Read Rừng Nauy by Haruki Murakami Trịnh Lữ Online


Câu chuyện bắt đầu từ một chuyến bay trong ngày mưa ảm đạm, một người đàn ông 37 tuổi chợt nghe thấy bài hát gắn liền với hình ảnh người yêu cũ, thế là quá khứ ùa về xâm chiếm thực tại. Mười tám năm trước, người đàn ông ấy là chàng Toru Wanatabe trẻ trung, mỗi chủ nhật lại cùng nàng Naoko lang thang vô định trên những con phố Tokyo. Họ sánh bước bên nhau để thấy mình còn sCâu chuyện bắt đầu từ một chuyến bay trong ngày mưa ảm đạm, một người đàn ông 37 tuổi chợt nghe thấy bài hát gắn liền với hình ảnh người yêu cũ, thế là quá khứ ùa về xâm chiếm thực tại. Mười tám năm trước, người đàn ông ấy là chàng Toru Wanatabe trẻ trung, mỗi chủ nhật lại cùng nàng Naoko lang thang vô định trên những con phố Tokyo. Họ sánh bước bên nhau để thấy mình còn sống, còn tồn tại, và gắng gượng tiếp tục sống, tiếp tục tồn tại sau cái chết của người bạn cũ Kizuki. Cho đến khi Toru nhận ra rằng mình thực sự yêu và cần có Naoko thì cũng là lúc nàng không thể chạy trốn những ám ảnh quá khứ, không thể hòa nhập với cuộc sống thực tại và trở về dưỡng bệnh trong một khu trị liệu khép kín. Toru, bên cạnh giảng đường vô nghĩa chán ngắt, bên cạnh những đêm chơi bời chuyển từ cảm giác thích thú đến uể oải, ghê tởm...vẫn kiên nhẫn chờ đợi và hy vọng vào sự hồi phục của Naoko. Cuối cùng, những lá thư, những lần thăm hỏi, hồi ức về lần ân ái duy nhất của Toru không thể níu Naoko ở lại, nàng chọn cái chết như một lối đi thanh thản. Từ trong mất mát, Toru nhận ra rằng mình cần tiếp tục sống và bắt đầu tình yêu mới với Midori.Một cuốn sách ẩn chứa mọi điều khiến bạn phải say mê và đau đớn, tình yêu với muôn vàn màu sắc và cung bậc khác nhau, cảm giác trống rỗng và hẫng hụt của cả một thế hệ thanh niên vô hướng, ý niệm về sự sinh tồn tất yếu của cái chết trong lòng cuộc sống, những gắng gượng âm thầm nhưng quyết liệt của con người để vượt qua mất mát trong đời...Tất cả đã tạo nên vẻ đẹp riêng cho "Rừng Na uy", im lặng, ma thuật và tuyệt vọng như một chấm máu cô độc giữa bạt ngàn tuyết lạnh....

Title : Rừng Nauy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12009447
Format Type : Bìa mềm
Number of Pages : 271 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Rừng Nauy Reviews

  • Ian
    2019-06-15 10:06

    Twenty RevolutionsThe birthday I feared most was my 20th.For people older than me, the most significant birthday was their 21st.But when the age of legal adulthood was reduced to 18, turning 21 no longer had the same significance it once had.Before then, you could be conscripted into the armed forces at 18, but you could not drink alcohol until you turned 21. So, if you were old enough to die for your country, surely you were old enough to have a drink?Either way, turning 20 for me meant that I had ceased to be a teenager, a group of people linked only by the fact that their age ended in the suffix “-teen”, but still it felt special not belonging to the grown up crowd.On the other side of 20, you emerge from university (if you’ve been lucky enough to go there) and dive straight into full-time employment, maturity, responsibility, expectations and adulthood.Suddenly, things are all a lot more serious, more permanent, less experimental, or this is how it seems.Japanese-StyleHaruki Murakami writes about the Japanese experience in “Norwegian Wood”.It’s set in the years 1968 to 1970, so it mightn’t be the same now.However, it seems that the transition into adulthood is more demanding, more stressful.It also seems that there are more casualties, more teenagers fail to make the transition and end up committing suicide.Murakami writes about the transition almost like it’s a game of snakes and ladders.You can climb into the future, success and normality, or you can slide into darkness, failure and death.Well, WellMurakami’s protagonist, Toru Watanabe, pictures the darkness as a well-like abyss early in the novel when he recounts the events of a day he spent with the girl he longs for, Naoko.“I can describe the well in minute detail. It lay precisely on the border where the meadow ended and the woods began – a dark opening in the earth a yard across, hidden by grass. Nothing marked its perimeter – no fence, no stone curb (at least not one that rose above ground level). It was nothing but a hole, a wide-open mouth…You could lean over the edge and peer down to see nothing. All I knew about the well was its frightening depth. It was deep beyond measuring, and crammed full of darkness, as if all the world’s darknesses had been boiled down to their ultimate density.”As a teenager, Toru’s life had been fairly innocuous, he had been playing in a meadow compared with the thicket that awaited him in the future.But first he had to avoid the well in making the transition.As his friend Reiko says in another context: “She and I were bound together at the border between life and death.”There is a sense in which we have to negotiate the boundaries as safely as we can, to cross the border and close the gap.If we are lucky, we can do it together.Unfortunately, not everybody is destined to make it into the forest and out the other side.Vanishing ActThe overwhelming feel of reading “Norwegian Wood” is one of being in a blank, dream-like, ethereal world.Although Murakami describes people, surroundings and objects with precision, it all seems other worldly, as if everybody lives and breathes in a world beyond this world.There is a sense that at any moment, it could all disappear, that it might all just be part of some cosmic vanishing act.Even if we make it through, we might turn around and discover that some of our friends haven’t been so lucky. Talking about My GenerationMost of the action in the novel is dialogue, the characters talking about themselves and their relationships.They are preoccupied with themselves, introspective and self-centred. They converse, they play folk songs on the guitar, they write letters that are later burned.Nobody makes anything that will last, other than perhaps themselves and the relationships that are able to survive into adulthood.They struggle for permanence, when everything else around them is ephemeral.Even their memories fade.In the “frightful silence” of the forest, Naoko asks Toru: “I want you always to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”Of course, he responds that he will, although 20 years later, he finds that his memory “has grown increasingly dim.”“What if I’ve forgotten the most important thing? What if somewhere inside me there is a dark limbo where all the truly important memories are heaped and slowly turning into mud?...the thought fills me with an almost unbearable sorrow.”To which he adds, “Because Naoko never loved me.”“Norwegian Wood”The Beatles song features throughout the novel.It’s a favourite of Naoko’s and Reiko plays it frequently on her guitar.For much of the novel, the lyrics could describe Toru’s relationship with Naoko and his other love interest, Midori:“I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.”There is a sense of sadness in the sexual subject matter of this novel, almost as if it's been written in a minor key.Reiko sums up the Beatles pretty accurately, “Those guys sure knew something about the sadness of life,” she says, before adding, “and gentleness”, almost as an afterthought.She Never Loved MeI love all of this talk of love and longing and loss and loneliness and labyrinths (all the “L” words).Not everybody feels the same, though.You should have heard my wife, F.M. Sushi, when she noticed my tears and stole a look at what I was reading.“Why don’t these people just stop moaning and get a life. Can’t they just grow up, for chrissake. Everybody’s responsible for their own orgasm.”Then she flicked the book back at me across the room, adding defiantly (and defeating my prospects that night in one fell swoop), “Especially you.”I pick up the book, find my place and resume reading where I left off (page 10), equally defiantly, and aloud...“Because Naoko never loved me.”My wife turns her back on me as I snicker at her lack of understanding of my gentle side.Growing Up (How Strange the Change from Minor to Major)Still, a few hundred pages later, I am stunned by her prescience.Toru grows up in Murakami’s delicate hands.He has to stop dreaming, he has to live in the present, he has to embrace the now that is in front of him, he has to love the one he’s with. He has to distance himself from the past, so that it becomes just a lingering memory.Reiko tells him: “You’re all grown up now, so you have to take responsibility for your choices. Otherwise, you ruin everything.”Midori (who he has ummed and ahhed about) tells him:“, well, you’re special to me. When I’m with you I feel something is just right. I believe in you. I like you. I don’t want to let you go.”In the pouring rain, she reveals to Toru she has broken up with the boyfriend that has prevented her from committing to him.“Why?” he asks.“Are you crazy?” she screams. “You know the English subjunctive, you understand trigonometry, you can read Marx, and you don’t know the answer to something as simple as that?Then in a scene that could come straight out of "Casablanca", she says:“Drop the damn umbrella and wrap both your arms around me – hard!”How did F.M. Sushi know this would happen?That Toru would grow up and get a girl, not just any girl?That they would fall in love and not into a deep, dark well.Still I prefer Murakami’s way of telling the story.It always comes as a surprise the way he tells it, the change from minor to major.What would my wife know of these things?What I find mysterious, she finds obvious.When I find the harbour hard to fathom, she appears to walk on water.If you put her in a labyrinth, she would always find her way out.Whereas sometimes I prefer to hang around and enjoy the experience of being down in the rabbit hole. Mystified. Confused. Excited. At least for a little wile.Original Review: October 3, 2011Audio Recording of My ReviewBird Brian once initiated a Big Audio Project, where Good Readers record and publish their reviews. Unfortunately, BB deleted his page after the amazon acquisition of GR.My recording of this review was my first contribution. You can find it on SoundCloud here:

  • Yulia
    2019-06-09 14:48

    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)]? No, that can't be. Murakami deals with depression much more thoughtfully and insightfully in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The worst thing about this book's popularity is that it may be some readers' introduction to Murakami, which would very likely lead them to form a negative opinion of him and not care to explore his other works, which is just awful. This book should come with a warning: "Not recommended for pregnant women, may be carcinogenic, and not representative of Murakami's great genius."

  • Bel
    2019-06-12 12:43

    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 even more depressing 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 any more and 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.      

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2019-06-19 08:55

    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.

  • Jim Fonseca
    2019-06-05 08:47

    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

  • Connie
    2019-06-07 11:07

    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, the more drained 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 suddenly feel renewed...the world you thought was gloomy and gray is suddenly bright and new....and beautiful.....

  • Malbadeen
    2019-06-24 09:04

    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 perspective) more than 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!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kristin Myrtle
    2019-06-17 12:56

    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.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-06-18 16:12

    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 us. "The dead will always be dead, but we have to go on living."Such words are easier said than put into practice. Sometimes the dead carry so much of ourselves that living without them is not quite living anymore. 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 say more than 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 not more of 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.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-05-30 15:54

    ノルウェイの森 = Noruwei no mori = Norwegian wood (1987), Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood (ノルウェイの森 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 seems more than 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 spend more and more time 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 reveal more about 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.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و ششم ماه نوامبر سال 2014 میلادیعنوان: ‏‫جنگل نروژی؛ نویسنده: موراکامی، هاروکی، ‏‫1949 - م.‏‬؛ موضوع: داستان‌های نویسندگان ژاپنی -- قرن 20 ممترجم: مهدی غبرايی، تهران، کتاب نشر نیکا‏‫، 1392، در ‏‫400 ص؛ ‏‏شابک: 9786005906950؛ مترجم: معصومه نتاج عمرانی، نشر: تهران، نوای مکتوب‏‫، 1394، در ‏‫384 ص؛ ‏شابک: 9786009576005؛ کارگردانی تایوانی به نام «تران آن هونگ» با اقتباس از همین کتاب فیلم سینمایی ساختهآغاز داستان: سی و هفت 37 ساله بودم، آن وقت که توی صندلی ‌ام در هواپیمای بزرگ 747 در میان انبوهی از ابر که فرودگاه هامبورگ را پوشانده بود غوطه خوردم. باران سرد نوامبر زمین را خیسانده بود، همه چیز هوای غم ‌انگیز چشم ‌انداز فلیمیش (منطقه‌ای در شمال کشور بلژیک) را به عاریه گرفته بود: خدمه فرودگاه در بارانی‌هاشان، مه حلقه زده بر فراز ساختمان فرودگاه، یک بیلبورد تبلیغاتی بی ام و. پس... باز هم آلمان. پایان نقلا. شربیانی

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-06-27 13:49

    Question: How much Norwegian Wood would a Norwegian woodchuck chuck if a Norwegian woodchuck could chuck Norwegian Wood? Answer: The same amount as a Swedish woodchuck. So I read 160 pages of this novel. Then I hit a four-day Reader’s Block (also precipitated by problems in my personal life, but I’ll save those for Oprah) and read nothing. I called a librarian and explained the problem. She suggested I undergo an intense course of Murakami Avoidance Therapy (MAT), whereby I put down all Murakamis I am reading at that moment and read writers who are not Murakami. And you know what, I was cured! Those librarians know what they are talking about . . . even if they can’t string a sentence together. So I put Murakami down. It was a relief. Because those first 160 pages were so inconsequential and drab, so unremarkable and airy, I felt like I was walking through an airport terminal at 4AM on a Prozac-laden soporific in my slippers . . . walking towards the bookstore where Murakami’s Norwegian Wood sits on the bestseller list, to be read by people-too-busy-to-read-books who think this is the cutting edge of contemporary literature, and in translation too, so twice as chic and clever, despite nothing happening except a dull student who thinks he’s Holden Caulfield hanging out with a bland-but-mysterious possible lover, then a clichéd playboy who introduces him to casual sex, then another girl who almost shakes the novel back into life but no, zzzzzzzzzzzzz. And the translator sort of loves the phrase sort of . . . people are sort of people and kind of humans, but are more insert-faux-poetic-description here, or perhaps sort of human after all, no? So thanks, librarian! MAT has saved me from four more hours of mediocrity! Hug a librarian tomorrow!

  • Markus
    2019-06-14 12:10

    "Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything revolved around death."Welcome to Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami; a tale of a bunch of suicidal perverts in Japanese universities.No, honestly. This book is essentially about two things: sex and death. There are hidden meanings everywhere, but when you cut away that and go to the core, that’s what’s left. And my, does the book have a lot of sex. Weird forms of sex. And a lot of death. And not in a good way either.But it’s also a very powerful book. It doesn’t tell any grand and special story, but rather indulges in an exploration of the human mind, and the stories hidden in the ordinary pasts of the ordinary people around us. The writing is nothing special, but I somehow found it very captivating. There were times when I found it very difficult to stop.Part of what made the book stronger, was that the characters were so easy to relate to. All of them had aspects, positive as well as negative, that I could recognise in myself and those around me. My favourites were Nagasawa..."I may be a selfish bastard, but I'm incredibly cool about shit like that. I could be a Zen saint."and Naoko..."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."In the end, I don’t know what to say about this book. I liked it well enough at times. I hated it at times. I felt indifferent about it at times. If this book were representative of Murakami’s works, I would never read another by him. However, relax, Murakami fans. I know that it isn’t.Am I glad I read this book? Would I recommend it? The obvious answer that comes to mind for both questions is no. It can be very depressing, and actually took an emotional toll on me. And having finished, I am left without the feeling that this was a must-read book. It wasn’t particularly good, and it didn’t send an important message. But for some inexplicable reason, it was still worth reading. In a way.At least until the end. When I finished the book, I ended up wishing I had never read it. And I think I stand by that after some thinking. While it wasn’t the worst book I’ve read, I can honestly say that I hate it now. I know that many people love it, which is totally okay. But please respect that this book hit me in the gut with full force. It almost constantly switched between making me feel angry, sad, annoyed and disgusted. Little else.Other than that, we can’t always explain why we feel the way we do about something, books included. Sometimes it’s best to leave it behind, and move on."The dead will always be dead, but we have to go on living."

  • Lou
    2019-05-27 08:51

    This Story is on one side a story of misadventure and a melancholic exploration of adolescent love and another side a thought-provoking and poignant study of memory, morality and mortality. Murakami never disappoints and always writes with a poetic richness that leaves almost every line hanging with symbolic possibility, loved it! The main protagonist takes you back to the 1960s and his youthful goings on with his peers, his adventures are steamy so comes with adult warning! The story is set in thriving Tokyo and also shifts location to a relaxed mountainous retreat. You really get to love the characters that Murakami creates which I also felt with his other novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. To think that his works have been translated from Japanese into English and still hold a poetic and deeply thought-provoking quality is truly mesmerising stuff. It's by no means just a love story. This story is more about lived experiences, where his other novels have tones of supernatural and incorporated mind games. The book title if you are wondering is taken from a Beatles track 'Norwegian Wood' which is one of the novel's characters favourite songs.There is a movie adapted from this book which is worth checking out, that was what gave me the incentive to read this book during April instead of 'Kafka on the Shore' of which i was more eager to read before this title. Thanks to the movie release prompting me, turned out was one excellent story of Love and Loss. Considering I used same procedure 'read the book watch the movie' with a few other novels and was disappointed with books like 'Let the right one in' 'Girl who played with fire' 'Never let me go' and 'Rosemary's baby' theres still hope for watching the movie adaptations of these titles, now I need to find time to watch these movies.Review also here on my webpage

  • Rajat Ubhaykar
    2019-06-17 15:08

    “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. That's why Reiko never plays it unless I request it.”- Naoko about Norwegian Wood “It makes me feel like I'm in a big meadow in a soft rain.” - Naoko about Michelle.“Thinking back on the year 1969, all that comes to mind for me is a swamp - a deep, sticky bog that feels as if it's going to suck off my shoe each time I take a step. I walk through the mud, exhausted.In front of me, behind me, I can see nothing but the endless darkness of a swamp. Time itself slogged along in rhythm with my faltering steps. The people around me had gone on ahead long before, while my time and I hung back, struggling through the mud. The world around me was on the verge of great transformations. Death had already taken John Coltrane who was joined now by so many others. People screamed there would be revolutionary changes- which always seemed to be just ahead, at the curve in the road. But the changes that came were just two-dimensional stage sets, backdrops without substance or meaning.I trudged along through each day in its turn, rarely looking up, eyes locked on the never-ending swamp that lay before me, planting my right foot, raising my left, planting my left foot, raising my right, never sure where I was, never sure I was headed in the right direction, knowing only that I had to keep moving, one step at a time.”I'd been waiting for a book like this all my life. A book which holds my hand and takes me to a special place. I don't know who I am in that place, I only remember what I felt. This is it.They caressed an intimate part of my soul, those idyllic summer afternoons in college spent listening to Rubber Soul with a battered book in hand. I was happy to be exactly where I was. I had nothing to do and nowhere to be. I could have lain there and listened to the opening strains of Girl again and again. Like McCartney, I just needed someone to hear my story. I was very glad to be lost; in conversation, in reflection, in anything which catalyzed and spurred on my natural instinct to dream. I felt like a child who has wandered away after school and has no intention of going home until he has seen some unfamiliar parts of the city. A little part of me was in a crowded street lined with colourful stalls selling delicious food. Another part of me was on a crowded bus looking at adults going about their business and feeling grown up. The world was full of endless possibilities, all of them in parallel realities, comfortably within the reach of my invincible spirit . I was delightfully disoriented, my mind continually wandering, pausing to reflect on women, to the finer aspects of Paul's bass playing, then moving on to the futile task of figuring out my favourite Beatles album.I was walking down a long corridor of white doors with oak shelves of thoughts and bouquets. I opened one door and found myself in a row of ebony doors, which glistened in the light like someone had splashed water on it and then wiped the floor beneath it clean. I was bewildered to see that there was no way out of this corridor. I went on opening doors, making my way through endless corridors until I reached a corridor with a grey stone wall which stared back at me. The wall dissolved into a girl who had pleaded togetherness through teary eyes. It turned into her fingers brushing against my cheek for the last time, into her lingering scent on my clothes. Then I opened my eyes and the wall reappeared. I trudged along the edge, scratching the wall with my fingernails aching for the white door, but all I found was the wall whose austere intensity asked me to stop all further advances. I craned my neck to see where the wall ended and found a photo of George looking down at me. In my head, Here Comes The Sun started playing. Another song, another trip. On many a cool winter morning, I'd woken up, looked at my sun-tinted window pane and played this song, urged by habit and George's gentle crooning. He was telling me to go and look at that magnificent sun. And so I did. I let that guitar strumming do what it does best, unclog my mind of everything trivially distressing. What remained was the unmistakeable feeling of happiness waiting for me around the bend. It's all right. It's all right.I had opened my doors to unspeakable things and a jungle awaited me on the other side. I didn't know whether I should get into the fray or let my way take it's final form. I thought I had it; the knowledge of knowing what I was doing.Those warm afternoons and cool mornings are a bittersweet Beatlesque void in my mind. I ache for that time now and then. Norwegian Wood has the gentleness which comes close to filling that void. The book doesn't fix a fist down the void and widen it. It fills it with honey, enough honey to warm my soul and send sugary shivers of nostalgia down my spine. It affords me one more look through the good ol' retroscope.This is a book which revels in the past, wallows in the past, afraid to move, trudges along the present dragging its feet on the road making a sound like the languid echoes of Death's footsteps. This is a book about how Death and your past are not beyond your life, they are part of your life. They are part of who you are.It is pervaded by a spirit of adolescent alienation. You know, that strange unshakeable belief that takes over us at some point in our lives. A voice which whispers to us our deepest fears, that we are vastly different from the rest of the world, that they don't understand who we are and that it's only our fault it is this way. But the tone of the book is not angry or bitter. On the other hand, it's a gentle celebration of this aloofness. It makes you want to feel the intense emotions the characters experience; with dignity.It's about how close friendships influence our lives, whether you like it or not. At the same time it speaks of a spiritual solitude in us. We have to battle our inner demons at all times and places. No one else can know what's on our mind. We can only hope to touch someone else's life and change it in ways we're unaware of. It tells us that we are players who meet each other at the football field for a game. At times we kick the ball around for a while, laugh heartily among ourselves and leave the field, slapping each others' backs. Sometimes, we accuse each other of unfair play and forget it was just a game.And all those girls. How can I forget them? Girls who were overcome by the grossness of reality. Girls who weren't strong enough. Girls who didn't want to be strong. Girls who wanted love. Love they thought they deserved, love they didn't know they needed. Girls who shouted when they were angry. Girls who wept in the bathroom under the shower.The simply seductive prose of the book calls for a sensory reading. A reading that is suspiciously like dreaming, as you are transported to a time and place that is unknown, yet intimate.

  • j
    2019-06-15 10:56

    This is apparently the Murakami book that "everyone" in Japan has read, and disaffected protagonist Toru Watanabe is apparently a Holden Caulfield-esque figure for a lot of Japanese youth. To me, though, the book less reflects Catcher in the Rye than it predicts Zach Braff's Garden State, an ode to a time in life when the big choices seem so big that you don't end up making them at all, and find yourself instead drawn to the safety and comfort of nostalgia and memory.Though it's set in Japan, and the late '60s, it has a universal emotional current that doesn't feel dated one bit. It's darkly emotional but also surprisingly sexy and funny. Toru is the signature Murakami protagonist, just a few years younger than we're used to seeing him, and the women are given more presence and substance than they were allowed in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, even if they are all a little too eager to jump into bed with Toru, who kind of seems like a loser. That's even if, and here's really what solidified the connection to Garden State in my mind, Midori, who is a fabulously entertaining character, is also basically a stock manic pixie dream girl, with all the associated hangups and quirks and buried secrets. It works better on the page, since I never wanted to punch her in the face for doing hot dog dances or going on and on about The Shins.I really wish I'd read this in college, just like I really wish I'd read Catcher in high school, but I still think it plays at any age.

  • Sophia.
    2019-05-28 11:49

    Turns out I can't find a SINGLE fuck to give. It takes forever to start, the characters are bland and absolutely unrealistic, they don't sound real, the sex is so unhealthy and weird and awkward, the narrator is pretentious as fuck, the dialogues are painful, and the plot -- huh, wait, there's no plot.So yeah. Big, fat DNF.

  • Adam Dalva
    2019-06-16 11:43

    I revisited Norwegian Wood remembering nothing about my Sophomore year experience with it, nothing except that I loved it. And I can see why: the plot is propulsive, with Murakami’s kinetic prose once again keeping me up late; the lead character is a well-realized loner archetype; the world, 1960s Japan during the student protests, glimmers in the background. There are excellent long-sequences (hospital visit, fire, sanatorium) It is salacious and often funny, well-observed:“The second feature was a fairly normal sex flick, which meant it was even more boring than the first. It had lots of oral sex scenes, and every time they started doing fellatio or cunnilingus or sixty-nine the soundtrack would fill the theater with loud sucking or slurping sound effects. Listening to them, I felt strangely moved to think that I was living out my life on this odd planet of ours.” And yet, things gave me pause. The book is set in the past, yes, but the rape humor (several jokes), the shocking scene of lesbian pedophilia (which is as bizarre and creepy a sequence I can remember reading (more on that in a second)), the way every female character in the book is a sex object, and the extremely rare trio of Magic Pixie Dream Girl characters, all of it vexed me. I do not hold this against Murakami, necessarily—he wrote it in the 80’s, and the book is about sex—but the gender issues keep me from giving this book my full endorsement. What this says about me, age-19, I’m not too fond of.As ever with Murakami, the western canon’s influence is fascinating. Toru, the lead, reads Magic Mountain while visiting a sanatorium; he makes friends by talking about The Great Gatsby; he spends a late-night reading Hermann Hesse; most pertinently to the plot, he is a lover of John Updike, particularly The Centaur. There’s a good running joke in the undercurrent of the novel – everyone except Toru is reading and loving Kenzaburo Oe.SPOILERS, BIG SPOILERS: (view spoiler)[The resolution of the plot bugged me. This is a book w/ too many suicides (three!), and the ending is very frustrating. There’s a fan theory that makes a lot of sense that suggests that Reiko – the woman who tells the pedophilia story – is a liar, and that the letter Toru sends her is used to convince Naoko to kill herself. The one bit of Murakami magic realism in the story comes at the ending—it is little written about in online synopses, but Midori’s final question (where are you now?) doesn’t leave Toru confused. He is stunned, because he is where Midori’s father said he would be on his deathbed, the specific train station that will bring him to Midori. This is nice, and can be read as further support of the theory that Reiko pushed them together. Great, cool! And yet, though all this makes sense, it is too far beneath the surface to be fact, and so for me it is a what-might-have-been, not a clever burial of plot. It would be like if Vertigo ended 30 minutes early: you have to show a bit of the work to get credit. (hide spoiler)]

  • Kedar
    2019-06-01 10:01

    The Beginning heralds the end. The End initiates a beginning. In between lies a cycle. A cycle where words rain, feelings gush like a river towards the ocean called life, and the ocean hides the abyss of uncertainty. You just sway along this journey, along with Murakami."Here comes the sun, and I say It's all right"Sometimes when you are sitting in peace, ensconced in the metaphorical warmth of a house and you hear the clock chime, making you realize that the time is running fast. It saddens you and sends a disturbing ripple on the lake of peace. Events. Murakami is a master horologist."And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flownSo I lit a fire, isn't it good, norwegian wood."Ever get a feeling that someone has tapped into your thoughts by sending a probe in your mind? Dr. Murakami specializes in this. He evaluates your questions, analyzes your thoughts and dynamically modifies his words to answer some of the questions, at the same time planting some more. Making you stop and think."I'll get to you somehowUntil I do I'm telling you so you'll understand"Who is Toru Watanabe? To me, he felt like a mid way between the protagonist of Camus' Outsider and Holden Scholfield."But the fool on the hill,Sees the sun going down,And the eyes in his head,See the world spinning 'round."There is a surreal feeling hinting at an underlining, hidden meaning or information whenever Murakami explains or describes even the mundane things. The characters are fully developed representations of life and it's meanings. Watanabe (a paper boat on the water, Kizuki and Naoko's link to the outside world, observer, listener), Kizuki (conversationalist, gregarious within a closed circle), Naoko (perfect companion, uncertain, devoted), Hatsumi (patience, dedication), Nagasawa (flamboyance), Reiko (experience), The Ami Hostel (a world within world where accepting yourself makes you fit in, where reality is identified with in a much better sense than the real world), Midori (style, innocent naughtiness, pragmatic), Midori's Dad (a man burdened by the system), Storm Trooper (the scape goat)... Everyone represents some part of the human behavior or trait or characteristic. They aren't just characters. But then to quote from the book:"I can't tell whether this kind of analysis is trying to simplify the world or complicate it.""People are strange, when you're a stranger."Nagasawa is Tyler Durden. You do not talk about..."Neither of us is interested, essentially, in anything but ourselves. OK, so I'm arrogant and he's not, but neither of us is able to feel any interest in anything other than what we ourselves think or feel or do. That's why we can think about things in a way that's totally divorced from anybody else. That's what I like about him. The only difference is that he hasn't realized this about himself, and so he hesitates and feels hurt.""All the lonely peopleWhere do they all come from?All the lonely peopleWhere do they all belong?"You tend to lose your way in the dialogues. Where induced feelings and your own feelings seem to resonate. Beautiful articulation of words and meanings. The way fine whiskey dissolves your blurry past and sharpens the most heartfelt memories."Suddenly, I'm not half to man I used to be,There's a shadow hanging over me.Oh, yesterday came suddenly."Sometimes within all the mundane stuff comes a hard hitting line. Hard hitting and deeply poignant. Makes you go back and read it again. Just to realize the gravity of the meaning. Leaves you cold."For well you know that it's a fool who plays it coolBy making his world a little colder""So, if you understand me better, what then?" Is this book a commentary on how we look at things around us, try to understand some, understand few of the some, try to adapt, but eventually throw the towel and move on? Never trying to simplify us, our intentions, our motives, or our feelings? Like I just have used the words "intention" and "motives" without really trying to fathom the difference between them. Always inclined towards a complexity that hides and cozily blankets our insecurities and fallacies?"Send me a postcard, drop me a line,Stating point of view.Indicate precisely what you mean to sayYours sincerely, Wasting Away."Love. Love is something where reason stops."Even a rat will choose the least painful route if you shock him enough""But rats don't fall in love."-I have cited some verses from the Beatles' songs (One of them Doors) mentioned in the book. They form the real review. My words are just fillers.

  • Jr Bacdayan
    2019-06-02 09:52

    Pain is a feeling both sobering and intoxicating at the same time. Its initial shock jolts and slaps you demanding to be acknowledged, while its continued presence inebriates you, transforms your world into a haze where nothing but it exists, rendering you incapable of all basic function. It’s a slow bleed, nevertheless a devastating experience make no mistake. It takes hold of the best of us, the weakest, it doesn’t discriminate, from the most beautiful, to the most scarred, quietly lurking in the background with its cloak of darkness ready to enshroud its next victim unaware. Sadly for Naoko, Kizuki, and Toru, this phantom enveloped them at such an early stage in their lives suffocating their already fragile transition to adulthood, well, that’s for those of them who were able to reach that stage.Norwegian Wood is a story of people broken by pain. Toru, the last of the three friends untouched by this excruciating darkness, is clinging on to Naoko who has one foot out the door drifting slowly to oblivion. He is a boy-man smitten with this still girl so closely in tune with her death. But how does someone love another who has barely any self to love? Does one love the shell or the memories of who she used to be? Facing this predicament he meets Midori, a troubled yet upbeat girl desperately clinging to life using her bright personality, and finds himself somehow drawn to her. And so he is confronted with the dilemma of choosing between the lifeless girl he loves and the tough yet struggling girl he is drawn to.Of all Haruki Murakami’s novels, this is by far the most popular. He says it surprised him when this small book catapulted his fame to extreme heights in Japan. It doesn’t surprise me. Murakami’s style often makes use of the absurd or the surreal, from talking cats, to fast food mascot-ghosts, to dream states, however in this case he doesn’t resort to his usually weird bag of tricks but rather highlights the human condition of depression, alienation, and loneliness as if to say, this is already too absurd, this is surreal enough. Human beings and the abnormal depth of their mental-emotional abyss is the strange and dark canvas he opts to work with in probably his most relatable work.There is nothing more hopeless than romantic love trying to blossom in the backdrop of a surrendered soul. Often, it gets snuffed like a small flame with nothing but a vanishing wisp of smoke to remember it by. Because in order to be able to engage in romantic love, there is a degree of selfishness required that can’t be found in someone who has basically given up on oneself. As with anything there needs to be a desire for it to happen. Loneliness, alienation, depression these are all things that can push someone to look for comfort in another, and it is often the obvious answer most people can conceive. However for some, they stare too deep into the void and their desires all fade, they become lifeless bodies, mere containers with nothing inside, and everything else is just noise, even an outpour of intense romantic emotion. What then is the answer? There is no answer. Sometimes there is no hope, because life is unfair, because life is sorrowful, because life is surreal.Sometimes we lose, even when we try so desperately to hold on.“Clutching these faded, fading, imperfect memories to my breast, I go on writing this book with all the desperate intensity of a starving man sucking on bones.”This is a story filled with melancholy, with pain, with regret, and some short bursts of fleeting romance. Does feeling the warmth of small doses of sunshine make it worth enduring a dark storm? Yes, probably, maybe, hopefully.In our short time we accumulate scars, we cry from pain, we mourn, we get lost, and maybe we heal. People say it makes us stronger, however sometimes it doesn’t. Occasionally it weakens us permanently, paralyzes us for good, or sadly, it breaks us. But even the damaged can remember, even the broken can hope no matter how weak. Looking back we cherish the memories even if they hurt, and looking forward, we hope things get better even when things seem hopeless.Remember. Hope.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-05-31 13:12

    I’m late to the Murakami party, but I’m glad I arrived. People here seem to be enjoying themselves, passing his books around enthusiastically while ordering many rounds of sake and Japanese beer and nibbling on cucumber with nori and soy sauce. I think I’ll stay a while.Last year I read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – his book on long-distance running - and quite enjoyed it. But this is the first book of his fiction I’ve read. I hear it’s atypical Murakami: no magic realism, no noir.What a strange book this is, comprised of simple, unshowy sentences, lots of muted emotions and understatement. It took a while to work its magic on my mind and imagination, but it eventually did. He plants symbols: a forest, a well. The melancholy Beatles song, a fave of some of the characters, kept going through my head as I read. Youth suicide seems to be a major theme. So is the nature of love and friendship. There are erotic and sensual passages.Gradually, oh so gradually, the book began to affect me. It’s all about memory, moody atmosphere, accepting things you can do nothing about but trying to learn from one’s mistakes. It’s about enjoying the view.There’s a mournful, elegiac feel to it, right from the beginning, when the 37-year-old writer, Toru (the book feels autobiographical but I don’t think it is) looks back on his intense relationship 20 years earlier with his friend Naoko.For a long time, Naoko, Toru and Kizuki were inseparable, and then Kizuki (view spoiler)[died. Toru was the last person to see him alive. Naoko checks herself into a facility, and Toru visits her and her friend Reiko there. (hide spoiler)]Reiko’s story – one of many powerful multi-page monologues – will break your heart. Toru also takes a shine to his fellow student Midori, a high-spirited woman who’s got her own problems but a much different approach to them. She provides a boisterous, life-affirming contrast to the rather glum Naoko. And then there’s Toru’s womanizing friend Nagasawa. One of the most poignant sections in the book concerns Nagasawa’s girlfriend Hatsumi. (view spoiler)[Toru informs us of her suicide, and then we go back to see a scene between Hatsumi and Toru that, in retrospect, is terribly moving. (hide spoiler)]In fact, Murakami plays with chronology a lot, and I think it’s this structure, this gradual accretion of details, that has a cumulative emotional effect. I came to admire Toru, too, for his truthfulness. He’s a little hard to read – kind of like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, a book he loves – but he’s got a code of honour. He never lies. He tries to do what’s right, even when he feels powerless.I’m not sure if his obsession with Western things is typical of a Murakami protagonist: there are references to Mike Nichols’s The Graduate, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, songs by the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Oh yeah, the book is set in the late 60s and early 70s, when the cultural shifts occurring in the West must have seemed liberating.I was surprised with how little Japanese culture itself is referenced. But it’s telling that this was Murakami’s monster breakthrough book in his own country. Clearly, it’s connected with people around the world, too. Finding your voice, discovering your vocation, surviving death and unrequited love: post-adolescent angst is common wherever you are.

  • Samadrita
    2019-06-25 10:49

    Sadness is indeed a very complicated emotion. It has the uncanny ability of dissolving the edges of reality surrounding you and immersing you completely in an alternate world, where only you and that feeling exist together in complete harmony. And nothing else matters. You luxuriate in the richness of its beauty and marvel at the tranquility it offers you.Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood evokes exactly similar kind of emotions in the reader.There are some books you read, which leave you with stories-bitter, exciting, adrenaline-driven, romantic, depressing or grisly. And then there are books which leave you with feelings. Norwegian Wood, most definitely, belongs to the second category.And in my opinion, it is infinitely easier to deconstruct a story in a review rather than the feeling it leaves you with. But here's an attempt anyway.This is a beautifully crafted, sombre but incredibly sensual tale of unfulfilled love where the central characters are, in all essence, broken individuals.In a most indolent manner, the book begins with our narrator Toru Watanabe, catching the strains of an orchestral version of The Beatles' 'Norwegian wood' on a flight to Hamburg and beginning to reminisce about a certain girl named Naoko, from the days of his youth in Tokyo. From hereon, the story is told as a flashback, as a sliver of memory that the 37-year old Toru has carefully preserved or perhaps is struggling not to forget.Majorly the story revolves around the trials and tribulations of the 3 key characters - Toru, Naoko and Midori.Toru, a reserved young college student, is shown to be somewhat anti-social, not quite opening up to others as easily as others open up to him. There is a sense of profound sadness about him hidden skilfully under a veneer of indifference, probably arising out of the loss of his childhood friend Kizuki, who committed suicide at 17. While Naoko, Kizuki's first and only girlfriend, is a beautiful and emotionally fragile being who has been unable to grapple with the tragedy of Kizuki's untimely death. Still in mourning, bound by a mutual feeling of isolation, Toru and Naoko, forge an unnatural connection of sorts, when they cross each other's paths years later in Tokyo. Toru falls in love right away and even she feels something love-like for him, but sadly enough it is not enough to heal them both. Soon the emotionally unstable Naoko recedes to a sanatorium in mountainous Kyoto while Toru tries to continue with his life as an unremarkable university student, seeking comfort in sleeping with random women. In Naoko's continued absence from his life, he makes friends with the bright, sassy, sexually liberated Midori Kobayashi, who has had her fair share of tragedies too but still manages to be optimistic. An unlikely friendship with Midori, helps dissipate some of the darkness in Toru's life but he is still unable to get Naoko off his mind and keeps writing her letters irrespective of whether she sends a reply or not. The rest of the book details Toru's dilemma as he is torn between these two women, never too sure of whether to shun his troubled past and embrace reality as it comes or keep waiting for Naoko to fully recover from her festering psychological wounds.Written in a lucid language, the book is full of metaphors usually represented by the description of natural scenery. Murakami's obsession with western classics and music is reflected in the countless references to Beatles numbers like "Yesterday", "Michelle", "Something", Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti and literary works of Joseph Conrad, Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx and so on.The brief overview of the plot does not, in any way, do justice to the story. For a book like Norwegian Wood cannot be summarized.It is about human relationships which cannot be given a name or a clear definition. It is about the ghastly spectre of death and the way the people who are no longer with us, sometimes leave us in a permanent state of damage. It is about friendship and love and sexuality. And most important of all, it is about sadness. In its cruelest yet most beautiful form. The inherent dreariness of the book gets to you at some point or the other, but Murakami's compelling story-telling ways, make sure you keep reading till the very end.

  • Ahmed Oraby
    2019-06-26 09:00

    ممم... حسنالرواية جيدة، لكن.إذا كنت تبحث عن كافكا أخرى هاهنا، فيسعدني أن أخيب ظنك، فصدقًا، كافكا لا تعوض ولا تماثل أبدًابجنونها، بفلسفتها، بفانتازيتها، بفحشها وبذائتها، بعبقريتها بكل شيءلكن، يظل موراكامي كما هو، مجنون عبقريروايته تلك لطيفة، لن أقول بأنها استثنائية، لكنها جيدة، كنت متحيرًا في أثناء اقترابي من نهايتها في التقييم المناسب لها، وكنت قد استقريت على نجمتين أو ثلاثة على الأكثر، لكونها مجرد قصة، عادية، مليئة بالفحش والبذاءة والقبح لا أكثر، لكن صدقًا، آخر ثلاثون صفحة منها، حرفيًا، قلبت رأيي في الرواية رأسا على عقبحين يموت أحد أحباؤنا، نظن أننا انتهينا، وبأننا قد غيبنا عن الزمن والوجود، وبأننا قد فقدنا كل قيمة وجدوى لهذه الحياة، وهذا صحيح، لكننا نخطئ حين نظن بأن هذا هو نهاية المطافنحن أحياء، من لحم ودم، وعلينا التمتع بحياتنا - القصيرة تلك - على قدر الإمكان، علينا أن نؤمن بقيمة عمرنا هذا، وألا نترك أنفسنا للزمن يطوح بنا هنا وهناك، علينا أن نستثمر حياتنا في شيء ما، وألا نقف في منتصف الطريق يائسين ساكتين مستسلمين، الحياة صعبة، ولكن الأصعب منها أن نموت حين نكون ما زلنا نتنفس الهواءهذا ما وجدته واستخلصته من تلك الرواية، بغض النظر عن أي اعتبارات أخرىرواية جيدة، وأعتقد أني قرأتها في وقتهاقرأتها مع هدى، فلها الشكر

  • Algernon
    2019-06-05 10:56

    I straightened up and looked out the plane window at the dark clouds hanging over the North Sea, thinking of what I had lost in the course of my life: times gone forever, friends who had died or disappeared, feelings I would never know again. I almost stopped reading after this maudlin and downbeat opening passage. There are doors that I have kept closed for years, memories of my own I thought are better left alone there, regrets and lost connections with people that were at one time the most important presences in my life. When I read about Toru Watanabe’s walk in the meadow, all I could picture was myself at 20, up above the treeline in the mountains with the girl I was in love with at the time, drunk on summer sunshine and deafened by the song of the cicadas in the high grass. I put the book down and spend the next hour trying to remember all the details of that day. They are mostly gone. I wish now I had written it down, like Murakami tried to do here. Where could we have disappeared to? How could such a thing have happened? Everything that seemed so important back then – Naoko, and the self I was then, and the world I had then: where could they have all gone? […] Which is why I am writing this book. To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them. I’ve noticed mixed reactions from the readers regarding this novel. Some complain that it is atypical, too conventional and lacking the daring, the weirdness and the depth of other works by him. Others give the highest rating. I am in the second category, mostly for the way the experiences of Watanabe bring forward and shine a light on similar moments from a youth more focused on having fun than on trying to understand life and relationships.Murakami makes it easier for the reader to recognize himself in Watanabe :I was just an ordinary kid who liked to read books and listen to music and didn’t stand out in any way that would prompt someone like Kizuki to pay attention to me. I think it will be hard to find somebody who doesn’t like to read books (at least here on Goodreads) or to listen to music. Or who didn’t walk for hours on the street of a big city without any other purpose than to absorb the sights, the smells, the faces of the people around you. Or who doesn’t look back with nostalgia on his school days, where friendships came so easy to us, when we could afford to be careless about the people around us. Anyway, I found Tore Watanabe easy to relate to and this made it easier for me to ignore some of the less convincing aspects of his character, like his political apathy or his social success despite his self-confessed introvert nature, not to mention his slightly promiscuous sexual emancipation.Watanabe is the central character, and the story revolves around his emotional growing up, his learning to accept responsibility for his actions and his ability to deal with loss and rejection. The first loss that marks Toru is the suicide of Kizuki – his best friend from highschool, an event he deals with mostly by moving away and bottling up his emotions. When he moves to Tokyo to continue his studies at a higher level, he seems both self-assured and rudderless. Two contradictory character traits that illustrate his above average intelligence and his lack of ambition or passion for any particular subject. He is content to drift along and let events happen to him.Soon though, he gets reunited with Kizuki’s emotionally fragile girlfriend, Naoko, and they start going out in a casual way. Toru also befriends another very intelligent boy from university, Nagasawa, his exact opposite in terms of ambition and motivation. They share a passion for books and for casual sex with girls they pick up in bars. Later additions to the cast include a non-conformist and exuberant girl in Toru’s drama class and an elderly lady musician with psychological issues, Reiko Ishida.Since Toru Watanabe is kind of bland and generic as a main character, most of the charm, the tension and the change in the novel are provided by these secondary characters and the impact they have on Toru’s emotional development.Naoko is sensitive and vulnerable, definitely marked by the people around her who committed suicide, unable to adapt to the realities of the world. She lost both a sister and her boyfriend Kizuki, and now she is half eager, half afraid of starting a relationship with Toru. She knows she has psychological problems and checks herself into a mountain retreat. I may not find her morbid tendencies very appealing or easy to relate to, but her letters and her conversation are very convincing: Ordinary girls as young as I am are basically indifferent to whether things are fair or not. The central question for them is not whether something is fair but whether or not it’s beautiful or will make them happy. Fair is a man’s word, finally, but I can’t help feeling it’s also exactly the right word for me now. And because questions of beauty and happiness have become such difficult and convoluted propositions for me now, I suspect, I find myself clinging instead to other standards – like, whether or not something is fair or honest or universally true.Her influence on Toru is subtle yet powerful, as he tries to love her for what she is (“Why do you like weird people?” / “I don’t see you as weird!”), accepting that all of us are damaged to one degree or another, and that we need somebody beside us to ‘help us make it through the night’. Toru calls his daily struggle to keep living his ‘winding up the spring’, a reiteration of the theme from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, while Naoko uses the metaphor of the well at the bottom of the garden as the illustration of her fears, another theme used in TWUBC. Other recurring themes that I have come to recognize as Murakami’s signature touches are his love of music, of cooking, of books and of time spent alone, I think there are a couple of cats also somewhere in the text. The conversations between Toru and Naoko capture perfectly the sudden enthusiasms of youth, followed by moody silences and retreats into the inner self and sometimes by philosophical musings well ahead of their age: “- So if you understand me better, what then?- You don’t get it, do you? I said. It’s not a question of ‘what then’. Some people get a kick out of reading railroad timetables and that’s all they do all day. Some people make huge model boats out of matchsticks. So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?- Kind of like a hobby? She said, amused.- Sure, I guess you could call it a hobby. Most normal people would call it friendship or love or something, but if you want to call it a hobby, that’s OK, too.” Up until now the plot develops into the romance of two young people trying to get together. Complications arise when Toru falls under the spell of Midori Kobayashi, the temperamental opposite of the introverted Naoko. Midori is outspoken and reckless and flouting conventions (“Midori said she wanted to climb a tree, but unfortunately there were no climbable trees in Shinjuku.”) The reader, and Toru, can’t help being charmed by her vivacity and curiosity and even the slight hint of danger she confers on every encounter. With the novel being placed in 1968, the year students all around the world demonstrated against the establishment, it was easy for me to see her as a flower power child, especially after she declares: “I’m not going to believe in any damned revolution. Love is all I’m going to believe in.” As we get to know her better, we learn that Midori has her own struggles with death in her family and shallow relationships. She sometimes lies to cover her vulnerabilities, but overall she is a brave soldier who refuses to take the easy way out (that damn suicide fascination so many people in the novel manifest). My favourite quote from her is an echo from the movie Forest Gump, another example of a story that some people find fascinating while others find corny and contrived, just like Norwegian Wood: You know how they’ve got these cookie assortments, and you like some but you don’t like others? And you eat up all the ones you like, and the only ones left are the ones you don’t like so much? I always think about that when something painful comes up. ‘Now I just have to polish these off, and everything will be OK’. Life is a box of cookies. One of my issues with the novel is that I liked both of Toru’s love interests, and every time he went with Naoko I was sorry for Midori, when he came back to Midori I felt sorry for Naoko. The boy faces a difficult decision (view spoiler)[ and Murakami made quite angry when he chose to kill off one of the girls in order to free his protagonist for the other one. And speaking of spoilers, I thought the final sex scene with the older lady for totally gratuitous. Well written and argued, but unnecessary.(hide spoiler)]The most annoying character in the book is the smart, but selfish Nagasawa. I might have disliked him most because I felt guilty of some of the same attitudes in my youth: focused on keeping my freedom and my options open in relationships, arrogant about the books I’ve read and about good results in exams, careless of the feeling of others. Nagasawa is particularly cruel to his girlfriend Hatsumi, who puts up with all his infidelities and his lack of commitment. One quote from this boy illustrates best his attitude. It starts good, but then reveals his elitist and disdainful core: If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. That’s the world of hicks and slobs. or, “Don’t be sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.” Until now I’ve presented all the young actors in this character driven drama. The exception is Reiko Ishida, a lady battling her own personal demons in the mountain sanatorium where she becomes the best friend of Naoko. Her own story arc is one of the best rendered sections of the novel, probably because she has a better grasp on her feelings and of her goals that the still seeking youths. She gives me the closing quotes of my review, the kernels of wisdom that Toru gets to keep after all his emotional journey, and she also gives me the soundtrack list for the novel, always a major feature in a Murakami novel, setting the mood and anchoring the story in the pop culture of its period. So here’s what Midori has to say to urge us to embrace life in all its beauty and pain: “Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life.” and, “All of us (by which I mean ‘all’ of us, both normal and not-so-normal) are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world. We don’t live with the mechanical precision of a bank account or by measuring our lines and angles with rulers and protractors.” The musical score focuses extensively on the Beatles songbook, with the title song referring to the fleeting nature of young love and later songs to a sense of loss or solitude, like Eleanor Rigby or The Fool on the Hill, all sung by Reiko on her guitar. Other tracks include:- Burt Bacharach – “Close to You” (with Karen Carpenter being my fav version)- “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (remember Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid?)- Jim Morrison “People are strange when you’re a stranger” (very appropriate in this context)- “Walk On By” (this one was in Valley of the Dolls)- Laura Nyro – “Wedding Bell Blues” (don’t know it, must check it out)- Ravel, Debussy, several bossa novas, Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Carole King, The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, - Kyu Sakamoto – “Sukiyaki Song” (must check it out)- “Blue Velvet” (this one I know from the David Lynch movie) - “Green Fields” ( I think I prefer Loreena McKennitt version)- Not in the book, but my own submission as a good choice for Midori theme songs: Melanie with her 25th Anniversary album.

  • Cory
    2019-06-10 12:52

    Goddammit. I really wanted to hate this book. There's so much about it that I abhor, but I can't bring myself to give it less than three stars.Sometimes, I joke with my sister that she needs to expand her character repertoire. Usually, her stories feature a nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boy who's hopelessly in love with a girl, usually a manic pixie, who'll never have him. That boy spends most of his time staring at the girl, wondering if she likes another guy, complaining about how she treats him like a child, and writing voyeuristic stories on his computer about said girl.As I read Haruki Murakami's most popular work -- Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore -- I am forced to come to the conclusion that his stories are exactly like the stories that the nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boy would write whenever he wasn't staring at his manic pixie. Murakami's characters wish they could be Holden Caulfield, but for them, that's a hefty aspiration. No, Murakami's protagonists -- if you can even call them protagonists -- are borderline self-inserts, almost akin to the male leads in those horrid bro-comedies, written for nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boys -- and nerdy, lonely, odd men.Before you dismiss my criticisms, lets take a moment to think about this. What female characters can you relate to in his novels? They aren't actually characters. They're meant to force our so-called protagonist through his arc, often through eye-roll worthy sex-scenes that these nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boys wish they could have. And, mind you, these protagonists don't just have regular sex -- they have mind blowing sex. And they don't just have it with one girl -- they have it with multiple girls, who all praise his sexual prowess.These girls don't develop past their base stereotypes -- stereotypes typically found in any popular manga. Like Naruto. Or Clannad. Hinata, Sakura, Ino, Ryou, Nagisa, Naoko, Midori, Reiko, whatever.But these nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boys are too pretentious for manga. Therefor, they need their literary novels, strife with plotless melodrama, navel-gazing, and lots of sex with luke-warm females.Please don't tell me that I don't get the brilliance behind Murakami's words. I've read Salinger, Maugham, and Fitzgerald. They do it better. They don't write self-inserts for their audience. And while their female characters are occasionally woe-fully underdeveloped, they don't worship the protagonist of their respective novels. As a female, I wonder what these women see in Murakami's males. They're nothing more than the Japanese version of the manic pixie. But then I remember that these females are just kuunderes and tsunderes -- nothing I haven't seen in any slice of life manga filled with nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boys who stare wistfully into the sky while cherry blossoms fall upon their silvery, wispy hair.In fact, if you're a fan of this novel, I'd like to introduce you to Makoto Shinkai. He's a director with a style akin to Hayao Myazaki and a pen that lacks his talent. His characters stare at each other and wax emo poetry, akin to what you'd find on deviantart, in voiceover while pretty pictures float over the screen. That is how I felt while I was reading this novel. The prose is quite good, but the story, plot, and characterization fall short on every mark.What exactly was the purpose of this novel?Contrary to popular belief, The Catcher in the Rye has a purpose. I'm lost at the comparisons between Holden and Toru. Holden's little brother died from cancer a few years prior to the novel's opening. I think that's enough to justify his angst, considering that during that time period, his death was probably more painful than it would be in present day. If you've read the misery-porn that is My Sister's Keeper, you'll have an idea of how cancer effects fictional characters.Toru's best friend committed suicide. I'll give his depression a pass. That's about it. His countless sexploits honestly made me want to introduce him to Anita Blake. They'd have fun together.And yes, I know there are guys who attract multiple women and have various sexual relationships. Toru's sex life, however, was not presented in a realistic light. It was voyeuristic. I did not know why these women liked him and, more importantly, why they deemed him a sex god.If you're wondering why so much of this review is devoted to sex -- here's the answer -- the novel is equally devoted to sex. Sex, death, loneliness, depression, and extreme oddities that even James Joyce would raise an eyebrow to.The sheer pretentiousness of the protagonist and his friends is enough to elicit an exasperated sigh.The better I got to know Nagasawa, the stranger he seemed. I had met a lot of weird people in my day, but none as strange as Nagasawa. He was a far more voracious reader than me, but he made it a rule never to touch a book by any author who had not been dead at least 30 years."That's the only kind of book I can trust," he said."It's not that I don't believe in contemporary literature," he added, "but I don't want to waste valuable time reading any book that has not had the baptism of time. Life is too short.""What kind of authors do you like?" I asked, speaking in respectful tones to this man two years my senior."Balzac, Dante, Joseph Conrad, Dickens," he answered without hesitation."Not exactly fashionable.""That's why I read them. If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. That's the world of hicks and slobs. Real people would be ashamed of themselves doing that. Haven't you noticed, Watanabe? You and I are the only real ones in this dorm. The other guys are crap."This took me off guard. "How can you say that?""'Cause it's true. I know. I can see it. It's like we have marks on our foreheads. And besides, we've both read The Great Gatsby."Because of course, special snowflakes, literature is only good if you deem it worthy, and if someone doesn't like what you like they're a hick or a slob. Please, jump thirty years into the future and become acquainted with your indie-than-thou hipster counterparts. They enjoy sipping coffee at bistros while they twirl their thriftstore eco-friendly scarves and discus the plights of starving African children while they listen to The Smiths, watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and complain about the American adaptation of Open Your Eyes -- Vanilla Sky), while they read pretentious novels such as this to feel like they're superior to their peers. They probably jerk off to their liberal arts degrees at night while they fantasize about Charlie Kaufman.It doesn't surprise me that this novel was popular amongst teens and young adults. Here, they have a lackluster Holden Caulfield to look up to. One who never realizes that, he too, is a "phony". We get the occasional dismissal of Nagasawa's ways, but they come late and are rather pathetic. Our passive protagonist does nothing but watch his so-called friend destroy his girlfriend bit by bit. He comforts her, offers her advice, but never tells Nagasawa off.As I read through the scenes with Nagasawa, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. And, of course, this special Gary Stu -- who reads American literature, has a huge penis, can hook up with any girl, charm anyone, get anything he wants, who's rich, who's bound for success, who's one of the best students in their university, has a nice, intelligent, steady girlfriend, and claims to have slept with seventy girls -- chooses Toru as his friend. Wish fulfillment anyone?As for Toru's sexual relationship with Naoka? He took advantage of her. This could be considered rape. She was not emotionally sound. She could not give consent. Would Toru have had sex with her if she was drunk and he was sober? Knowing him, probably so. And he'd have some artistic, pretentious excuse. But here's Toru's take on it:I slept with Naoko that night. Was it the right thing to do? I can't tell. Even now, almost 20 years later, I can't be sure. I suppose I'll never know. But at the time, it was all I could do. She was in a heightened state of tension and confusion, and she made it clear she wanted me to give her release.Because, of course, when a girl is crying over her dead ex-boyfriend, you just have to have sex with her. It's the only thing that'll make her feel better. And, of course, she's a virgin. And, of course, she has an orgasm because Toru is just that good.What I don't understand is his hypocritical attitude towards sex. Doesn't he realize that he's just like the girls he has random one night stands with? He's no better than they are, but he describes them with such disdain, as if by being male, he's better than they are for wanting meaningless sex, but dirty for being with them. Later on in the novel, he regrets his attitude towards sex -- for two paragraphs. And that's only for his six month girlfriend. The other eight girls are "stupid" girls for whatever reason.I'm also lost at Murakami's portrayal of sex for females. It's like he thinks women don't enjoy sex or masturbation unless they're having sex with a man. The girls give Toru hand jobs and blow jobs, while he gives nothing in return. And if he is "giving" it's when he's having sex with a girl who needs "release". From his mouth:"It includes every man on the face of the earth," I explained. "Girls have periods and boys wank. Everybody."Midori is something of a nymphomaniac, but when she actually gets into bed with Toru, she ends up giving him a hand job. What does he do for her? If you guessed nothing, you're right. As hardly anything happens during the course of this novel. it would be pointless to comment on the pacing, but as I anticipated the introduction of Midori (who was nothing more than the standard manic pixie dream girl, down to an actual pixie cut, but still more entertaining than Toru and Naoko) I was rather disappointed to find that I had to slog through 60 pages before she made an appearance. This is why I hate passive protagonists (by the way, that's an oxymoron). They do nothing but sit on their pompous little asses and sip whiskey while they read John Updike, comment on their lost loves, gaze out their windows, write achingly emo love letters, and dream of dropping out of college because everything is just so beneath them.Now, what did I like about this novel? Toru's interactions with Midori. His conversations with her are what kept my interest. They were beautifully written and gave Toru a spark of personality. But even they didn't give this book meaning. A few romantic scenes with fireflies, beer, kissing, and conversations about death won't save a novel. For me, this was like the anti-thesis of Looking for Alaska or The Catcher in the Rye. There was little humor, little focus, and few dynamic characters.Naoko and Reiko didn't feel like real character. They felt like what a male wanted a female to be like. I suppose my greatest disappointment was that I was expected something profound, because I loved the premise and few sections, but the rest fell flat. It felt unreal, like a fantasy a nerdy, lonely, odd teenage boy would've conjured up for himself. Especially Naoko's commitment to Kizuki. And Reiko, like almost every female in this novel, had to have a sexual relationship with Toru, though she's old enough to be his mother and acts like an older sister. And, of course, it's the greatest sex of her life. Best of all? Murakami describes it all in pornographic detail. Almost all of the sex scenes are ridiculously gratuitous, but Murakami would have us believe that they're for "release".The blurb tells readers that this is a novel about moving on from grief. The problem is that there are no attempts to move on. The characters languish in their grief, roaming blindly in their pretentiousness, and fizzle out towards the end. Outside forces act on them, but they do nothing.I want to know what the purpose of this novel was. While the description was nice, the dialog was rather on the nose. The characters say everything they feel at any given moment. I won't even start on Toru's thoughts. I like the premise. I like forbidden love. I like love triangles, depressed girls, and tsunderes. I do not like 350 pages of pointless angst, sex, weirdness, and quaint descriptive prose. For me, this was the equivalent of Twilight without the vampires and with a male narrator. It has its moments, but as a whole, it's an odd, painful experience. There's so much good in this novel, but it's buried underneath unnecessary prose and an odd chauvinistic tone. I'd only recommend this novel if you're ready to roll your eyes at various moments. Toru's moments with Midori and her father are sweet. They bring out an interesting side to his character. His moments with Reiko were interesting and his moments with Naoko held potential. In the end, he goes through a small change. But it's not enough for me to give this a full four stars.3.5 stars. I will, however, check out the movie. The poster is pretty beautiful as well as the trailer but, like the premise, it's probably a lie. If you want a modern coming of age story named after a classic rock song check out Into the Great Wide Open by Kevin Canty. It lacks a love triangle, but it's much, much better.

  • Giulia
    2019-06-10 10:00

    Don't worry, it's only death. Don't let it bother you.As I was reading the last page of Norwegian Wood and the book slowly came to an end, I suddenly realised I was not ready to be finished with it. Do you know that scent, the one of rotten fruit? It's sweet in a sickening way, and leaves you feeling hazy and slightly nauseous, as if you just want to turn your head away and take a few steps back. Somehow, this is how this book left me feeling. Uneasy. This is the first book I've ever read by Murakami. I've read some Japanese literature before, but this is the first time I read it with the purpose of educating myself on it, and I reckon that maybe I did not pick the right book to get acquainted with this author. I know that he's famous for his magical realism and dreamlike atmospheres, and while Norwegian Wood does have a peculiar feeling to it, it is still realistic fiction. I knew of this book as a love story. Most people warned me that it was going to be sad and, to a certain extent, it was. But maybe - no, I don't think sad is the appropriate word for it. It was like when something makes you feel so much pity that you just want to stop looking. Norwegian Wood is a coming of age story. Watanabe Tooru is a university student in Tokyo, and he's not particularly interested in what he does. He's fine with his life. He's fine with his classmates, his classes, his assignments, but there is no passion in what he does. He just goes with the tide. His best friend, Kizuki, killed himself when he was seventeen, and left behind not only an heartbroken Watanabe, but also his girlfriend, Naoko. And somehow, Watanabe and Naoko meet once again, and they fall in love; but Naoko's mind is in pieces. Sometimes, I wondered if Watanabe's was any different. There was something disconcerting about Naoko's calm and security, while everything was shattering inside her own head. A part of me always expected her mind to finally not be able to hold it together anymore, and it wasn't a surprise when she left university and decided to spend some time at a mental health facility. Her illness didn't always show itself. Sometimes she was just a melancholy girl that could not get over her boyfriend's death, and some other times it was like all her walls were crumbling down, and she was left stripped raw. I don't think Watanabe fully understood her. I probably didn't, either. Watanabe tries to go on with his life. He has his own way of doing things - he speaks strangely and hardly ever cares - and, waiting for Naoko to get better, he surrounds himself with the most peculiar characters. It's the late '60s, the student activist movement is more active than ever, and yet Watanabe sees everything with utter disillusion. And why shouldn't he? The people around him are mediocre, and they deem themselves revolutionaries only to be the firsts to attend class once the protests are over. What a joke. The wind changes direction a little, and their cries become whispers.But while Watanabe is very much aware of the hypocrisy and indifference all around him, he often doesn't have the courage to say anything about it. He lives. He does the same things every day. His friend Nagasawa experiences life very differently. I have a really strange relationship with Nagasawa: while I do understand that he doesn't have an ounce of kindness in his heart, I still admire the way he never lies, never holds back, and would rather hurt the people he loves than not tell the truth. He does not live in an healthy way, and I know that after (view spoiler)[what happened to Hatsumi (hide spoiler)] I would have every right to hate him, and some part of me does, but his anger... there's something devastatingly real about that anger. I look around me sometimes and I get sick to my stomach. Why the hell don't these bastards do something? I wonder. They don't do a fucking thing, and then they moan about it.Still, my favorite character out of them all ought to be Midori. Since the very first time Tooru met her, I knew she was going to leave an impression on him and me both, and that she did. There was a stark contrast between Naoko and her. If Naoko was slowly fading, Midori was a breathing, living person, and despite everybody else - even Watanabe, and probably even herself - judged her silly and superficial, she saw the world in a surprisingly accurate manner. She always saw right through the other students' arrogance, and through the way they pretended to know everything just because they were so scared to admit they knew nothing. She was lively and sad, childish and wise, and she embraced it all. Norwegian Wood is, ultimately, a book about death. Watanabe never fully gets over Kizuki's suicide, and from the first chapter there was a gloomy shadow looming over him, some sort of prophecy predicting that something terrible was bound to happen. (view spoiler)[First his roommate, Storm Trooper, disappeared. Then a fleeting mention - that Hatsumi, worn out by Nagasawa's antics, was one day going to commit suicide. And then, finally, the inevitable. Naoko killed herself. I shouldn't have been surprised. Tooru was right: she'd chosen death from the very beginning. (hide spoiler)] The ultimate truth about death, is that the pain of losing a loved one never goes away. Time doesn't heal your wounds: you just have to learn to live with the scars. And yet, as Watanabe himself understands, even when you finally manage to learn something from all that pain, it is of no use. Because it doesn't matter. Because the next time it happens, nothing will spare you the same pain all over again.I'm not sure how I feel about Norwegian Wood. If I were being technical about it, I could say that the writing is beautiful and poetic, that the pacing is slow and almost comforting in its sadness, and that the story unfolds slowly into an inevitable ending full of symbolism and uncertainty. The truth is, I don't know. Books like this one always have a strong impact on me, and I know I will soon read something else by Murakami, because Norwegian Wood left me unsettled - and I want to understand more, to experience more. And still, I am left with that lingering feeling, with that sickening sweetness. It reminds me of white flower bouquets at funerals. Of how it feels to say goodbye, and the loneliness you're left with afterwards - all by yourself. You'd yell at the top of your lungs, but nobody would hear you, and you couldn't expect anyone to find you, and you'd have centipedes and spiders crawling all over you, and the bones of the ones who died before are scattered all around you, and it's dark and soggy, and high overhead there's this tiny, tiny circle of light like a winter moon. You die there in this place, little by little, all by yourself.

  • Cris
    2019-06-17 13:44

    Es el primer libro de Murakami que llega a mis manos y puedo decir sin duda que seguiré leyendo a este autor. Me ha cautivado su estilo y su forma de marcar el ritmo. El carácter de toda la obra podría resumirse en un par de adjetivos: íntima y exquisita. Los personajes, las escenas y los espacios quedan perfilados al detalle con un mínimo esfuerzo. Todo es suave y lento, a pesar de la crudeza de algunas situaciones. Los ambientes adquieren un matiz tridimensional casi de casualidad a través del hilo conductor que son los pensamientos del protagonista.Reseña completa y mi versión de la portada en

  • mai ahmd
    2019-06-17 10:56

    ...كانت هذه الرواية أول تجربة لي مع موراكامي ولم تكن الأخيرةبالرغم من أنها 398 صفحة تقريبا إلا أنني لم أشعر معها بالوقت هكذا! تقرأ ولاتشعر بنفسك شفافية الحوارات تأخذ بعقلكالإهتمام بالتفاصيل تأخذ بعقلك تلك التفاصيل التي تعيشك الحدث وكأنه موجود بالداخل شخصيات غريبة كثيرة في هذه الرواية غير أن أسلوب الكاتب بالغ الشفافية وهذه ميزة يتميز بها أغلب من قرأتُ لهم في الأدب الياباني حيث لا تشعر متى بدأت ومتى انتهيت أعجبتني لغة الكاتب وفلسفته حول الموت والحياة وفي الرواية كان الجنس معضلة كما كان هو الحل

  • Kate
    2019-06-02 11:54

    Book Review: Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood (Vintage, London, 2000)I have never been good at reading translations. It's always in the back of my mind that what I'm reading is not the piece in its original forms: it is not how the author originally wished it to be presented. I don't know, therefore, whether it is to Murakami or Norwegian Wood's translator Jay Rubin who I should give the credit for keeping me thoroughly engaged with this one.I immediately connected to Toru, the narrator and protagonist, because he was a university student, a reader, who was 19 and turning 20. Even though the character is in 1960s Japan, so much of the mundane aspects of his every day life were things that I could connect to.I found the exploration of 'normal' and 'not-normal' incredibly intriguing. Whilst Naoko and Reiko spend most of the novel in a sort of hospital, I never got the impression that they were any more strange than Toru (a self confessed loner), Midori (who has a strange fascination with pornography, and can't cry at her father's funeral), Nagasawa (who doesn't seem to have any real emotions or attachments) or Hatsumi (Nagasawa's long-suffering girlfriend, who comes off as very repressed). Where the difference lies, I think, is that Naoko and Reiko feel unhealthy through their lack of normality, and worry that the way they act, the way they think, hurts others as well as themselves.Suicide is an issue that runs throughout the novel, and with it (of course) does death. The messages coming through about these things were interesting. It seemed to me that Toru was unsure exactly what death meant to him, except for that 'Death exists, not as the opposite to, but as a part of life.' Looking back at the novel as a whole, I think death is handled in the same sort of way as in the Harry Potter series. (Odd comparison, I know) It has that same questioning nature, and the same raw honesty. It's something I have come to admire in authors when I feel this in their work.The novel is, more than anything, a coming of age novel about a love triangle. The two relationships work so well that I think as a reader you begin to feel a lot like Toru does: you want him to be with Naoko when she is in the scene, and you want him to be with Midori when she appears. It's not a traditional love triangle I suppose in that the girls do not compete for his heart. They both must just be themselves and see where they end up. It's not a story of epic love and passion, but it's subtle, and seems more real.The language in which Toru's world and feelings are described is simply gorgeous. I suppose I should credit both Murakami and Rubin here. I guess it's a collaborative effort, in many ways. So many simple sentences just reached out and grabbed me, either for their truth, beauty, wit or oddness.Overall, this is a fantastic novel that I would recommend to everyone who has experienced (or is still doing so) the rollercoaster ride that is growing up and living without anyone to hold your hand in the best way that you know how.(Not recommended at all for younger readers, some of the sex scenes and the language is quite graphic, as well as some themes being upsetting. I don't know if I could have read this when I was 16/17 for example, and really understood it.)

  • Ecmel Soylu
    2019-06-23 14:06

    4,5/5En ama en rahat okuduğum kitaplardan biriydi. Bu kadar kayıp gideceğini, bu kadar zevkle okuyabileceğimi tahmin etmemiştim. Yarım puanı kırmama gerek bile yoktu ama: (view spoiler)[ Son bölümde olan şeye anlam veremedim resmen. Cinsellik beni hiç ama hiç rahatsız etmez. Murakami seksle ilgili yazmaya düşkündür demişlerdi, bu kadar fazla söylendiğine göre acaba rahatsız olur muyum diye şöyle bir düşünmüştüm ama kitap boyunca cinsellik olsa da ben gram rahatsız olmadım TA Kİ son bölümdeki olayı son derece gereksiz bulana kadar. Kafamı kitaptan kaldırıp Neden yahu? diye düşündüm gerçekten. Neden cidden, gerekli miydi o kadar çok?? :')(hide spoiler)]

  • Weinz
    2019-06-23 13:10

    Was this book a little ego-centric and self-serving? Yes. Did that prevent this book from being another example of Murakami's brilliance? No.Come on, sex so great that two of the women decided never to have sex again because it just couldn't ever compare? Please! Sorry boys, I don't care what your sexual prowess in the bedroom is but no woman would ever come to the conclusion. Ever. With that being said the rest of the book was filled with an insightful and poignant story that pushed Murakami a little further up on my all time list. It was interesting to compare and contrast two different views of suicide having recently finished DFW's Infinite Jest. Two completely different takes on what goes on with someone suicidal and those around them. It was interesting to see it from both sides. Having read "Wind-up" before "Wood" I was able to see the inklings. Able to see H.M. planting seeds in his own subconscious that germinated later into another brilliant insightful book.