Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

I once had a girl or should I say, she had me once…/ She showed me her room, isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?” (Norwegian Wood, The Beatles)

When Toru Watanabe hears these lyrics by The Beatles on a plane to Frankfurt, his life as a student in Tokyo from over 20 years ago resurfaces in his mind. His Proustian experience centres on the image of his first love, Naoko.

At first, this novel may appear to depict a sad and touching love story, but soon you will discover that Norwegian Wood offers a lot more . It describes student life with its casual sex and easy friendships, set against the disruptive lifestyle of the late 60s and early 70s. The love story between Toru and Naoko is therefore drawn on the background of student riots, of Marxist groups, of young dreaming communists.

The element of surprise is essential to enjoy the beauty of this book, so I cannot give away too much .  But I will tell you that the autobiographical style seems very authentic. By the end of the book, the reader has been convinced that all the events must have actually happened in Murakami’s life and are not works of total fiction. This feeling (and of course, The Beatles as the backing track) testifies to Murakami’s outstandingly high quality of writing.

Words by Madalina Glavan

Follow Vintage Books, Murakami’s English publishers, on Twitter @vintagebooks



About Madalina G.

I value truth and beauty. I love philosophy, literature, good films and old art. I am preoccupied with injustice and inequality in society. More than anything, I love writing, so this blog is my way of putting all my passions together, piece by piece.
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4 Responses to Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

  1. Pingback: Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami | Books & Feminism

  2. Pingback: Book Review | ‘After Dark’ by Haruki Murakami « Wordly Obsessions

  3. Pingback: Book Review | ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami « Wordly Obsessions

  4. Pingback: Quick Review | ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ – Haruki Murakami « Wordly Obsessions

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