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Norwegian Wood

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  394,114 ratings  ·  24,759 reviews
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 unb ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 12th 2000 by Vintage Books (first published September 4th 1987)
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Nicole Hmm...I would disagree with Zeke and say the movie was actually not that close to the book. And I'm not usually a stickler for accuracy, but it seemed…moreHmm...I would disagree with Zeke and say the movie was actually not that close to the book. And I'm not usually a stickler for accuracy, but it seemed to confuse a lot of events and motives. Here's an instance that I would suggest reading the book before seeing the film. :)(less)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  394,114 ratings  ·  24,759 reviews


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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Twenty Revolutions

The birthday I feared most was my 20th.

For people older than me, the most significant birthday was their 21st.

But when the age of legal adulthood was reduced to 18, turning 21 no longer had the same significance it once had.

Before then, you could be conscripted into the armed forces at 18, but you could not drink alcohol until you turned 21.

So, if you were old enough to die for your country, surely you were old enough to have a drink?

Either way, turning 20 for me meant that I
...more
Bel
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yulia
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
How this book became one of Murakami's most famous and popular baffles me. In fact, when asked about it in an interview, Murakami himself said that he was puzzled by its popularity and that it really isn't what he wants to be known for.

What can I say? There's too little of the characters that do spark my interest and much too much of the depressive girlfriend and her kooky friend at the mental institution. Also, the scenes which were supposed to be funny about his college roommate didn't intere
...more
Kenny
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Norwegian Wood ~~ Haruki Murakami


1

WOW ~~ what a terrific read Murakami's Norwegian Wood is! I loved this book. Even without the presence of talking cats, hollow earth monsters, and dimensional shifting characters, Norwegian Wood is a magical read. Best of all, we still get those Murakami flourishes of The Beatles (obviously), references to THE GREAT GATSBY, a character or two with unique
...more
Malbadeen
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: ego tripping, fantasy dwelling men
UGH!!!
This book bugged the hell out of me for a few reasons:
#1. There is a somewhat extended passage devoted to a lesbian encounter that wouldn't be so terrible in and of itself, as sex in general is a major topic BUT the novel as a whole leaned towards describing the physiological experience the woman were having and would brush over the mens again and again. There would be like 5 paragraphs on the woman and then 1 sentence were it would say something along the lines of, "she took me in her han
...more
Jim Fonseca
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a relatively early novel by this author, 1987. The book jacket tells us that this book booted him up from being a famous author to ‘superstar status.’ On GR it is one of his most highly-rated books.

It’s also the only -- I’ll call it ‘straightforward’ -- novel of the five or so of his I have read. There is no science fiction or magical realism. No women in bars who may be ghosts, no hanging out in deep wells, no psychic cats, just a single moon.

description

We do have, as usual in Murakami, a cat, m
...more
Nandakishore Mridula
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me...
She showed me her room, isn't it good, Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, "It's time for bed"

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn't and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I l
...more
Connie Rea
Great ending. This sure was the saddest book I've ever read. Seems very dark and depressing, but the light comes out at the very end and you can see the sunshine through the clouds. I've never read a book like this and to be honest, I'm not sure I ever want to read another one. It just takes a piece of you and leaves you feeling a little empty. I don't even know how to explain it. It's like traveling up a mountainside on a dark gray day. Yes, the beauty is still there, but you have to look for i ...more
Sean Barrs
Murakami divides his novel into two. There is the past and death. Then there is future and life. What road do you take?

Seems like an easy question to answer. But what happens when you are in love with the past? And what happens when you so desperately want to save that past from such a death? Life becomes complicated and the prospect of the future feels like a brutal betrayal of one who is desperately clinging to you. You are her anchor; her only connection with reality. And you love her. How ca
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
ノルウェイの森 = Noruwei No Mori = Norwegian wood (1987), Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood is a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

A 37-year-old Toru Watanabe has just arrived in Hamburg, Germany. When he hears an orchestral cover of the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood", he is suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of loss and nostalgia.

He thinks back to the 1960's, when so much happened that touched his life. Watanabe, his classmate Kizuki, and Kizuki's girlfriend Naoko are the best of friends. Kizu
...more
Mutasim Billah
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, japan
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”


CAUTION: This isn't a love story

This was my first introduction into the world of Murakami. This isn't a sappy love story as some Murakami fans would like to tell you. Haruki Murakami himself was baffled by the popularity that this story achieved due to the novel's departure from the usual surrealist themes that are associated with his novels. The fame achieved through Norwegian Wood
...more
Kristin Myrtle
I can't explain it! I want to inhale the pages of this book, grind them up, and snort them right up my nose! I want in placed directly in my brain, my very BLOODSTREAM! Murakami's words make me feel just like Nicole Kidman in that scene in Moulin Rouge where she is rolling around on that fur rug in her negligee, moaning and writhing in pleasure and saying 'Yes! Yes! Dirty words! More! More! Naughty words!' Although Murakami's words aren't so much naughty and dirty as they are prismatic and myste ...more
Markus
Oct 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
"Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything revolved around death."

Welcome to Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami; a tale of a bunch of suicidal perverts in Japanese universities.

No, honestly. This book is essentially about two things: sex and death. There are hidden meanings everywhere, but when you cut away that and go to the core, that’s what’s left. And my, does the book have a lot of sex. Weird forms of sex. And a lot of death. And not in a good wa
...more
Sophia.


Turns out I can't find a SINGLE fuck to give. It takes forever to start, the characters are bland and absolutely unrealistic, they don't sound real, the sex is so unhealthy and weird and awkward, the narrator is pretentious as fuck, the dialogues are painful, and the plot -- huh, wait, there's no plot.

So yeah. Big, fat DNF.
...more
daph pink ♡
oh my god. Norwegian wood  just flew by. I didn’t feel anything reading this. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t care overall.

YIKES!
Luffy
I don't have many meaningful things to say about Norwegian Wood. First, a disclaimer. This is, by no means, a romance book - no offence meant. I cannot suffer to attach such a tacky word on this book. Oh, what do I know, it IS a romance book. But it is laterally more than that.

Like Dickens, Murakami fuels his potboiler with death of the innocent. Each one is offing herself. That's right. What really matters is the subtext. In all superficial opinion, Watanabe is having a normal college life. But
...more
MJ Nicholls
Apr 01, 2012 marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
Question: How much Norwegian Wood would a Norwegian woodchuck chuck if a Norwegian woodchuck could chuck Norwegian Wood? Answer: The same amount as a Swedish woodchuck. So I read 160 pages of this novel. Then I hit a four-day Reader’s Block (also precipitated by problems in my personal life, but I’ll save those for Oprah) and read nothing. I called a librarian and explained the problem. She suggested I undergo an intense course of Murakami Avoidance Therapy (MAT), whereby I put down all Murakami ...more
Adam Dalva
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I revisited Norwegian Wood remembering nothing about my college year experience with it, nothing except that I loved it. And I can see why: the plot is propulsive, with Murakami’s kinetic prose once again keeping me up late; the lead character is a well-realized loner archetype; the world, 1960s Japan during the student protests, glimmers in the background. There are excellent long-sequences (hospital visit, fire, sanatorium) It is salacious and often funny, well-observed:

“The second feature was
...more
Em Lost In Books
I started reading this book back in February but I think timing was not right and we didn’t click. I stopped after 20%, and also I thought it was weird with all its sex talk, alcoholism, and suicides. Fast forward to June and my buddy said she was reading and I had to read this, at least give it a try before finally ditching it. I wanted to have something in my defense when I tell my group of friends that why I didn’t like this book (he is super popular among my friends).

"But who can say what
...more
jessica
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘death is not the opposite of life, but an innate part of it.’

imagine you are standing in the middle of the road. to the left is the past, lined with death. to the right is the future, paved with life. sometimes we become so focused on choosing one way over the other that we forget how interconnected the two are, that we cant go in one direction without having previously come from the other.

there are a lot of themes/components to this novel (so much so that each deserve their own review), b
...more
Michael
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
A mawkish coming-of-age tale masquerading as a love story, Norwegian Wood is a straightforward take on the bildungsroman. Set in the late sixties in Tokyo, the novel follows Toru, a reticent college student, as he comes to terms with the death of his best friend from high school while juggling relationships with two women, one fun loving and one melancholy. The novel alternates between lengthy descriptive passages, repetitive introspection, and one-sided conversations Toru has with the talkative ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one is as dark as your fears.

Murakami's writing brings me a kind of comfort. No, not the nature-painting-classical music kind of comfort. It's the comfort I get from seeing the transparency of all the ugliness of the dark side of us in our beingness. However dark and deadly his writing seems to be, all I can feel is the subtle pink and peach hues of tenderness while reading his books. This is the first book of Murakami that I have ever read.

There's a lot of dark themes that are represented
...more
Carley
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
this shit was good... 5/5 stars for prose but lost a star because anytime a woman enters the plot the main character either has sex with her or talks about her body :)
Rajat Ubhaykar
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
“That song can make me feel so sad,” said Naoko. “I don't know, I guess I imagine myself wandering in a deep wood. I'm all alone and it's cold and dark, and nobody comes to save me. That's why Reiko never plays it unless I request it.”
- Naoko about Norwegian Wood

“It makes me feel like I'm in a big meadow in a soft rain.”
- Naoko about Michelle.

“Thinking back on the year 1969, all that comes to mind for me is a swamp - a deep, sticky bog that feels as if it's going to suck off my shoe each time
...more
Lou
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This Story is on one side a story of misadventure and a melancholic exploration of adolescent love and another side a thought-provoking and poignant study of memory, morality and mortality. Murakami never disappoints and always writes with a poetic richness that leaves almost every line hanging with symbolic possibility, loved it!
The main protagonist takes you back to the 1960s and his youthful goings on with his peers, his adventures are steamy so comes with adult warning! The story is set in
...more
Apoorva
Norwegian Wood begins with Toru Watanabe, a 37 year old man traveling to Hamburg. After hearing the 'Norwegian Wood' by Beatles, he is overcome with nostalgia and begins musing about his teenage years.

At the age of 17, Kizuki, his best friend, decides to end his life leaving behind Toru and his girlfriend, Naoko, broken. Toru and Naoko bond after his death and Toru tries to offer emotional support to Naoko, falling in love with her in the process. But the death of Kizuki, whom Naoko loved ever s
...more
Joel
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: college juniors
This is apparently the Murakami book that "everyone" in Japan has read, and disaffected protagonist Toru Watanabe is apparently a Holden Caulfield-esque figure for a lot of Japanese youth. To me, though, the book less reflects Catcher in the Rye than it predicts Zach Braff's Garden State, an ode to a time in life when the big choices seem so big that you don't end up making them at all, and find yourself instead drawn to the safety and comfort of nostalgia and memory.

Though it's set in Japan, an
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
By this point, I've read several Haruki Murakami books. I've really come to appreciate not only his use of language and the meditative quality he evokes, but also the sense of the surreal. Frankly, I like the convoluted twists and turns, the improbable histories and even the talking cats. One of his earlier novels, Norwegian Wood is well-written and has a fairly straightforward plot. It also had that reflective quality I like. So I knew I was reading Murakami, but I wanted the protagonist to loo ...more
Baba
So. Damn. Good. Toru Watanabe is reminded of the love, and of the pain, of his youth every time he hears Beatles' songs such as 'Hey Jude' and... 'Norwegian Wood'. The reader is then cast back to Toru's late teenage and early 20s youth in the late '60s and early '70s centred around Tokyo. A simple premise - an old(er) person recalling their youth? Not with Murakami is it isn't! So. Damn. Good.

Murakami surprised many at the time, by writing a 'normal' novel as opposed to his magical realist mains
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014

I straightened up and looked out the plane window at the dark clouds hanging over the North Sea, thinking of what I had lost in the course of my life: times gone forever, friends who had died or disappeared, feelings I would never know again.

I almost stopped reading after this maudlin and downbeat opening passage. There are doors that I have kept closed for years, memories of my own I thought are better left alone there, regrets and lost connections with people that were at one time the most i
...more
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Fanatieke Nederla...: Norwegian Wood - extra buddyread mei - juli 18 47 Jun 17, 2021 09:09AM  
Is Reiko evil? 43 2557 Jun 14, 2021 10:14AM  
BookShook: Is the narrator 'judgy'? 1 20 May 01, 2021 08:21AM  
Plotgenoten: Na het lezen 7 10 Mar 29, 2021 12:49PM  

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Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
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