This weeks review is of Norwegian Wood, a text by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The book was published in
I found the book extremely interesting, having been the first book I’ve read that has been translated from Japanese into English. I found the book to be an extremely thought provoking text through it’s themes of youth, sex, emotional instability and suicide, set against the backdrop of political protest in 1960s Tokyo.
The book follows Toru Watanabe, as he arrives in Germany, and hears the titular Beatles song of the book, and revisits his memories of his teenage and university years and both the friendships and the relationships that have formed his life, such as his friend Kizuki and his girlfriend Naoko, which is the films first plot point, igniting after Kizuki’s suicide and Watanabe’s subsequent relationships with the now unstable Naoko and the outgoing, exciting Midori. The book takes us through various parts of Japan, places both familiar and enigmatic.
Having not had any experience in reading any Japanese texts before, I found the culture to be fascinating, even more so after a viewing of Lost In Translation, which had given me a picture of what Tokyo was like. I quickly found this image to change having read Norwegian Wood. The evoking language make the text an uneasy read at times, but at other times endearing and honest and true.
A must read.