Recently, I’ve gotten really in to Haruki Murakami’s work. It started with me asking my brother for advice about books to read. I read a lot as a kid, you know, Hardy Boys and stuff like that. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew adventures were the best.
So anyway, I sort of fell out of reading and read very little for years until last year at college. I was incredibly bored, so incredibly bored that I wanted to do something that I hadn’t done in years: read. So I asked my brother for suggestions for good books. He suggested that I get the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami. The main reason he suggested that one was because it was one of the books that he didn’t have yet, the jerk. But I’m glad he told me to get it, because I ended up really liking it.
But this isn’t about the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (though, it’s still my favorite Murakami book), it’s about Norwegian Wood. I have read a few other Murakami books before this one, Sputnik Sweetheart; South of the Border, West of the Sun; and After the Quake. But, honestly, I really didn’t like any of them nearly as much as Wind-Up Bird, especially not After the Quake. So, I opened up Norwegian Wood, and had I looked at the translator, I would have known that I was in for a treat. Jay Rubin translated my copy of Norwegian Wood, the same person who translated Wind-Up Bird.
Anyway, the book itself is absolutely fantastic. The story is incredibly interesting, depressing, uplifting, and relatable all at the same time. It’s about a college student with a fairly dull, boring life except for his interactions with the people he knows. He doesn’t know a lot of people, but the people he does know are all very dynamic and deep characters. And Murakami presents them in a way where you really feel what they are feeling and understand what they are going through.
It’d be hard to say much more without revealing more of the book, so I’ll just say this: the book is absolutely phenomenal. I almost feel like reading it again, right away, because I know that I missed things, and would probably get a much better understanding of it from a second reading.