Book Review: Norwegian Wood

I was not expecting Norwegian Wood to be the type of book that it was. My high school teacher referred this book to me to read at the end of my senior year, so I was expecting it to be a book that would enlighten me and inspire me before I went to college. Funny enough I didn’t read the novel until after I graduated college and I found out that the novel was quite erotic and not really enlightening. (Kind of strange for a high school teacher to recommend that book to a student, don’t you think?)

I’m not really good at giving summaries of novels or films without giving too much away, so here’s a summary that I copied and pasted from the back of the book:

“Toru, a quiet and prenaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual obsession is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.”

I would rate this book at 7/10. I enjoyed the imagery in the novel since it took place in Japan. I noticed that when a novel takes place anywhere else besides the United States that the main form of transportation is public transportation. In Japan, of course, their main way of transportation is by train. Although this wasn’t really the focus of this novel, it was something I noticed throughout reading it.

Yes, this novel is pretty erotic. There were detailed scenes and I really did not go into reading the book thinking it would be that graphic. The novel was also really sad, which is why I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy reading about other peoples’ pain, but sometimes I prefer reading through a sad novel with an ending that they leave for you to interpret yourself. I have read that Japan has a significantly high suicide rate compared to other countries and this novel does mention suicide. After knowing that fact and reading this novel, it made it seem a little more realistic than other fiction novels I usually read.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes in the book. It that has no importance to any part of the novel, but I’m just so much of a foodie that it really resonated with me.

“It’s good when food tastes good […] It’s kind of like proof you’re alive” (Murakami, 191).

To give you a little background on books I enjoy reading, my favorite genre is fiction. I would say my top two favorite styles of fiction are thrillers and historical fiction. My favorite thriller is Girl on the Train and my favorite historical fiction is Kite Runner. I haven’t read many books in my lifetime, but I do know what I like to read and what I don’t. I’ve come to realize that I’m not too big a fan of self-help books, but I want to give some business books a try. I have a long list of books I’d like to read, so I hope I go through more books in 2019 than I have in 2018.