Book Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami




“Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn't give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. The scenery was the last thing on my mind.” 
― Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood

“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.” 
― Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood

“But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.” 
― Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood
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Norwegian Wood is a book that greatly changed and made me stop and think for a long time over my own past experiences with love and life. Murakami did an amazing job with this book and it calls and reaches out to many college students alike. The vivid observations from Toru's view of Tokyo in 1969-1970 and vivid details that paint a portrait of the scenes just left me in awe with my mouth open. It was a fairly easy and fluid read for me. This is the third book I've read by Murakami. 

The book strongly goes along the course of natural order or natural ways of life. Don't try to go against it and take it as it is laid before you. The characters in the book all change and grow and yet their determination and stubbornness in whatever they are chasing after never sways. They are all set on different goals and dreams. It's an unbelievably cruel, depressing story that leaves the reader with chills. 

I feel that one of the biggest themes in the book is the struggle of trying to fit into society and yet some fail in the book. They could not longer stand the ways and obligations of society and chose to run from the fear of society itself. A breakdown. There are a lot of tragic moments in the book and my heart still aches at the end. Murakami's books are always filled with characters that are so messed up that its so fun and tragic to read. 

My favorite character would have to be Midori though she was crazy in some ways, but she was a sturdy girl that is so strong, so full of life, and bright that Toru needs after so much that happened. She is just so lively all the time and independent that would attract anyone to her. 

My least favorite character would have to be Nagasawa. He is such an assbutt. Hatsumi was way too good for him and he-- I wouldn't say take for granted but he was just a douche who should just die. He seriously pissed me off in the entire book. Such a playboy but intelligent and had big dreams. Hatsumi must have been blind to love him so much and then....well that's for you guys to read if you haven't. 

I did wish that Murakami extended some scenes more about Hatsumi and Nagasawa than just telling in a short paragraph what happened after two years. Overall, a hell of a read and I am looking forward to watching the movie for it. I heard it was a huge disappointment though and didn't do the book justice much. 

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