Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

Short description ( Toru Wanatabe, 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. A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

Norwegian Wood, a Beatles-song (Rubber Soul). It’s played several times in the book. At first I thought I didn’t know the song, but of course I did. Like you all will. If you think you don’t, check out this YouTube-video. The song is starting with the words “I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me”. And yes, the girl once had him. Or better, the girl had him for eternity. When Wanatabe hears this song he remembers his youth, the time he was studying. He remembers the loss of his dearest friend and the love-affairs he had.
Norwegian Wood is about life and death, love and friendship, happiness and sadness. Wanatabe tells you everything he thinks and feels. About his love for Naoko and Midori, about him growing up and about the impossible choice he has to make.
I really enjoyed reading it. May be the story is simple, but I like the way Murakami writes. He pulls you into Wanatabe’s world and even after the last words it’s hard to leave it. Great novel. Four stars!

For the dutch Murakami fans, here you can find a website with all kinds of Murakami-events. Another Murakami-website. And for those who would like to read some reviews, this website has got an overview.


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