Norwegian Wood: Book Review

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: Book Review

Book: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Romance novel
First Published: 1987
Pages: 390
Major Characters: Toru Watanabe, Naoko, Midori, Reiko, Nagasawa

I was not so fond of reading romantic novels; I found them boring. (Maybe I had chosen the wrong books in the past.) But Norwegian Wood completely changed my perception; this masterpiece made me fall in love with romance literature. Let me talk a bit about the book and whether you should read it.

Norwegian wood is one of the most popular books by Murakami. The novel is set in 1960s Tokyo, and reading it is like going to the past when there was no phone and internet. The book derives its name from the beautiful 1965 song by the Beatles.

Norwegian Wood is the story of Toru Watanabe, a Japanese boy who will tell you about his college life and his love story, a heartbreaking love story. At the beginning of the novel, Toru’s childhood friend, Kizuki, died and so he was highly disturbed. After that, he moved to Tokyo and got admitted to a college.

Life was going well, then one day he met his dead friend’s girlfriend Naoko, and they became good friends. Their friendship became strong and took a new turn one day, but Naoko was emotionally troubled and couldn’t take all these. The story is all about how they carry their friendship or relationship further.

What I liked the most in Norwegian Wood is the details; every detail is so beautifully captured that they seem completely realistic. The details pour life into the story; the details make it easy to experience the life of Toru Watanabe. I am surprised by the power of observation of Murakami.

Sometimes the story will make you laugh, and other times it will make you feel sad about the characters. And yes, characters, they are beautifully designed. Each major character has a heartbreaking story that would force you to feel sympathy for them.

It’s an adult novel and contains sexual descriptions, so read it only if you are above 18. The no. of pages in the book is 390, and the language is easy to read. The story has first-person narration, narrated by Watanabe. Now, this is another thing that makes the story interesting, Watanabe.

This is one of the best characters I have come across. He is honest, kind, caring, loyal, humble, book-lover (the last one is important). He is not perfect, and has his weaknesses, but I am sure this character will impress you. Now you can imagine how it will be to see the world through the eyes of Watanabe.

When I finished the novel, I uncontrollably kept running the events in my mind, beginning to end. The story is magical because it is filled with a sense of nostalgia. I have a completely different life than Watanabe, but I ended up feeling nostalgic. The book has left a strange little memory that would never fade away.

Norwegian Wood is a highly romantic story that will teach you about life, death, and love. If you are or were in a relationship or have a complicated love story, you would very well relate to the novel. When I was reading it, I was in real flow, slipping from one chapter to another, and in no time, I finished 390 pages of the book.

Though the story is depressing and sorrowful, but you would love reading it. Just like facing difficult situations in life, reading this painful book would make you feel more alive. I will say whether you like reading love stories or not; you must try this masterpiece.


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