Meg's Reviews > Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Nov 22, 10

bookshelves: japan
Recommended for: someone who likes Murakami's writing but wants something more down-to-earth
Read from October 30 to November 19, 2010

I picked up Norwegian Wood, because I wanted to give Murakami another chance. I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle last year and was not a fan. Although I enjoyed Murakami's voice and writing style (or at least how it comes across through Ruben's translation), but I finished the novel with a huge question-mark plastered across my face. I felt like everything went over my head, and I just didn't "get it." Everything was just too fantastic, and I couldn't extract the message from all the novel's crazy events.

I enjoyed Norwegian Wood much more. I felt that the books are surprisingly similar in their characters (I could almost draw a one-to-one mapping), and both works are not particularly plot-driven. The stories are about the development of the characters rather than the actual events that shape them, and the tone of both books is very subdued.

However, unlike Wind-Up Bird, the book is grounded in realism. Although Murakami makes a characteristic well reference early on, there is no surrealism and nothing particularly fantastic. These are life-like characters in life-like situations with no mystical happenings.

I can almost liken Norwegian Wood to the book's "Ami Hostel" retreat. It provides a quiet, calm environment that allows the reader/patient to heal himself through introspection and reflection. However, the book often feels a tinge melancholy, but peaceful at the same time.

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Reading Progress

11/08/2010 page 105
27.0% "Glad I gave Murakami's fiction another try. Although the plot and writing feel similar, I'm enjoying this one much more than Wind-Up Bird, because it's less fantastic."
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