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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
9,878209287 (4)4 / 332
  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. 75
    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 (156)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (14)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (4)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Hungarian (2)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Korean (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
Essential read. ( )
  Simonmer | Aug 24, 2014 |
Well, after reading other reviews, I have to agree that this is often a beautifully-written, haunting story. Having said that, it's also true that none of the characters (with the exception of Midori) seemed very real to me. The author did not illuminate the reasons behind so much despair and suicide among young people at that time (and still, if I understand correctly) in Japan - and such insight would have been fascinating. The way mental illness is treated in the story is also a bit alarming to me - serious bi-polar and possibly even schizophrenic patients treating each other (for the most part) and giving therapeutic recommendations to each other in a mountain sanitorium? It doesn't seem like a very effective or wise approach. I also have to say I'm surprised that nobody has objected to the completely male-centered view of sex portrayed in the story. Toru's willing female sex partners all have unrealistic no-hands orgasms, and are at every moment available and happy to "serve" his sexual needs with no thought (on his or their parts) to their own. This is even true of Midori, who, as an independent and "liberated" young woman, oddly gives no importance to her own pleasure when it comes to sex - she only cares about pleasing Toru. This utterly male point of view in the "erotic" scenes makes the story harder (at least for me, as a woman) to relate to, and makes all the characters less realistic and sympathetic. ( )
  Fleischmanns | Aug 4, 2014 |
Este es el primer libro que leo de Haruki Murakami. No se porque, pero esperaba algo mas transcendental, con esto no quiero decir que el libro sea poco profundo, todo lo contrario. El problema radica en la forma en la que se cuenta la historia, de manera lenta, al punto en que, por mucho que me interesara seguir leyendo, me daba sueño. Y debo decir que generalmente leer me quita el sueño.

La historia es deprimente, demasiados suicidios para mi gusto. Y aunque se trata de la vida de Toru Watanabe, se enfoca también, por momentos, en la vida de sus amigos: Kizuki, "Tropa de Asalto", Nagasawa, Reiko y especialmente de Naoko y Midori.

Naoko es la más resaltante, y las partes donde ella interviene me resultan particularmente tediosas. Es un personaje extremadamente débil, sus acciones son confusas, y nunca pude sentir simpatía hacia ella.

Por el contrario, amé a Midori. Sus diálogos son espectaculares, sarcásticos, divertidos y reales. Únicamente por ella, y debo admitir que en parte también por Reiko, es que este libro logró gustarme.
( )
  Glire | Jul 7, 2014 |
"Norwegian Wood" was just OK. I read the book out of a hope that it would help me, a temporary resident of Japan, to understand something more about the nation's contemporary culture. Alas, my hope was unrequited.

I enjoyed the author's direct and engaging style. The prose felt very modern -- of which, in my limited reading so far of Japanese authors, I haven't seen much. I wanted to see Murakami went with it.

Unfortunately, Murakami's modern characters were not very interesting or engaging. In particular, I cared little about the odd musings and romantic forays of Toru, the protagonist student. He struck me as an earnest young guy trying to understand himself and figure out the world and his place in it. This is perfectly fine, as we've all been there ourselves; but such a character falls short of the kind of interesting, engaging persona to anchor a novel.

I expected more insight about Toru, and thought it was going to come. The author introduced us to Toru in intriguing fashion in the book's first few pages: a seemingly established, near middle-aged fellow looking back and wondering about his early adult years. Thus began the long backward drift. Murakami hooked me and made me want to know more. But he never tied things up and brought us back to his starting point. To me, that is ragged thinking and poor writing.

Why, then, the book's apparent viral popularity? Beats me. I suppose readers (especially those who are around the same age as the characters) could be drawn to the story by its accounts of multiple suicides, and enjoy speculating about the motivations which underpinned those extreme decisions. But I am in my mid-50s, not 20s, and have amassed too much life experience to feel sympathy for the nihilistic quandries of the mostly normal-sounding young adults who inhabit this story. ( )
1 vote EpicTale | Jun 12, 2014 |
Norwegian Wood is unlike most books by Haruki Murakami in that it deals less with the noticeably odd and instead is concerned with a coming-of-age story. The main character, Toru, is at university in Japan during the late 60s and Murakami captures the music, mood, and ethos of the era wonderfully as he explores the relationships between Toru and his first love - Naoko, and a fiercely independent girl called Midori.

This is the book that made Murakami famous in Japan and one can see why: Norwegian Wood captures a lost age and explores the idea of one's first love through all its triumphs and hopelessness. Although markedly different from his other works (such as Kafka on the Shore for example), Norwegian Wood is a moving story and very good. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (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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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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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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