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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood (1987)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,978213285 (4)4 / 343
  1. 81
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (philrafferty)
    philrafferty: Murakami's masterwork.
  2. 40
    1Q84 Book 1 by Haruki Murakami (jalonsoarevalo)
    jalonsoarevalo: MAravillosa recreación tomando como letmotiv el libro de Orwell 1984
  3. 85
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (hippietrail, Jannes)
    Jannes: Many interesting parallells, and the protagonist of Norwegian Wood compares himself with Holden Caulfield from Catcher on several occations.
  4. 00
    Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Lex23)
    Lex23: Both books beautifully describe a difficult relationship between a man and a woman with a psychiatric background
  5. 00
    Socrates In Love by Kyoichi Katayama (alalba)
  6. 11
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  7. 00
    Who is Mr Satoshi? by Jonathan Lee (alzo)

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English (159)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (14)  Catalan (4)  Swedish (4)  French (4)  Italian (4)  Hungarian (2)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Korean (1)  All languages (213)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
A fairly tedious and plodding account of a young man's student days. This story does not contain the surreal twists and unexpected moments that I like about Murakami's other works. It does, however contain some familiar characters, attractive but enigmatic women, and directionless young men. The musical name-dropping is there in abundance, even in the title. A cynic might see this as a cheap way to latch onto our love of popular culture, though a kinder view might be that it just demonstrates the author's pure love of music.

The first Murakami book I read was "After Dark" which I thought was a real knockout. In comparison this one was a bit of a disappointment. The characters are not really fleshed out enough, their lives aimless, their deaths unexplained and meaningless. In some books, a bleak situation can lead to ironic humour or philosophical speculation, in this story, for me, there is a lack of depth. ( )
  Estramir | Sep 26, 2014 |
In the few days after reading this, my appreciation of this book fell from "Not his best" to "I wish I hadn't read this book".

I think this is mainly because of the almost offhand way suicides are treated here. Sure, they hurt the people that are close, but that's just because they're dead, not because they decided to kill themselves. How can he treat suicides like they are some kind of natural disaster, instead of a choice, and a tragic and/or aggressive choice at that? He does talk about the choice of his main character not to commit suicide, when there is nothing in his life that would warrant such an act. Is this choice the only thing that keeps him alive?

Apart from that, there doesn't seem much point to the whole story, which makes the suicides, and the casual sex as well, even more pointless. Maybe the pointlessness is the point of this book, like in Catcher in the Rye, but even then I would have liked some kind of glimpse, some kind of intuitive inkling, that this isn't all there is to life. ( )
  wester | Sep 23, 2014 |
A different perspective. ( )
  waelrammo | Sep 14, 2014 |
My foray into Murakami. My little sister said it changed her life...I'm inclined to agree. It was the catalyst for my interest in reading emotionally unstable characters. ( )
  kchung_kaching | Sep 1, 2014 |
Essential read. ( )
  Simonmer | Aug 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (58 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elbrich FennemaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, LourdesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Many Fêtes
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I was 37 then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through dense cloud cover on approach to Hamburg airport.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375704027, Paperback)

In 1987, when Norwegian Wood was first published in Japan, it promptly sold more than 4 million copies and transformed Haruki Murakami into a pop-culture icon. The horrified author fled his native land for Europe and the United States, returning only in 1995, by which time the celebrity spotlight had found some fresher targets. And now he's finally authorized a translation for the English-speaking audience, turning to the estimable Jay Rubin, who did a fine job with his big-canvas production The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Readers of Murakami's later work will discover an affecting if atypical novel, and while the author himself has denied the book's autobiographical import--"If I had simply written the literal truth of my own life, the novel would have been no more than fifteen pages long"--it's hard not to read as at least a partial portrait of the artist as a young man.

Norwegian Wood is a simple coming-of-age tale, primarily set in 1969-70, when the author was attending university. The political upheavals and student strikes of the period form the novel's backdrop. But the focus here is the young Watanabe's love affairs, and the pain and pleasure and attendant losses of growing up. The collapse of a romance (and this is one among many!) leaves him in a metaphysical shambles:

I read Naoko's letter again and again, and each time I read it I would be filled with the same unbearable sadness I used to feel whenever Naoko stared into my eyes. I had no way to deal with it, no place I could take it to or hide it away. Like the wind passing over my body, it had neither shape nor weight, nor could I wrap myself in it.
This account of a young man's sentimental education sometimes reads like a cross between Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Stephen Vizinczey's In Praise of Older Women. It is less complex and perhaps ultimately less satisfying than Murakami's other, more allegorical work. Still, Norwegian Wood captures the huge expectation of youth--and of this particular time in history--for the future and for the place of love in it. It is also a work saturated with sadness, an emotion that can sometimes cripple a novel but which here merely underscores its youthful poignancy. --Mark Thwaite

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event. 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."-- Cover.… (more)

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