Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thoughts: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Warning: Not a review.

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion 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. - via Goodreads

For the past couple of days, I've been thinking about Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. A part of me just wants to shove the memory that I ever read the book aside, but another part keeps nagging me to write something down. To remember.

There's a portion in the novel where Toru, the narrator, describes his best friend Kazuki as someone who always makes you feel like you're part of the group. Since Kizuki committed suicide, more often than not, Toru doesn't fit in. His peers are reading contemporary Japanese authors, while he's immersed in The Great Gatsby.

Toru's feelings of not really being understood touched me the most. Lately, I've been feeling very awkward in social situations. I tend to say the wrong thing, and I always seem to end up asking myself why my social skills have deserted me.

There's also another portion in the novel where Toru feels like he's stuck in a routine. The aforementioned routine is only shaken up by the appearance of either Midori or Naoko. I feel like that. Everyday feels the same. I'm not saying I want a Midori or Naoko of my own, but I wish I could shake myself out of it.

I think I might be having a quarter life crisis. Whatever it is, there's a lot of stuff going on in my head, so I couldn't step away from Norwegian Wood and examine it objectively.

11 comments:

Nymeth said...

I can relate to this post. It's been a long time since I read this, but I pretty much cried for the rest of the day after I finished it, and to this day I couldn't tell you exactly why.

Tony said...

It is, shall we say, poignant.

There you are, a one word review.

Poignant.

Read Philippines said...

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mooderino said...

This is my least favourite of his books (and I like his writing a lot). There was something about the self-involved nature of the story, the wet sponge of an MC and his dripping in ennui love intrest that wore me down until I didn't really care about either of them.

I do think it captures that period of your 20s when exasperation at why your life isn't better brings everything to a grinding halt, but it turns out (in hindsight) to be a fairly useless period of introspection.

In the end I found the book too indulgent of that self-pitying mode, or possibly to accurate a portrayal of my own experiences at that age. I'm just glad he worte other stuff, none of which feel even remotely like this one.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Trish said...

I've been really curious about Murakami and his books. It sounds like there is a lot to reflect on in his writing. I just recently read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates and had a similar reaction.

Hang in there with your quarter life issues - they were difficult for me too.

theeclecticreader said...

There are some books that we can really identify ourselves in. I've read some of that books and they seem to daunt me in the few days after.

theeclecticreader said...

There are some books that we can really identify ourselves in. I've read some of that books and they seem to daunt me in the few days after.

Zibilee said...

I can also relate to your feelings as well Darlyn. Though I am very boisterous and friendly on the outside, I am plagued by social anxieties to a great degree. It makes me want to just avoid people, or stay behind the safety of my computer screen. No one would ever know that half the time I am being outgoing and talkative, my mind is greatly agitated. It sounds like you found elements of yourself in this book, and I think that perhaps I might too. I need to check this one out. My sympathies also go out to you. I know how hard it is to feel awkward.

Ben said...

Aaaaannnd somebody else is falling for Murakami here. I'm glad you like it Darlyn. It's not very representative of Murakami's style but it's a beautiful, dark love story that understands very well the nature of depression.

Audra said...

Yours seems like a very typical response -- I haven't read this but everyone who has just loved it because it hit them on a very visceral, gut-level. Clearly I need to add it to the TBR, and fast...

Kailana said...

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I don't really think my review did my impressions of it did it justice, though.

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