are easier said than put into practice Sometimes the dead carry so much of ourselves that living without them is not quite living any Toru lost his best friend when he was seventeen He killed himself We never find out why, but I have my own ideas about what and who caused it He carries on, feeling empty He falls in love with his dead friend s girlfriend Naoko but she has her own problems They maintain a friendship for a year, and then she institutionalises herself because she simply cannot cope with life in the wake of her old boyfriend s death He was her soulmate and now she is rudderless in a sea of uncertainty Anyone who has read a Murakami will know the importance of music in his storytelling These lyrics saythan I ever could about the novel Read them, hear them and feel them.Cue the music Wood This Bird Has Flown by the Beatles I once had a girlOr should I sayShe once had meShe showed me her roomIsn t it goodNorwegian woodShe asked me to stayAnd she told me to sit anywhereSo I looked aroundAnd I noticed there wasn t a chairI sat on a rugBiding my timeDrinking her wineWe talked until twoAnd then she said It s time for bed She told me she worked in the morningAnd started to laughI told her I didn tAnd crawled off to sleep in the bathAnd when I awokeI was aloneThis bird had flownSo I lit a fireIsn t it goodNorwegian wood I want to interpret them and put them in the context of the novel and explain what they mean, but to do so would be to ruin it all for you If you have read the book read through the lyrics and ponder the actions Naoko takes towards the end of the story, what she does and why she does it seemed a little selfish to me at first But the lyrics tell the truth Perspective is everything and we never had the perspective in the novel that would have spoken the truth Norwegian Wood is a novel that feels like it should never have ended It is the sort of book that carries you away into the lives of the characters and should carry on as long as they continue to live With suicide such a strong theme through the novel, no less than three major characters commit it, I was surprised the ending was notof a universal ending so to speak The power of the writing resides in his ability to tangle you up within the story Murakami s characters here feel so terribly, tragically, real They are some of the most human I ve ever encountered on a page It all felt so desperately unresolved towards the end of the story But isn t that life How often do we truly resolve our daemons and feel satisfied with how things went Rarely Norwegian Wood is a dangerous novel because it has a certain sense of universal appeal it has the ability to speak to may a reader as they compare their own situation to that depicted here Sure, it s likely less dramatic but the need to move on being weighed against a past that hangs over us, whatever that past may be, is a dilemma most of us will face But the real question is did I enjoy it and would I recommend it I would recommend it, but I certainly didn t love it There s little to love here, but there is also little to hate What Murakami delivers is a sprawling peak into the lives of a bunch of severely damaged youths coping with the realities of what emptiness means Take from it what you will A warning though, it may hurt. Noruwei no mori Norwegian wood 1987 , Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood Noruwei no Mori is a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami A 37 year old Toru Watanabe has just arrived in Hamburg, Germany When he hears an orchestral cover of the Beatles song Norwegian Wood , he is suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of loss and nostalgia He thinks back to the 1960s, when so much happened that touched his life Watanabe, his classmate Kizuki, and Kizuki s girlfriend Naoko are the best of friends Kizuki and Naoko are particularly close and feel as if they are soulmates, and Watanabe seemsthan happy to be their enforcer This idyllic existence is shattered by the unexpected suicide of Kizuki on his 17th birthday Kizuki s death deeply touches both surviving friends Watanabe feels the influence of death everywhere, while Naoko feels as if some integral part of her has been permanently lost The two of them spendandtime together going for long walks on Sundays, although feelings for each other are never clarified in this interval On the night of Naoko s 20th birthday, she feels especially vulnerable and they have sex, during which Watanabe realizes that she is a virgin Afterwards, Naoko leaves Watanabe a letter saying that she needs some time apart and is quitting college to go to a sanatorium These events are set against a backdrop of civil unrest The students at Watanabe s college go on strike and call for a revolution Inexplicably, the students end their strike and act as if nothing had happened, which enrages Watanabe as a sign of hypocrisy Watanabe is befriended by a fellow drama classmate, Midori Kobayashi She is everything that Naoko is not outgoing, vivacious, and supremely self confident Despite his love for Naoko, Watanabe finds himself attracted to Midori as well Midori reciprocates his feelings, and their friendship grows during Naoko s absence Watanabe visits Naoko at her secluded mountain sanatorium near Kyoto There he meets Reiko Ishida, an older patient there who has become Naoko s confidante During this and subsequent visits, Reiko and Naoko revealabout their past Reiko talks about the cause of her downfall into mental illness and details the failure of her marriage, while Naoko talks about the unexpected suicide of her older sister several years ago When he returns to Tokyo, Watanabe unintentionally alienates Midori through both his lack of consideration of her wants and needs, and his continuing thoughts about Naoko He writes a letter to Reiko, asking for her advice about his conflicted affections for both Naoko and Midori He does not want to hurt Naoko, but he does not want to lose Midori either Reiko counsels him to seize this chance for happiness and see how his relationship with Midori turns out A later letter informs Watanabe that Naoko has killed herself Watanabe, grieving and in a daze, wanders aimlessly around Japan, while Midori with whom he hasn t kept in touch wonders what has happened to him After about a month of wandering, he returns to the Tokyo area and gets in contact with Reiko, who leaves the sanatorium to come visit The middle aged Reiko stays with Watanabe, and they have sex It is through this experience, and the intimate conversation that Watanabe and Reiko share that night, that he comes to realise that Midori is the most important person in his life After he sees Reiko off, Watanabe calls Midori to declare his love for her Midori asks, Where are you now , and the novel ends with Watanabe pondering that question 2014 20 1392 400 9786005906950 1394 384 9786009576005 747. UGH This book bugged the hell out of me for a few reasons 1 There is a somewhat extended passage devoted to a lesbian encounter that wouldn t be so terrible in and of itself, as sex in general is a major topic BUT the novel as a whole leaned towards describing the physiological experience the woman were having and would brush over the mens again and again There would be like 5 paragraphs on the woman and then 1 sentence were it would say something along the lines of, she took me in her hand and I came.GIVE ME A BREAK It seemed like an exercise in writing hmmmm, what would it be like to write from the females perspectivethan a contributor factor to the story 2 The girls in this book were all needy, dysfunctional, emotional or detached but sexy as all get out while the male was unsentimental, level headed and also sexy 3 the main male character had sex with 3 of the girl main characters as well as countless unnamed characters and apparently he was FABULOUS at it because 2 of the characters decided that they would never have sex again that it could never measure up.OH BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTHER How this book became one of Murakami s most famous and popular baffles me In fact, when asked about it in an interview, Murakami himself said that he was puzzled by its popularity and that it really isn t what he wants to be known for What can I say There s too little of the characters that do spark my interest and much too much of the depressive girlfriend and her kooky friend at the mental institution Also, the scenes which were supposed to be funny about his college roommate didn t interest me at all and ultimately struck me as dark and disturbing Perhaps this book resonated with so many people because view spoiler there were four suicides in it hide spoiler I can t explain it I want to inhale the pages of this book, grind them up, and snort them right up my nose I want in placed directly in my brain, my very Bloodstream Murakami s words make me feel just like Nicole Kidman in that scene in Moulin Rouge where she is rolling around on that fur rug in her negligee, moaning and writhing in pleasure and saying Yes Yes Dirty words More More Naughty words Although Murakami s words aren t so much naughty and dirty as they are prismatic and mysterious I wish I could weave his sentences into a rug to roll around on They re magical and mystical they break my heart.