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review 2018-12-09 17:56
Simply sublime
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

A few years ago I read "What I talk about when I talk about running" which was an introduction to the wonderful world and easy writing style of Haruki Murakami. Why it has taken me so long to read more of his works I do not understand but having just finished the astounding Norwegian Wood I plan to read everything that this truly wonderful author has ever written. Norwegian Wood takes place at the end of the 60's and early 70's and follows the adventure and student life of Toru Watanabe and his love and torn loyalties for two women :Naoko (girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki who committed suicide by hanging) and an impulsive young woman called Midori, one representing the future and one the past.


This story is a celebration of life at a time when free love was the norm and the songs of the Beatles were changing the face of popular music and culture as we knew it. Through Watanabe we enter a world of easy friendships and relationships, a world of casual sex and untimely death mixed with pain and suffering loss and desire. I loved the easy manner that Murakami told his story a simple style yet with every sentence having a deep impact on the reader as we are taken on a memorable journey following the highs and lows of a group of young people at an impressionable time in their lives and in an ever changing world...simply wonderful and inspiring. Highly Recommended.

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text 2018-12-07 08:18
Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 296 pages.
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

This is superb writing the only other book I have read by Haruki Murakami is What I talk about when I talk about running. In Norwegian Wood the writing is effortless and just flows the pages pass by I so look forward to reading more by this literary genius...

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review 2017-03-22 15:04
Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

Beautifully written and well executed. Unfortunately, by choosing the emotionally distant writing style it fails to move me as a reader.

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review 2016-11-05 00:00
Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami "Norwegian Wood" is a curious book. The story follows an unconventionally stable plotline, with few twists, turns, rises, falls, or denouements. This book is a journey, a linear insight into the life and growth of our melancholic main character, Toru Watanabe. Some readers will tell you that this book has no plot; if you hype yourself up for a conventional read, you may find yourself thinking the same thing. "Norwegian Wood" focuses not on plot or setting or even characterization, but on emotion.

There were things that I liked and disliked about this book, and the distinction between the two parallels a shift in the story between two arcs. The first arc centers around Watanabe's relationship with Naoko, the former girlfriend of his dead childhood friend, Kizuki. Murakami puts a great deal of emphasis on depression and mental illness all throughout the book, and in particular, in this first half. We see Naoko struggle very openly with Kizuki's death, while Watanabe internalizes his feelings and fails to realize how much the loss has changed him. My favorite aspect of the book was this focus on depression and loss, particularly in Watanabe; though he doesn't realize it, he struggles just as much as Naoko does, though in vastly different ways.

Midway through the book, the story shifts the spotlight onto Midori, an outgoing and eccentric student in Watanabe's theater class. This is where the book takes a strange and repetitive turn. Many of Watanabe's interactions with Midori don't make complete sense - possibly due to a cultural gap between reader and book - and are oddly, explicitly sexual. Watanabe struggles in "choosing" between Midori and Naoko for the rest of the book, a plot point which was drawn out for far too long and became boring quickly. The theme of mental illness continues, though, as readers come to realize that even Midori has a tragic background.

To expand on what I said earlier, there are some things about this book that don't translate well at all. There are several uncomfortable and seemingly unnecessary sex scenes in the book (including a 13-year-old girl seducing a middle-aged housewife) which are written in painful anatomically correct prose, like reading out of a medical journal. Some of the cultural norms of Japan in the 60's are hard to understand as well, but interesting nonetheless.

All in all, this book alternated between enjoyable, weird, and heartbreaking. "Norwegian Wood" is somewhat ruthless to its characters, so don't expect a happy ending. If you're interested in a slow, emotionally-driven journey, give this book a shot.

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review 2016-06-27 15:17
Norwegian Wood By Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

This is supposedly the novel that made "Haruki Murakami " famous . .


     summary :


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.


       review :


Where do i begin? .... i assumed this book had a slow start but turns out that's how the entire story goes until the very  end , There is no real story to be told , and the plot is boring and barely existing. 

The characters don't spark any interest either , we have:

"Toru" a student who can't decide anything so instead he wallows in his self pity

"Naoko" a depressed girl who has no experience with the real world & her roommate "Reiko" who i still don't know what's her role in the story

"Midori" she's supposed to be the "independent and sexually liberated young woman" but throughout the story she is nothing but clingy and insecure,  i swear i thought it was a joke with all that "oh please don't leave me" attitude.  Actually here's one of her best moments *I'm being sarcastic *:


"I'm looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I  tell you I want to eat strawberry shortbread. And you stop everything you're doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortbread out to me. And I say I don't want it any more and throw it out the window. That's what I'm looking for."


Wich of course made our hero "Toru" fall in love with her.


Really, there is no story .. , there is the usual weird sexual content that seems to be "Haruki "'s specialty.  And oh! The ending was just horrible , the most weird ending you could ever read .

I realise that maybe his books aren't for me , so this is the last book I'll read by him.

I would not recommend this book to anyone , or maybe i Would , just to have someone to talk to about that creepy ending.

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