‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami

Everybody keeps on telling me to read something written by Murakami. Mainly because of his use of magic realism (or real magicism… whatever, you get it).

Of course, I can’t possibly just do what I’m told and I chose the only book he wrote about sheer reality. Some say it might be even inspired by his own life.

He says it’s not.

And the book is… (drum roll here) …’Norwegian Wood’!!!

There were plenty of ways in which this Japaese adventure could go wrong the moment I turned the first page. Starting with the fact that I was certain that the title actually referred to some woods. In Norway.

You can guess, I hadn’t bothered reading the back cover.

Luckily, Murakami is the kind of writer you love despite the location and I am not ashamed to say I fell desperately in love with him right at the first paragraph (along with the revelation: “Ah! That’s what the title is about! The song!”).

It’s a love that lasted almost 400 pages, where a lot of passion and sex was involved, as well as an awful lot of walking.

Then I got to the last paragraph. That’s when I finally lifted my head from the pages and asked aloud to an empty room: “Why?”

No, seriously, why?

I’m asking to anyone who has read the book and who is willing and able to get into this discussion. Why?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, open the book and read again the last paragraph. It’s only a few lines, it’ll take thirty seconds. Then come here and comment to this post and tell me please: Why?

If Haruki Murakami is reading this (which I find very likely…), please tell me, why? And also, please write me letters. I need to read your words regularly or I’ll die for love…of your words, of course, you can stay where you are.

I just realized I haven’t written a word about the story. Well, that’s fairly simple: there’s Watanabe, in love with Naoko, who’s his best friend Kizuki’s girlfriend. Then there’s Midori, who falls in love with Watanabe. Then there’s Reiko, the coolest person on earth.

This is the story of Watanabe, at least the story of his life from 1968 to 1970, right in the middle of the cultural revolution, if you want to call it that way.

There, go and read the book, all the way to the end. Then come back here and tell me: Why?

As always, more details about the book on Goodreads.

If you want to get the book, you might find your way through Amazon.

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4 Comments

  1. I have read many Murakami books but for some reason I would get stuck reading Norwegian Wood. Then I picked it up again recently and this time I was grabbed. I was filled with fear as I read it – I thought Naoko would end up in the well. I guess she did in a way. There are a few moments when I thought why did he do that as a writer (like when he spelled out the Naoko and Kizuki triangle when he was with Nagasawa and his girlfriend) but hey!! who am I to carp? Wow – what a writer. He makes you see your own life like a meditation with all the detail of the present moment. And he grips you with the most mundane detail. It is all so human. A master.

    1. I did think the same thing sometimes, I stopped after a scene and asked myself “Why did he (Murakami) do that?”. But you know what? I think he knew best. In a way, it was like putting you in the right mindset for what came next (or did not come next).
      And I have to thank you for coming up to me that day (one day) and say: “You’ve got to read Murakami!”
      So, there. Thank you for this!

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