Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Friday, June 09, 2017

Title: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published Date: September 20th 2003

Publisher: Vintage Books
Pages: 389
Source: Bought

From Goodreads :
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.

Toru, 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.


Hey guys! For my first review, I’ve been thinking about what book I should review first, and only one book came into my mind, which is my personal favorite. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I have read Norwegian Wood for more than three times, you can tell how much I love this book. Every time I read it, it’s as if I’m reading it for the first time, which is amazing. Norwegian Wood is one of those books that will always stays in my heart. 

In the cover of this book, there’s a face of a Japanese girl wearing a bright pink lipstick. To be honest when I first looked at it I was feeling kind of uneasy, as if the girl in the cover was looking at me lol. But then, after a while, I fell in love with the cover, I think there’s a touch of mystery to it for some reason.

Norwegian Wood tells a story about a hopeless and heroic love, about how Toru the main character, keeps holding on to his first love, which sadly rather hopeless. Naoko, the young woman Toru loves, who’s struggling with her own problems is a very complicated character, and moreover it seems that Naoko has been struggling with mental illness since the tragic death of her boyfriend. Naoko’s boyfriend is Toru’s best friend, so just by knowing that you can already tell that this is a very complicated love story. Toru’s world grow bigger when he meets a vibrant young woman named Midori, while Naoko’s world seems to shrink because her condition is getting worse. It’s a story about Toru’s hardship to keep the hope of love alive.

“All of us are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world.”

Each character has their own world and perspective, making them so different and pure. I think everyone can fall in love with Toru, as a character he is so gentle, strong and hopeful even when the situation is the complete opposite. There’s no other words to describe Toru’s love to Naoko than the purest form of sincerity. On the other hand, Naoko is mentally a very weak young woman, it’s as if Naoko is trapped in her own darkness, she is struggling to fix herself, but despite that Naoko shows a beautiful strength in herself, she keeps trying to stay alive despite how broken she is. With Naoko, I think we can all relate to her brokenness as a human being, how as human we always struggle with the past itself and how the past haunts us over and over again, and we are always trying to fix our own brokenness.

Last but not least Midori, a very bright and brave young woman, she is actually my favorite character, because she is the kind of woman that I want to be in a way. Midori is very different from Naoko, the exact opposite actually, she is not soft but rather harsh, she is full of energy and she knows what she wants, and most of all she is not a coward when it comes to love. Midori is the perfect character to add into the story, as the story itself is already gloomy and dark, Midori’s character brings color to it with her odd but funny behavior and her sarcasm. There’s actually some other character, but these three is the main ones that I’d like to point out.

“I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it -- to be fed so much love I couldn't take any more. Just once. ”

What I really love about this book is the realness in it, it’s so pure because it has all the elements there is to life, which is grief, loneliness, emptiness, love, hope, struggle and many other things. So many fiction or contemporary novels is not realistic, as if they only wanted to tell us about the good things in life, which is not how life is, and it makes us think that life is supposed to be that way, beautiful just like in romance movies. But as I’m sure many of you guys know that life is not always pretty and convenient, bad things happen and we have to deal with it whether we like it or not and there’s always something beautiful in life that outlives the bad ones, and that is exactly how Norwegian Wood is, hopeless but also hopeful at the same time.

I am sorry if my words are all over the place, because it’s just hard to describe how good this book is. I guess Norwegian Wood is a book that you have to experience yourself, if I am to choose one word to describe this book it would be poignant.

“Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it's time for them to be hurt.”

Just a little disclaimer, just because this book is a best seller and I loved it to bits, I don’t think that this particular book is for everybody. Norwegian Wood is a pretty dark and depressing novel, and a little bit erotic. So I think, if you’re the type of person that like something light to read, or something bright and hopeful, certainly this book may not suit your taste. But, if you want to go out of your comfort zone and try to read this book that would be amazing. And for those of you who likes something dark and deep I think this book is just the one that you’ve been looking for. 

Also here’s my favorite quote from Norwegian Wood, there’s just so many deep and meaningful quotes that I can’t choose but this one is the best!

“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.”

So that’s all for my first review! I’m sorry if my writing is not perfect, I still have a lot to learn and I hope that my writing will improve in the future! Please do leave some comments if you want to ask me anything, I would love to hear your thoughts, and for those of you who have read Norwegian Wood please do share your opinions about it!

Thank you for your time, have a good one! :)


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  1. Norwegian Wood is a story of loss and nostalgia. Reading it was like being 20 years old again and reading Norwegian Wood… or Demian, or Beneath The Wheel, as Toru does in an episode of the novel.

    Your next review should be about Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro!

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