Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is one of those books that might perplex a lot of readers.
Norwegian Wood seems to be ‘the book’ that catapulted Murakami into an internationally acclaimed spotlight, causing those who have kind of of heard of his work to pick this book up and then wonder what the heck is going on. After all, they’ve heard Murakami’s work borders a little on the strange, unusual, dreamy or unreal, but this book, well, considering they don’t know any better, may come off as just another slightly twisted love story.
But that’s the thing, they don’t know any better.
Murakami readers who read Norwegian Wood will notice that while, yes, the story seems fairly ordinary on the surface, there is still a very unusual undercurrent running through the tale. So much suicidal death surrounds Toru, for one, as well as the love he feels for Kizuki that can never be quite reciprocated, emotionally or physically.
And then there’s all the other characters – Midori, Naoko, Nagasawa and Storm Trooper, who all have their odd little lives to deal with.
So you see, Norwegian Wood isn’t an ordinary story, not if you really peel its layers and bury yourself within them. But if you’re looking for Murakami magic, this may not be the place to start. Read his other stuff first – Kafka on the Shore, Dance Dance Dance, and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman are some good places to start. If you like what you read, come back and read this one later, and you’ll see what I mean. This seemingly ordinary story, is far from ordinary.