HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Loading...

Norwegian Wood (original 1987; edition 2000)

by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,692None296 (4.01)4 / 320
Jenners26's review
Brief Description: At the start of the book, we meet Toru the businessman on an airplane. As he is getting ready to deplane, he hears the Beatle’s song, Norwegian Wood, and it transports him back to the past—to the late 1960s when Toru was a quiet and serious college student who kept mostly to himself. However, a chance encounter with a girl from his hometown, Naoko, leads to a strange and unclassifiable relationship. The two are bound together by the suicide of a mutual friend years before, whose death continues to haunt their lives. Although Toru is doing his best to adapt and fit in with the world, Naoko struggles and eventually seeks help at an asylum. Toru, who finds himself bound to Naoko in ways he doesn’t fully understand, is confused when he also finds himself drawn to a sexually liberated and outspoken fellow student, Midori. As Toru attempts to balance his commitment to Naoko and his attraction to Midori, he finds that he can only be free when (as the song says) “This bird has flown.”

My Thoughts: OK … I’ll be upfront about why this book didn’t work for me as much as it could have or I wanted it to. The main problem is that I was super-excited to try one of Murakami’s fiction books and was prepared and pumped up for weirdness and alternate universes and talking animals and, unknowingly, managed to pick the one fairly straightforward book that Murakami wrote. (I only found this out afterwards. If only I’d read the blurb that said this book was “a complete stylistic departure” from his mysterious and surreal novels!) So, I was hoping for surrealism and found, instead, realism. Not to say this was a bad book, but it wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for. (Apparently, I should have chosen The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles or A Wild Sheep Chase instead.) The writing is graceful and fluid, and the story was accessible. Although tinged with melancholy and surprisingly graphic sex scenes/talk, Norwegian Wood ended up being a memorable and haunting coming of age story. It also evokes the strangeness and melancholy of the titular song. ( )
  Jenners26 | May 11, 2012 |
All member reviews
English (150)  Spanish (14)  Dutch (13)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Korean (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-25 of 150 (next | show all)
The descriptions from this book leave such a good impression. I loved how intricately everything was portrayed, so that made it fun to read.

The downside though is that he's rather too descriptive on many things. Too much for my taste. And it's also quite a depressing book, so keep that in mind. ( )
  kbeihl | Apr 11, 2014 |
Excellent ( )
  lloyd1175 | Mar 22, 2014 |
In this book Murakami expounds on the imperfections of us all and demonstrates that no matter how much we try not to hurt the people we love that we can inadvertently end up doing the very thing we do not want to do. This is not a book for the vulnerable but it is about the vulnerable and, if one agrees with my interpretation of Murakami’s work, we are all vulnerable.

The themes tackled in this book are heavy. They include the effect of suicide on those left behind; coping with the illness and death of a close relative; first love; mental illness; self-loathing and self-criticism; coming of age; a sense of duty to the dead; misunderstandings between loved ones. There is much in this book that will make it a difficult read for many but, for those able and willing to take up the challenge, it is a rewarding read.

Jay Rubin obviously did an excellent job with the translation as the only clues to its being a translation are the words in the book identifying the translator and the knowledge that Murakami writes in Japanese. I always believe that the more inconspicuous the presence of a translator in a work the greater is the skill of that translator. ( )
  pgmcc | Mar 15, 2014 |
I tried. I wanted to like it. I wanted to read the whole book and say "Yes, I understand now why so many love this author." Nope. I gave it about 60 pages... more than fair. I found it boring. I didn't care about any of the characters. Maybe... maybe, I'll try a different Murakami.
  CaliSoleil | Mar 5, 2014 |
Beautifully sad and nostalgic. Touching and well-paced. An examination of loss and maturity. ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
Beautiful and a book that will come back to haunt me later. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
Ik weet niet zo goed wat ik van dit boek vind. Het is mooi geschreven, het leest goed en toch had ik het gevoel er niet goed in te komen. Misschien cultuurverschil? Ik vond de hoofdpersoon zo blanco, ondanks allerlei heftige ontwikkelingen (een vriend en een vriendin die doodgaan) kan ik niet meevoelen met de hoofdpersoon. ( )
  elsmvst | Feb 7, 2014 |
Amazing. Captivating. This book had me hooked from page 1 until the very end. Murakami has the gift to describe simple, everyday acts and details in a fascinating and unique way. Page after page the emotions of the story are growing stronger and stronger, not in the words or sentences used, but inside your body and mind. The central chapter six, which is somewhat the crux of the story, lasts for 80 pages but doesn't bore a single moment. Simply a must-read for people who are not afraid of some melancholy or downheartedness. As a back-cover reviewer says: it makes you tingle with life. ( )
  Differenti | Jan 24, 2014 |
Nobody does a simple story like Murakami. Different from his other novels? Yes. Still beautiful and strange? Of course. ( )
  newskepticx | Dec 18, 2013 |
Maybe I would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't already read many of Murakami's other novels first. He covers many of the same themes and ideas elsewhere. I just found this one more depressing than it was worth. ( )
  tercat | Nov 19, 2013 |
Norwegian Wood by [a:Haruki Murakami|3354|Haruki Murakami|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1350230608p2/3354.jpg] is an absolute delight. It is, without a doubt, one of the best books I have ever read. Norwegian Wood captures the essence of a lot of things - one should imagine Murakami wearing a wizard's robe while slowly cooking up the ingredients of a masterpiece.

The main story focuses around Toru Watanabe, who is, in all respects, just a guy. A young man with emotions, with desires, who isn't limited by his own body or mind. The rest of the book is a love story, it's about attraction, special moments, the wounds that distance and time inflict on a loving heart. It's about settling down while looking for adventure (Midori). But most of all, it tries to capture the permanent sadness that lingers within (specifically through Naoko, making for some heartbreakingly beautiful scenes). The novel is drenched in solitude, and the difficulty of both sharing and appreciating the good that comes our way.

I could really go on and on about this book. It's sheer storytelling pleasure, and one of the most subtle attacks on the heart one could imagine. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
I must have come to this novel too late to identify with the characters. I suspect that as someone not close to the turmoils of coming-of-age and navigating the transition to adulthood, I couldn't fill in the gaps of what is unsaid to make the characters real. Or perhaps this book is less fantastical than Murakami's other works; it still has the same surface-simplicity and cultural mash-ups of his other works, but something was missing. It lacked depth. For beauty of language, teenage idealism, and senseless death I much preferred the first two volumes of Mishima's Sea of Fertility. ( )
  ELiz_M | Oct 12, 2013 |
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me...
She showed me her room, isn't it good, Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, "It's time for bed"

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn't and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn't it good, Norwegian wood.


- The Beatles

Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood is a love story: on author’s own confession, “a straight, simple story” quite unlike the type of fiction he is well known for. Murakami claims the novel was a challenge to him, a test of his capability to write a “straight” story; many of his fans see it as a betrayal of what his works had stood for until then. Not having read any of Murakami’s works so far, I had the advantage of approaching it with an unprejudiced mind. And I found that while the story was straight, it was anything but simple.

The novel is one bunch of impressions. The prose is sensual, even voluptuous: descriptions of landscapes and weather are done in long and loving detail. There is very little exploration of inner mental states, other than as broad description of emotions, even though we are listening to only one voice throughout the book. It is rather like stream of consciousness turned outward.

I have been trying to do a traditional review of this book for quite some time now, but have been finding it impossible. So I will give you my impressions of reading the book.

Reading Norwegian Wood (for me) is like sitting on the porch at twilight during a rare break in the rains during the monsoon, watching the golden rays of the dying sun light up the rain-drenched earth, and filling your lungs with the smell of the rain.

Reading Norwegian Wood is like waking up on a winter morning, opening the window and getting hit in the face by an invigorating blast of icy East Wind.

Reading Norwegian Wood is like staying up late, listening to the harmonious cacophony of drums at our local temple festival, inhaling the aroma of the burning lamp wicks and incense.

Highly recommended.
( )
1 vote Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
Amazing Book. Love it. ( )
  MerryMeerkat | Sep 26, 2013 |

UYARI: Kitapla ilgili hiçbir şey yok bu yorumda. Ben olsam hemen sıradakine geçerdim.


4,5

Pfff… Büyüyoruz filan ya, ne acayip… Etrafımızda bir sürü şey oluyor, dünya değişiyor, hayatımıza insanlar girip çıkıyor. Bazıları çıkmıyor tabii, yapışıp kalıyor. Kendi gitmediği gibi senin de uzaklaşmana izin vermiyor. Bazıları pek bir sorunlu oluyor, bazıları gamsız… Bazıları da sadece oluyor, öyle boş. Nedensiz. Amaaaan, hayat ne tuhaf vapurlar filan…

Ne de güzel demiş bi’tanem Tom “I don’t wanna grow up” diye. “Ben de! BEN DE!” diye haykırmak istiyorum. Tam öyle bir dönemde ve ruh halindeyim. İstemiyorum ya! “Zorla mı kardeşim?” diye bağırasım var ama faydası yok. Zorla işte… Öfff nerden buldum bu kitabı, kafama şapıyım. Hiç sırası değildi.

Bu kadar.


NOT: Bu kitaba “Sana puanım on, kanka” demeyi çok isterdim ama puanım 5 üzerinden 4,5. Çok kıymetli yarım puanımı da tamamen çevirmenin tercihi olarak gördüğüm bazı “bayık” diyaloglardan dolayı kırdım. Murakami’ye toz kondurmuyorum ve tüm sorumluluğu kafamda suçladığım, belki de masum çevirmene atıyorum. Böyle de önyargılı bir insanım, evet.


Ve Haruki... Son sözüm sana... bebeYim duyduğuma göre aslında "sürreal" takılıyormuşsun. Bu konuda ne düşüneceğimi bilmiyorum ama sana bağlanmaya çok hazırım. Lütfen beni hayal kırıklığına uğratma. Hadi kendine iyi bak. Öptüm. ( )
  meltemyus | Sep 20, 2013 |
There were parts I enjoyed, while others not so much. The author is definitely one I'd go back to, but I'm not sure if this was the best place to start, as the first book to read by this author.

I'm not sure of things were lost due the translation, or if they were originally just that awkward but there were a few times where words and phrases just didn't fit with the rest of the paragraph or section of the novel - and this wasn't awkward because the characters themselves were awkward or had scattered thoughts. It broke up the rest of the novel and what I found to be incredible writing.

At times what the author had to say was quite profound, although other times, I found it to be somewhat juvenile. I had a hard time placing this book, as there were times it felt like a book aimed to a young adult audience, while other times it felt like it was aimed for an adult audience. With that being said, the book and characters are in a time where they are on that cusp between being a young adult and adult, and the author showed that well, but I still felt there were a lot of pieces, especially with certain characters that were juvenile. It often felt out of place and disrupted the narrative. Midori was one example of this as I began to dread any scene she was in. She wasn't a very likeable character and I don't think she meshed well into the rest of the story.

The story itself was well done, it's a depressing story and quite heavy, but the author shows the struggles the characters go through beautifully. He shows the reader, all of the raw emotions and experiences his characters go through, and he did it very well.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Norwegian Wood ( )
  bookwormjules | Sep 14, 2013 |
Wonderful. By far the best Murakami book I've read so far (though some of his short stories are definitely this good).

It was apparently a disappointment to fans because it lacks much of his signature surreality. However, I found its relative simplicity and straightforward nature suited the story perfectly.

Murakami's characters are extraordinary and his descriptive, understated style is captivating.

This story affected me deeply. It's an odd thing to say, but it seems to me that if I ever was to write a novel, it would be something like this one (in story and tone -- I wouldn't presume to think I'd ever be his equal in mastery).

It made me nostalgic for that time in teenager-hood when love is one of the great mysteries. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
I find myself particularly disappointed with Norwegian Wood. Given that it was what catapulted Murakami into superstardom, I was expecting far more. All of his books that I've read so far have been so unique; even my least favorite, A Wild Sheep Chase, was an experience I don't ever expect to repeat. Norwegian Wood, while in Murakami's familiar tone (or translated tone, as it may be), lacked anything that stood out. The main character is a college student who has feelings for two different girls. One is in a sanatorium, the other is a sex-obsessed classmate. Throughout the book, he interacts with both of them, and by the end, he knows which one he wants to be with. Aaaaand, that's about it, really. I felt like it lacked the layers Murakami's other books did, there weren't any deep themes to think about.

I also felt like even though it was translated to English, I was missing so much regarding the culture. I kept wondering, "Why are all these people committing suicide? Why are all these people having breakdowns and hiding away in asylums?" I've often been aware that I'm reading about a different culture from my own when reading Murakami, but this time I definitely felt like things were going right over my head. Not any fault of the author's, of course, and in these cases I'm usually inspired to do a little research and gain a better understanding, but Norwegian Wood just left me ready to move on. ( )
1 vote BrookeAshley | May 21, 2013 |
I've been interested by all of the reviews I've seen on LT for Japanese authors in the last year or so inspired by the Author Theme Reads Group, but I wasn't convinced any of the books would really appeal to me. This one caught my eye and got positive reviews from some readers whose tastes often align with mine so I decided to give it a try. I'd say I had a mixed response.

On one hand, Murakami writes memorable, meaningful characters. Toru Watanabe is the narrator of this book. He remembers a year in his life, 1969, when he was in college and torn between two loves, Naoko and Midori. Naoko is in a mental institution after the suicide of her high school sweetheart and Midori is a larger than life, brutally honest, funny fellow college student of Toru's. I loved the shifting atmosphere that Murakami can create and think I'll remember this book for a long time to come.

However, there were some things that I didn't love. I had a hard time with the flow of language and especially the dialogue in the book, much of which sounded kind of stilted and unnatural to me. I'm not sure if that's a translation issue? I did get used to it the farther into the book I got. I also think the book would have meant more to me if I'd lived in 1969 Japan. I have a feeling that Murakami recreates that particular time period well in this book, but I wouldn't know since I wasn't alive then and certainly wasn't living in Japan! I had no idea what the student riots were about that are referred to repeatedly.

So overall, I loved the characters in the book and the atmosphere and could sense a brilliance in the writing, but the stilted language and my lack of knowledge about the time period detracted a bit from the overall picture. I'd be curious to try something else by Murakami, though, and I'd call it a successful first foray into Japanese novels. ( )
  japaul22 | May 19, 2013 |
Murakami is a beautiful writer and my enjoyment in his words is constant and intense. This "bi-polar" exploration of years of transition from child to adult swings from drama nearly soap opera caliber to real pain and struggle to mind numing mundanity is spectacular. So too is the snapshot of a moment in time - Tokyo. 1970. This was a 5-star book for me until the last paragraph. I don't want to include spoilers so I will just say that I had no sense of an ending here and I was too invested in these people to go without one (good or bad). Absolutely a wonderous read. ( )
  Narshkite | May 6, 2013 |
Hard to go wrong with Murakami. ( )
  MattP225 | Apr 27, 2013 |
This is not your typical 'coming-of-age' stories. In a way, protagonist Toru Watanbe's life is sometimes dreary and sad at other times. Yet reading the book brought so much of pleasure unlike other 'happy' books. This book is not even a love story - just a young man's complex relationship with a woman. Yet it's hard to ignore his evolving relationships with other few people he has in his life. Character development of Reiko, Nagasawa and Midori is fantastic. (Sorry can't explain who they are).

I loved the books Toru reads in the novel and sometimes they are mentioned really aptly. Like Thomas Mann's novel 'The Magic Mountain' when he goes to visit his friend Naoko in sanitorium. Premise of book and sanitorium. There is a cryptic remark from Reiko wrt to that in the book.

The book reminded me a lot of Murakami's short story collection (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman) - the story Firefly and the cover story - lot of it has gone into Norwegian Wood. And consistency of few details in these books makes me speculate once again some parts of it are maybe autobiographical. A book one can visit again - I found several quotes inside that I was nodding to in earnest. ( )
  poonamsharma | Apr 6, 2013 |
Very good and worth reading. Still, I liked Wind-up Bird better. ( )
  mjennings26 | Apr 3, 2013 |
I'm giving this four but I'd like to give it 3.5 but I'm leaning closer to 4 than 3. I'm not sure why rating this is so difficult for me. ( )
  jnorath | Apr 2, 2013 |
Niente pozzi o uomini-pecora: bel libro ma non entusiasmante. Murakami �� sempre un piacere da leggere: adoro le pennellate di musica e letteratura che adornano i suoi libri: dopo questo, non ho potuto fare a meno di leggere "Il grande Gatsby" ( )
  david-e | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-25 of 150 (next | show all)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
22 avail.
1073 wanted
7 pay5 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.01)
0.5 5
1 20
1.5 7
2 114
2.5 38
3 506
3.5 179
4 1067
4.5 212
5 887

Audible.com

Three editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,487,196 books! | Top bar: Always visible