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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
10,465223273 (3.99)4 / 375
  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
    In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan (ursula)
    ursula: Murakami is influenced by Brautigan. Both are simple but weird tales of love and life.
  5. 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
  6. 11
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  7. 00
    Who is Mr Satoshi? by Jonathan Lee (alzo)
  8. 00
    Socrates In Love by Kyoichi Katayama (alalba)

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English (169)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (15)  Catalan (4)  Italian (4)  Swedish (4)  French (3)  German (2)  Hungarian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Korean (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
4.5 out of 5, really. There is a part of me that resists giving this book full marks - but it is the same part of me that might resist diving fully into a relationship. There are some flaws here, but the flaws only serve to make the work more beautiful. At the same time, some of that beauty and those flaws leave the reader feeling open and longing for more. Not more in the sense of "you didn't give me enough" but rather "I want something else." Not unlike in a relationship, I suppose. And just like many good relationships, it has changed how I hear a certain song - but then, that song has always haunted me. Hasn't it you?

More at RB: http://ragingbiblioholism.com/2014/01/05/norwegian-wood/ ( )
  drewsof | Sep 30, 2015 |
More than storytelling, Murakami tells places, time, sound, smell, taste, and touch. ( )
  kg988 | Aug 26, 2015 |
Is a pretty good book. You read it with pleasure and [a:Haruki Murakami|3354|Haruki Murakami|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1350230608p2/3354.jpg]knows how to put you inside the book in no time. Sometimes I struggle to get into the book but here I had no problem. I was reading almost 100 pages in one sit without even notice. The book in other languages is call "Norwegian Wood" in spanish is Tokio Blues, but once that you start to read it you realice is a great translation. Watanabe (the main character of the story) is narrating his time as a student in Tokyo and is a sad story so all his memories produce the perfect atmosphere of a blues. I like many of the characters and by the end Murakami manage to create a great story surrender by nostalgia and sadness. Is a great reading that take us to the late 60's in Tokyo and allow us to understand more about the culture. The only problem that I had is that despite the great efforts of the translator to explain several words and word games in Japanese I felt that there are some things missing in the translation, but I will not blame the translator, there are many books in different languages that are hard to translate and something will be lost in translation. ( )
  CaroPi | May 22, 2015 |
Somehow, I find it troubling to find a word that accurately describe this book. Peaceful? No. Exciting? No. It's nearly impossible to do so. But, this book has absolutely left a big impression on me. ( )
  yamayukkikun | Apr 16, 2015 |
Having just arrived in Hamburg, Germany, 37 year old Toru Watanabe hears an orchestral cover of The Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood” which reminds him of his college years. In high school his best friend, Kizuki completed suicide and Watanabe moved to Tokyo for college in the hopes to escape the pain. One day he was reunited with Kizuki’s girlfriend Naoko and they sought solitude in each other’s company. However this relationship wasn’t the right solution for Naoko and she left for a secluded mountain sanatorium near Kyoto.

Norwegian Wood is often referred to as the best starting point when diving into the works of Haruki Murakami, mainly because this is one of the few books that don’t have a magical realism thread to it. This is a good place to start but what I find fascinating is the way Murakami uses magical realism to explore ideas of the mind. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and Norwegian Wood don’t have that same fantastical style but they still follow similar themes. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki looks at the psychological impacts of losing friendships, while this novel looks at ideas of memory. From what I have read so far, Murakami’s other books do similar things but the use of magical realism allows him to dive into the mind and explore it as a fantastical world.

I have heard Norwegian Wood described as a coming of age story so many times, but I find it difficult to classify this book as such; for the simple fact that Toru Watanabe is 37 years on at the start of the novel, even though the majority of the novel is set during his college years. I think this is more a reflection on life and love, a novel that explores ideas of memory and nostalgia through themes like loss, depression and sexuality. This leads me to wonder just how reliable Watanabe really is and if there is a ‘rose coloured glasses’ perception happening in the novel. However the way this novel comes together and deals with memory (especially at the end) works so well and I can understand why Norwegian Wood is a Haruki Murakami favourite for many people.

One thing that really stuck with me with Norwegian Wood is the way Murakami developed characters. I found most characters to be complex and well rounded, they all had a unique personality and it was such a joy to read something with such great character development. A favourite of mine was Midori, who reminds me a lot of my wife; a confident and sure character who is at times insecure but has a great interest in talking about sex with others. She was the highlight of the whole novel and I always looked forward to her turning up within the story.

Before I knew who Haruki Murakami was, I saw the 2010 Japanese movie adaptation and thankfully I forgot most of the story. While images and plot points did come back to me as I read the novel, I was glad I didn’t have that outside influence but now I do need to re-watch the movie. Norwegian Wood is a great starting place if you have never read Haruki Murakami before. Apparently Murakami isn’t too happy that this is the novel that people will read or recognise him by, but it really is one of his stand out books. I have so many more Murakami books to read and I am really looking forward to diving into them all.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/03/08/norwegian-wood-by-haruki-murakami/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Mar 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elbrich FennemaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolla, AlbertTranslatorsecondary 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.
Eu tinha trinta e sete anos e viajava, de cinto posto, no meu lugar enquanto o enorme 747 mergulhava através de uma densa cobertura de nuvens a aproximar-se do aeroporto de Hamburgo.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:09 -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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