PART I : Prelude to the review
PART II: The Review
Prelude: A Murakami Fan ready for another roller coaster ride
Having read Kafka on the shore and Sputnik sweetheart,I decided it was high time I read the novel that put Haruki Murakami on the map of super stardom.I was already cautioned by one of my friend to not read this one.Still, I approached cautiously and guardedly,recognizing that popularity and quality doesn’t often go hand in hand.I was hoping this book would prove my point wrong but it didn’t .
Review of Norwegian Wood
I’ve been good at reading translations but none of the so called surreality drew me close to this book.This book bugged the hell out of me.First of all, it takes like forever for the characters to introduce themselves.Am okay with the way it was written,but I wouldn’t say the story is gripping.It’s basically a very drawn-out love story with a lot of angst.I literally struggled.I didn’t like any of the characters.The narrator was rather dull and passive.Although it’s pretty clear that I didn’t like the book but I enjoyed some elements though.I enjoyed the writing style, I found it easy to read and the prose was beautiful in places. Also this book focuses on many philosophical topics such as life and death, insanity and normalcy, love and being in love(Though it looks like a convoluted proposition for the characters), etc.
The story is about Toru Watanabe.He’s a student based in Tokyo whose complicated relationships with women constitute the stuff of this book. He idealizes Naoko as his true love, a girl who dated his best friend Kizuki until the latter committed suicide at the age of 17.After Kizuki’s death, Naoko grew increasingly unsettled in this world.Though Toru shares similar feelings of discomfort and isolation in the world, he proves better at handling his loneliness and sadness than Naoko who eventually leaves school to seek psychological help. Meanwhile Toru meets dynamic Midori who he finds himself drawn to despite the strength of his commitment to faraway Naoko.This love-triangle of sorts is set amidst the backdrop of 1970’s Tokyo.It seemed that this story had a pattern: pretty girls were screwed up.The women were needy and dysfunctional (every single one of them, even Midori) and even though Naoko was extremely uninteresting, Toru believed he was in love.
Still couldn’t fathom how is this Murakami’s most popular and famous book.Just how? Yes,it’s romantic but it’s slow and predictable.To be honest, it’s the saddest book I’ve ever read.It’s dark and depressing.Simply put,it’s a tale of suicidal perverts.This book had only two things: SEX!!!! and DEATH!!! . Abundance of sex actually.Weird sex and a lot of death.
Do leave your comments if you think am missing something here