Here’s another book I never thought I’d read or review.
(Well no that’s not true, I’ve always been interested in Haruki Murakami’s work – I’ve just never had reason to read it until now). This book was recommended to me by a very dear friend, who I greatly admire, and who I hope to continue to read books with in the future.
I never expected to like it as much as I did, going in with absolutely no idea of what the novel was about (only that they did a film adaptation in 2010, which I need to see).
Norwegian Wood is a beautifully written, albeit unconventional coming of age story – written from the point of view of young man during his late teens to his twenties.
For once I’m not going to write a brief summary of the novel because there is just too much to say and too much that goes on.
It follows the story of Toru Watanabe as he deals with his sexuality and the relationships with various women he comes to know. The novel emphasizes love and the various forms of it, loss, and very complex ideas of acceptance.
“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.”
Strangely enough, what I got out of this book was peace and tranquility – and perhaps that is an odd answer.
I felt extremely calm with the way the words flowed like poetry and with ease. I can’t explain why, but I enjoyed the book more because of the feeling of peace it gave me and not for the story (even though the story was complex and extremely enjoyable). Although some may find it boring, and very flat-toned I for one, found it extremely enjoyable. And perhaps other readers think Watanabe is boring, and doesn’t do much with his life, but I found the characters to be extremely relatable (but what does that say about me as a person).
Perhaps readers may find Watanabe extremely unconventional or perhaps exceptionally ordinary. But he is an honest, and I believe very respectable, young man who is surrounded by events that are out of his control and people whom he doesn’t understand (or at least he tries to).
The story is slow but very well-paced, calm, intuitive, and extremely reflective. Perhaps not a typical coming of age story, but something I think I would recommend to young adults (I mean in their early twenties).
I believe in the future I’ll try to pick up more of Murakami’s novels, but for now I have to work on all the books currently sitting on my shelves.
5/5 Hearts of Love