Norweign Wood

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” – Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami

About the Author

Haruki Murakami , born January 12, 1949) is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. Murakami’s most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chasee (1982), Norwegian Wood(1987), Kafka on the Shore(2002), and 1Q84 (2009–10). It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the “recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness” he weaves into his narratives.

Blurb of the Story

The story is about Wantanbe be who loses his friend at the age of 17 and is in love with Naoko. She was girlfriend of his best friend who he lost. The loss of person has had deep impact on the lives. Watanabe understands that death isn’t opposite of life but a part of it which we can’t run always from. Both Naoko and Wantanbe attend their respective universities in Tokyo. Naoko leaves college to join in a sanatorium to take of her mental health. Meanwhile Wantanbe meets with a girl from his class Midori and they start to like each other. Will he able to his future course ? Will be able to come out of the conflict with the past he stuck with and the future who will change his life.

I really like you, Midori. A lot.”
“How much is a lot?”
“Like a spring bear,” I said.
“A spring bear?” Midori looked up again. “What’s that all about? A spring bear.”
“You’re walking through a field all by yourself one day in spring, and this sweet little bear cub with velvet fur and shiny little eyes comes walking along. And he says to you, “Hi, there, little lady. Want to tumble with me?’ So you and the bear cub spend the whole day in each other’s arms, tumbling down this clover-covered hill. Nice, huh?”
“Yeah. Really nice.”
“That’s how much I like you”

When Naoko went to sanatorium to recover from her depression and loneliness, Wantanbe was there for her as a constant support to help her recover and his love for her. Meantime he meet Midori who feel in love over the course of their friendship. She was the one to propose to him and eventually he had to accept his feeling for her. The condition of Naoko was deteriorating and had to be sent to Mental Hospital for further and proper treatment. Although it seemed she was recovering, only to come back to sanatorium with the decision to suicide. Her sudden death affected Naoko and Rieko her roommate. Toru Watanbe drifted from the world and went about travelling wanting to forget what happened to him. He had seen two deaths in his life, one his best friend at age of 17 and other Naoko at the age of 21. He couldn’t his past with her and couldn’t dive into his future with Midori who was alive and living in the in the present

Opinion and Rating

His struggle and confusion between the past and future is what made his life difficult. He is faced with in numerous question with his own life. As reader, it leaves them with lot of unanswered questions. There is not clear clarity with happens with Watanbe and Midori. But it raised question between life and death and it makes us understand that life and death are not two separate entities. Death is part of life and we should ready to eventually face it

Thus I would rate the book 3/5


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