What We’re Reading: Norwegian Wood

| December 8, 2011

I just finished Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. This was actually the first Murakami work I have ever read. I have two friends who are gaga over him, so I figured I would see what he was all about. Let me tell you — I was impressed. The book is simply written, rather dark…but a love story at its core. Set in the late 1960s, the book is slightly based on Murakami’s own young adulthood in college, when he lived in a dormitory in Tokyo and youth protests (mentioned but  not very focalized) occurred daily.

The novel is very Japanese in its subtlety, but imaginative and quite vivid. Of all the characters, I love Reiko most. She is a real, tough, strong, older woman. The main character, Toru Watanbe, is a little bland and boring, but nonetheless likeable. His two love interests are a contrast — annoyingly so, where Naoko is lacking any sort of personality or emotion, Midori is an obnoxious, needy, wannabe nymphomaniac. The novel draws you in with its sad undertones, small mysteries, bizarre character dialogue, and the desire to find out if Watanbe actually does something of any merit.

Sadly, this book was turned into a movie. I heard it was garbage, so don’t even bother with it. Just read the book! Details of our copy are below:

Title: Norwegian Wood

Author: Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin

Publication Date: New York: Vintage International c2000

Call #: PL856.U673 N6713 2000

Location: 3rd Floor Stacks, Main