Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2011
Summary from goodreads
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
One thing I love about slowly reading Murakami’s works is that every one is different from the rest (well, at least so far). Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age book that is beautifully written, impossible to put down, and a very emotional read.
I have heard that in Japan, this is the Murakami book that everyone has read, which I see. It doesn’t go quite as deep as some of his others, but on the other hand, it goes incredibly deep into a subject that almost everyone is connected to in some way – depression. He explores it in a very open and honest way. Not only showing the pain of struggle of being depressed, but also the effect it has on the people who love those that are depressed. It especially focuses on how difficult it can be to deal with that as a young person trying to find their place in the world.
That aspect is what makes this more than a love story, but it is a love story in addition to being a coming-of-age. It shows all aspects of a first love – the phase where all you see is the great, the hard times, and the eventually drifting apart and finding new love that actually has a chance to last.
If you are interested in Murakami, but are not sure, this is a great starting point…as long as you are okay with language and sex in your books. I really loved reading this book and hope you do too!