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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
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Norwegian Wood (original 1987; edition 2000)

by Haruki Murakami

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,127245251 (3.98)4 / 392
Member:holmes111
Title:Norwegian Wood
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2000), Paperback, 298 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, Japanese, magical realism

Work details

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987)

  1. 81
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (philrafferty)
    philrafferty: Murakami's masterwork.
  2. 95
    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.
  3. 40
    1Q84 Book 1 by Haruki Murakami (jalonsoarevalo)
    jalonsoarevalo: MAravillosa recreación tomando como letmotiv el libro de Orwell 1984
  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. 00
    Socrates In Love by Kyoichi Katayama (alalba)
  7. 11
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  8. 00
    Who is Mr Satoshi? by Jonathan Lee (alzo)
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English (187)  Dutch (17)  Spanish (16)  Swedish (4)  Italian (4)  Catalan (3)  French (3)  Hungarian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Korean (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (244)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
"Read by everyone in Japan," Norwegian Wood was an experiment by Murakawi in writing a "straight" story and staying away from the magical fiction that he's better known for. His natural style and intimate character development have a magic all their own in what's been described as a coming of age love story.

It begins in retrospect, from the point of view of a 37 year old man reflecting on past relationships as a 20-something in college. It quickly moves to the first person of the story teller, as his relationships build and some fall away. It's as much a story of love as it a story of introspection and self-discovery.

There is a lot of loss as the story progresses, but the reader will find something to hope for as well. At times, there are graphic scenes of intimacy, but they don't overwhelm the story. A great read and another way to connect with more contemporary Japanese culture. ( )
  traumleben | Feb 14, 2017 |
I don't even have the words to talk about Murakami, so I'll just share a couple of metaphors from the character Reiko.

"I have a lot more patience for others than I have for myself, and I'm much better at bringing out the best in others than in myself. That's just the kind of person I am. I'm the scratchy stuff on the side of the matchbox. But that's fine with me. I don't mind at all. Better to be a first-class matchbox than a second-class match."

"There's nothing the least bit sinful about [loving two women]. Things like that happen all the time in this great big world of ours. It's like taking a boat out on a beautiful lake on a beautiful day and thinking both the sky and the lake are beautiful." ( )
1 vote StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Quietly disturbing, the book is about people trying to live their lives well. Some give up while the rest continue with the struggle. ( )
  siok | Dec 26, 2016 |
En un inicio fue mi favorito, ahora a la distancia me resulta insignificante. ( )
  darioha | Nov 29, 2016 |
5 ( )
  ronchan | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Elbrich FennemaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolla, AlbertTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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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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