Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami (Book Review)

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Being Murakami’s most popular book, and having enjoyed the others of his I have read, I decided Norwegian Wood should be a book I read before the end of the year:

Toru, a young university student in Tokyo, is living a fairly lonely life after the suicide of his best friend. His friend’s girlfriend, Naoko, whom Toru previously had nothing but mutual friend in common with each other, begins walking with Toru regularly, hardly talking.

Toru receives a letter from Naoko saying she is now in a sanitorium and is seemingly coming to terms with her trauma. Around htis itme, he also meets Midori, a ‘sexually liberated’ fellow student.

The story essentially follows the relationships between characters, rather than an overbearing plot throughout the book. It is more of a study of humans rather than events which happen to them. The event which triggers a reaction happens fairly early on – the suicide of Kizuki, the character’s mutual friend.

I got thinking about half way through that this book is for another time – I think it is likely better than how I was experiencing it… perhaps something which makes more sense when unsaid.

The book seems to have regular explicit scenes between Toru and pretty much every female character – which I found strange as Toru (though many characters seemed to disagree with me) seemed fairly average in just about all aspects.

Again, perhaps I’m simply too busy to put more energy into understanding the book.

Overall not the strongest of Murakami’s books I have read. I found it difficult to truly care about the characters, and wasn’t gripped by anything that made it hard to put down. I would regularly stop mid-way through chapters without much worry about what was to happen next.

I will try again in the future with this one though!

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