Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Published: January 1987
Buy it: BookDepository
Put it on shelf: Goodreads
Synopsis: from Goodreads
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age,Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.
So, it is Haruki Murakami first romance story, also a very sad one. But first thing first, it is a really enjoyable story.
About romance story, I’m not really a big fan of it, but this is different. There are two main character in this story, Toru and Naoko. Naoko was the girlfriend of Toru’s best friend – Kizuki before Kizuki’s tragic death when he was 17. After that, Toru and Naoko ran away from their hometown Kyoto and they both studied in Tokyo but not together. One day, they meet each other in the street coincidentally. That’s how the story begins.
Unlike other romance story, the relationship between Toru and Naoko is not distinct. What I mean is that they are brought together not because of mutual attraction, but because they are living in a very similar life after the death of Kizuki – loneliness, meaningless life. (That’s what I think. I may be wrong) The author concentrated a lot in describing the characters using the things they experienced in life but not by telling the reader how his characters look like which I really love it.
Also, it is a tragic love story like The Great Gatsby which I love the most. There is a great deal of “Happy ending” romance story out there, to be honest, I’m really tired of those because ” It is how real life look like ? “. I don’t mean that the story must be tragic to be a great romance story. What I mean is creativeness. The style and the plot of this book is brilliant.
I don’t know whether Haruki was intend to write this book only for the people who live in Japan or not, but I think the description of the environment is not quite enough. I’m reading this book during the trip in Japan, so I can really experience how those characters walking in the street, drinking in the bar and so on. Simply said, I can experience the environment the story happened in which in very important to the story. If the author can put a little more description to the environment of the city, that would be awesome.
One more thing, I think there is a little too much sex scene in this story. At first, honestly, I quite enjoy it. But when it came through again and again, i’m a little bit tired of it. It is only a very minor problem.
Overall, I think Norwegian Wood is a great book. I think this is great because it is so real. Just like it would really happen in real life. 5/5stars
4 reasons to read:
(1) Unique writing style
(2) The story is so realistic
(3) Page turner
(4) A different romance story
3 reasons not to read:
(1) Lack of description of the environment
(2) Too much sex scene in the story
(3) So miserable (it makes you feel sad)