Sunday, June 5, 2016

Book Review : Norwegian Wood ( Haruki Murakami )

Norwegian Wood is Murakami's most normal book till date and his most iconic work too !! With a title inspired by the Beatles hit by the same name, it is solely responsible for his legendary status in the Western world. A love story where most of the characters are closely linked by death, it is devoid of a fairy tale ending. But what else can one expect when you have an mad genius like Murakami takes a shot at penning down romance .

The protagonist Toru lives a world of anonymity to escape his past. But the past has a way of catching up with one and he bumps into someone from his past. Naoko is the childhood sweetheart of his dead friend Kizuki. He falls in love with her and from thereon starts his foray into a world of despair.

The book delves into adolescent sexuality, masturbation, dormitory life, student politics and other such day to day issues that most youngsters have to deal with. But the high point of the book is a normal character, Midori. An absolute delight, the girl is almost like a ray of sunshine on a dark and gloomy day. Despite the problems that plague her family, she carries on living with a braveness that belies her tender age. When she falls in love with Toru, she is already in a relationship but cannot stop herself from being drawn to him. She loves him unconditionally and yet she does not let herself be treated as the doormat. Everything that she does makes it quite apparent that she is both human and superhuman at the same time.

Another lovable character is the woman Reiko who shares a room with Noako at the sanatorium. Her story is something that should be shared with every kid's parents. A child prodigy who has her special powers taken away from her suddenly, she describes her state in these moving lines."No more applause, no one would make a big fuss over me, no one would tell me how wonderful I was."

Overall, it is a wonderful book and arguably most enjoyable ( I think I will tie this one with Kakfa On The Shore ) among all of Murakami's works. Yet, if you used to his dark and oppressive volumes, it may actually comes across as a little too lighthearted. But one that cannot be deemed superficial by any yardstick.

Highly recommended !!


  1. It's been three years since I first completed the book. And two years since I read it again, twice. Still I have it on my bed table. Often I lose myself in its passages exploring and immersing myself in the haunting imagery of love, loss and dwindling joys of adolescence. It is is unforgettably carved in words by Murakami.

    My all time favourite. So happy that you share my admiration for the work.

    Beautiful piece of review Sweta. Simply loved it.

    1. Thank you Anupam !!Yes, I do agree it is worth reading again and again :)