book review: Norwegian Wood

Author: Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood is a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

It is about the protagonist Toru Watanabe and his journey from late teens to early adulthood where in he grapples the loss of his best friend, Kizuki and his trysts with his own sexuality.

Set in the backdrop of 1960s during which the student’s revolutions took place in Tokyo, the book speaks of the hypocrisies in the so called national movement and the affects on the middle class…through Watanabe’s eyes. Watanabe falls in love with Naoko who was Kizuki’s girlfriend. Naoko is an introvert and is projected to be a docile character fighting her own demons. Watanabe later falls for the vivacious and outspoken Midori.

The story-line is simple which talks about the interpersonal relationships through the eyes of the protagonist.

Ups: Murakami’s language lucidity is simply too good and the writer in me couldn’t help but read in awe. Its picturesque and completely endowed with metaphorical retorts and personified garbs. Through the ups and downs it keeps a smile on your face irrespective of the age group you belong to. Another crucial part is i touches upon mental health… albeit not in a very serious manner.

Flipside: As a reader with a flair for pace, i found the book to be over-hyped. It wasn’t as intriguing as projected. there were times I zoned out mid-way only to go back few lines and get to the plot. It could be due to the time frame when it was first written… it could also be the cultural deviations form India… Overall the reader sentiment wasn’t aroused as i went through the chore of completing the book!

Available on Amazon as paperback and kindle versions

Also made into a motion picture.

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