Book Review: Norwegian Wood


Title: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Listening to The Beatles’ song Norwegian Wood, Toru Watanabe was reminded of his life when he was a Drama student in one of the universities in Tokyo. The year was the late 60s and the early 70s, and Watanabe’s life was among the modern youth movement, more and more books, great musics (which is entirely subjective to my taste. Yay!) and of course the adventure of casual sex. It was also the year of self discovery, and when Watanabe found himself in between the past and the present.

This is the first book by Haruki Murakami I have ever read. Yes. Isn’t it just surprising?

I have heard about this book for ages, and I would love to read it. From the reviews I have seen before, the readers have given this a really high recommendation. Of course I have a really huge expectation when I started to read this book, and I know I should not have done it. But never mind, this book has fulfilled my expectation anyway. I was not disappointed at all.

The book was narrated by the main character Toru Watanabe. It was interesting to access the mind of a introvert teenage boy discovering life and growing up. I found it so easy to like Watanabe, and most of other characters in the book. Heck, I love all the characters in the book, not necessarily like them, but love them nonetheless — even the most vile ones.


I love how this novel was written. It was written in a no-nonsense, simple, and straight forward attitude (you know like how a teenage student would), and yet it was beautifully penned (or typed…). I can still feel the presence of cultural influence, although it was translated to English (unfortunately I can’t speak Japanese 😦 ), I can still enjoy the detailed description of the picturesque Japanese countryside or the busy Tokyo.

I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. It has touched my darkest sense of humour like no other novel has ever done before. It was witty, and funny, and it could depict the most profane sex scene without being crass (if that makes sense?).

Do you know what? I can’t believe it was written only a couple of years after I was born. I can’t believe that this book is almost as old as I am and yet it seems so modern. The story feels so relevant and incredibly easy to relate even today. I am not surprised that this is considered as one classics everybody should read. I am not surprised that Murakami has been considered as one of the best living legend in the world literature history.

Obviously, I would recommend this book to everybody who hasn’t read this. I might be the last person in the world that hasn’t read this book, but if there’s the next generation reading this review, I would still want them to read this book. This is definitely one book you have to read before you die. And I would rate it 5 stars out of 5.



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