Writers of Color Book Club discussion

Norwegian Wood
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Book Discussions > Norwegian Wood Discussion Chps 1-4

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Adira (introvertinterrupted) | 391 comments Mod
Here we will be discussing the first four chapters of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Please be mindful of using the (view spoiler) tab.

Lynecia (luvnecia) I just started chapter 4, and I can see that this is not a plot driven novel, it's more about the characters. I must admit, I found the first two chapters snooze-worthy, but once you get a better picture of Toru and Naoko's relationship, it starts to pick up.

My question is, and this is not a spoiler, what do you all think that firefly scene represented at the end of chapter 3? It had such a cinematic quality to it.

Maria Nilsson (marianilsson) | 17 comments I really enjoy this book so far. I like the slowness of it and I find all of the characters to be interesting and multi dimensional. The one thing that feels a bit unnatural to me is the dialogue. The phrasing and the wording is beautiful but it's just too well crafted and poignant to feel realistic at times.

Lynecia, I also had the notion that the firefly scene must have some special importance when I read it. It was quite a distinct sidetrack from the overall story line.

message 4: by Lynecia (last edited Nov 12, 2014 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lynecia (luvnecia) I felt like that about the dialogue as well. I think it might be the translation.

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Antonia (presidentonia) | 12 comments I have some issues with the translation, so I don't know how I'll be able to get through this :(

Amber I didn't warm up to this until after page 30. Now, I am finding myself more interested in reading it each night. One of my goodreads friends reviewed this by asking, "Can books be written in a minor key?" This sums up the atmosphere I feel when I read the book. It is slow and not plot-driven and I think that is what gives it the "minor key" feel.

I think I read the firefly scene 2 or 3 times and couldn't quite figure out the symbolism there. It definitely seemed to have some significance.

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Gunia I felt the same way about the firefly scene, but I keep reading and there's nothing about it yet. As for the dialogues I don't think it is the translation; I'm reading the translation into Spanish and I noticed the same thing. I just thought it was part of the "air" of the book.

Lynecia (luvnecia) I wonder if it's the same translator for all of Murakami's books.

Lynecia (luvnecia) Thanks Stephen. It will be interesting to see if there are differences in each translators work.

Holly Dunn | 1 comments I was heartbroken after the first chapter. It's so beautifully poignant and devastating. I'm completely fascinated by these characters.

I'm also noticing a few motifs that pop up in his other books. The classical music feels like the obvious one, but there's also all the other music that the characters play and talk about. It's very evocative in that way. I can hear some of the songs as I'm reading and will surely have Norwegian Wood stuck in my head for the duration of the novel.

Lynecia (luvnecia) I've never heard the song "Norwegian Wood" so I'm going to listen to it to see if it helps inform my reading.

Louise (atrixa) I didn't think i'd heard Norwegian Wood by the Beatles until I listened to it on Youtube and I recognised it immediately. So far I'm enjoying the novel and it's certainly making me think back to my university days and the relationships I had back then. I didn't understand the firefly part either. The practical side of me was screaming at him to set it free, since it seemed to be dying.

Leonie (pleoniesmith) I'm enjoying the slow build of the story. Like others, I find the translation clunky. It does make the reading less enjoyable, but I don't find that the clunky translation diminishes the development of the characters.

Marion (mariongnd) I'm so late to the party, but oh well...

This month I had quite of a Sci-Fi kick, so let's just say that when I started this book, I wasn't impressed. Rather bored even. Thank God it got better by chapter 2.
As you guys said, this is not a plot-driven story, and I'm still not sure yet how I feel about it, because this Watanabe guy doesn't strike me as a strong character so far.

I completely read through the firefly part... It didn't stick with me (maybe because I read that part around 1.30am last night) and I didn't give it much importance. I was just trying to picture a firefly (I confuse them with dragonflies).

Being French, I'm reading an English translation of a Japanese novel; because why not? But maybe it is why I don't have problems with the Jay Rubin translation.

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