Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Abril 22, 2012

Sex. Music. Booze. More sex. Death. Revolution. Hypocrisy. University life. More death.  Young love. 13-Year Old liars. Revolution. Past and Present Subjunctives. Lunch out. Writing letters. Skipping classes. The Beatles. Porn movies. Storm Trooper. Classic novels. Graphic. Erotic. Out of the box. Simple. Twisted. Mad world. Mad people. Past. Present. Real. Imagined. Life. Death again.

I don’t even know how to start a review of this novel so I just thought of typing words and phrases that pretty much sum up my first  Haruki Murakami  experience. I am not even sure if what I will be writing will pass as one.

Norwegian Wood  is all too new for me. I have definitely heard how a lot of people  praise Murakami’s works and Murakami’s ideas as a writer by reading about people’s reviews of his work. But I made it a point not to read the content of whatever Murakami novel they are reviewing or to focus so much on what they think of the story. I had wanted to experience reading his works first hand, with my mind devoid of other people’s thoughts on them. I read reviews just to make sure that I have sufficient background of what it will be like.

Turns out, one can never be completely prepared for Murakami’s unconventional ideas. Norwegian Wood is something like a privileged look at what is going through this man’s mind. It is not really his poetry or artistry you would admire. It’s the sickness of his ideas and the gravity of the impact it will create on you. You will love him and hate him at the same time for doing it. Anyone who has read Norwegian Wood would understand me if I say I had started to look at any 13-year old girl with suspicion now. Or how it would be difficult for me to look at reserved, shy 20-year old women and not think about how she is like when she’s alone with her boyfriend. I am betting Murakami will succeed in “polluting” your head with things you were afraid to imagine or have never even thought of. Whether you are ultra conservative or not is even beside the point.  His hard-to-believe ideas will linger in your head, initially with resistance, but after quite some time, you would be swayed to believing every single thought.

I finished Norwegian Wood after several attempts, probably on my third one. The first time I did read it, I made it until the first or second chapter, then I fell asleep. Weeks after, I tried it a second time and realized I had to reread the first two chapters again. So I did. This time I made it until Chapter 3. Then I seemed to lose interest and decided I’d put it aside first, go back to reading a young adult series, before I return to it. I finished the said series, but I never got back to Norwegian Wood and it lay dusty on my bed for two more weeks. Then last night, I finally found the urge to pick it up. I started rereading everything after dinner, and I stopped at  3 am, reserving the last few pages when I wake up.  I woke up at 10:00, and was done with the book 30 minutes after. It’s funny how I did not find it engaging at first, only to realize after how an interesting masterpiece it is.

I don’t think I should talk about the story. It’s but another love story, yet it’s something more. How sometimes in love you’re afraid to let go of two things at the same time when you’re obliged to make a decision sooner or later. Then it’s also a coming-of-age book. It’s full of inner conflicts, unresolved issues, and crazy ideas. You’d suspect it’s allegorical at some point then one minute you’re no longer sure if the writer just means what he says.

I have two more Murakami books on my book shelf. They’ve been untouched for a month or so. I wonder how my second Murakami experience will be.

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6 Tugon to “Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami”

  1. Kristel Says:

    It took me a while to really get into “Norweigan Wood” too. But it *is* a page-turner once you hit the right rhythm and it’s now one of my favorite books by Murakami. 🙂 Great review!

  2. ylbnoel Says:

    i agree with what you said about sometimes it’s not advisable to read reviews or what people write about what they thought of a book. I haven’t read this book myself but I like the author, one of his books had Sheep in the title, another was about the incident in their subways. Thanks for sharing Prof!


  3. Reviews do affect your thoughts about a book at some extent and that’s what I am trying to avoid every single time. Sometimes you’d convince yourself that something’s a good read even if you hadn’t enjoyed it the least bit just because others said a lot of good things about it. 🙂
    I think you’re referring to A Wild Sheep Chase. I also own that one. It’s actually next on my list of “to-read” books.
    And again, thanks for dropping by!

  4. Gypsy Mary Says:

    Great review on Norwegian Wood. It also deprived me of sleep. I read it from 8pm to 6am..Haruki Murakami is my favorite author and I’m glad you like his style. Kafka on the Shore was my first Murakami experience—talking cats, fish falling from the sky, incest and other unimaginable things. I’m pretty sure your second Murakami experience will be crazy. Haha! He is addictive, i warn you. 🙂


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