[Book Review] Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami


Touru Watanabe now a middle aged man boarded a plane from Germany, when the sweet tune of The Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" reached his ears. He soon found himself lost in the nostalgia of his past days and drowing in the memories of his first love Naoko, who was his best friend Kizuki's girlfriend, with that he remembered a promise which he made long ago, "I'll never forget you" he promised Naoko but with his age his memories were fading, to fulfill his promise he decided to immortalize the memory of Naoko in form of a memoir, which we read as the novel.

In the story we find ourselves witnessing Watanabe recollecting the memories from his 20s, new to the glamorous life of tokyo he meets a fellow classmate Midori, a cheerful, full of life girl who takes Watanabe's life by storm and changes it forever. Now what remains for Touru Watanabe is to choose between a hurting past and a happy present

Many say the story is partially inspired from Murakami's own life which he denied in an interview, he said "No its not biographical. My life isn't as interesting as Watanabe-kun's if I were to write a story on my life it would hardly take ten pages" but the setting and environment is unmistakably resembles that Murakami had in his teenage years.


Norweigian Wood is my favourite book and I would easily consider it among one of the greatest books ever written. The thing I liked the most about Murakami's work is they have great depth, which believer me will also make you a Murakami-worshipper once you read it his descriptions make it easily for you to actually picturize  the whole plot and make the characters come to life. Another thing which I like about the story is that I am able to relate to the protagonist Touru Watanabe, he is a simple guy who loves to read and has values of his own.

Murakami has beautifully crafted this modern tale, it is a fable describing the dilemma which most of us experience, whether we should hold on to the hurting past or move on to a happy and fulfilling future. The author takes us on incredible odyssey where we find ourselves on the streets of 70s Tokyo experiencing Watanabe's experiences, tragedies, discovering new aspects of human emotions and relationships.

The book also corners the coming-of-age topics like changing human relationships, love, casual sex, drugs, alcohol, night life, depression, sorrow, etc. I consider it among one of the finest pieces of coming-of-age fiction for youth.
To any one looking for an incredible tale to set home in your heart for the rest of your life, Norwegian Wood is a big YES from me.

About the Author

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer born on January 12th, 1949 in Fujishimi-ku in Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages His work has received numerous awards, including the World Fantasy Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, and the Jerusalem Prize.

Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994–95), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–10). He has also translated into Japanese works by writers including Raymond Carver and J. D. Salinger.

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