Norwegian Wood: A Book Review


Author: Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Vintage Books

Published on: September 2000, (originally published on 1987)

Genre: Romance, Coming-of-age, Contemporary

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

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.


Let me start by saying that this book is not just a love story. In my opinion it equally speaks about each character’s way of dealing with this crazy puzzle of reality. I haven’t read yet the other books of Haruki Murakami and after this I think I may have just added a couple of books to my ever-growing TBR pile.

Let’s get into a little more detail here. First with the writing. Oh, how beautifully constructed the sentences were. Haruki Murakami has a way with words indeed as it is both intricate and deep. Reading it was like one of those moments when you unconsciously take a pause because you just have to feel its existence and think about its meaning. Those kinds of sentences stir your mind, heart and soul and sometimes most of it stays with you and then you live by it for the rest of your life.

With the characters, they all have different battles to fight for but because of it each of the character is interwoven in such a crazy complicated way. I think their lives can be likened to an intricate meshwork of clothing wherein no matter how different one type of fabric is, it can still be connected to another type of fabric by a single piece of thread. With Naoko, I genuinely feel sad and little mad about her. I don’t know but maybe its just the way I’m wired up but I felt optimistic towards her “progress”. I mean, she already have Toru as her anchor here and she’s got Reiko as well and it made me feel like there is redemption for her after all. Really, she caught me off guard I don’t know if I’m being too naive here but I just didn’t expect that of her. Reiko was a butterfly stuck inside the cocoon for what seemed like ages. I love her character–the honesty, the wise words and the friendly aura. She was broken but I think because of that she learned the way of life. She is a funny yet sensible character. Then we have Midori, the coolest character in this book. I like how liberated, honest and deep her character is. She is straightforward about dealing things, she doesn’t mask what she is and how she feels towards things and I like how it makes her a brave character. I find her existence in Toru’s life actually stabilizing. It’s like she brings a whole new world in front of Toru but its sad how sometimes it goes off unnoticed. And finally we have Toru-I fell in love with his mind. I mean his thoughts were dark sometimes I know but it strikes me everytime words come rushing out of his mouth and its so simple yet very thought-provoking. Basically the image down below says it all.


(c) The Reading Room

Honestly, I never thought I’d feel a lot of things with this book. I’ve heard good things about the author but I just thought this book wasn’t my cup of tea until a friend recommended it to me. I mean he’s got all praises for this book and it led me to curiosity. I actually expected less from it, didn’t read any reviews and never asked him more than about the genre to avoid disappointment (yes, i did). And oh boy, how happy I am I did those mentioned above because there was a lot of things that caught me off guard whilst reading it. Haruki Murakami is writer that has left me with sensible and life-saving advises. I admire the life he gives to each of his characters and I’m excited to be reading all of his other books.

Have you read this book? What do you think about it?

17 thoughts on “Norwegian Wood: A Book Review

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