Norwegian Wood


"So I went from 18 to 19.  Each day the sun would rise and set, the flag would be raised and lowered.  Every Sunday I would have a date with my dead friend's girl. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was going to do."

Im a reader.  for the better part of last year i devoured george r.r. martins massive fire and ice series. thats geek speak for game of thrones.   but for Christmas my love gave me a Haruki Murakami book called Norwegian Wood.  at first i was just happy is wasn't over 1000 pages but then i remembered the last Murakami book i read.  i absolutely loved it, although its themes were time travel tragedy and magic cats.  i felt like another book of its caliber would be a little much for me after a never ending medieval dragon story.  i needed something simple to read.  my mother,  gave me a numbered mystery novel.  we share these silly books and although it is the simplest of reads i finish them in a day or two and feel like I'm left with the same problems again.  how delighted i was to be wronged so much by Murakami.  Norwegian Wood is a sad beautiful little book that reminded me of white snow storms and quiet mornings.  it was published in the late 80s and chronicles through the lives of a handful of college students in the late 60s in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. The main character Toru Watanambe is best friends with a character who kills himself at 17 right as his life is beginning.  The book follows the aftermath of the theme, nostalgia and coming of age at the same time.  What a difficult thing.  In the back of the book is a transalters note that responded to the massive attention the book received when it was published.  However,  when comapring it to a few other Murakami books i have read,  the post script is right.  "its just a love story."

There are no magic cats or metaphysical riddles.  There are no ghosts or Greek tragedy.  Its not the lightest of books either though,  It touches on suicide,  mental illness,  and tortured sexuality.  A lot of the characters fight and loose with mental demons but the protagonist seemed to keep me a float throughout the whole thing.  Watanambe is written to be one of those middle of the road types of characters.  Someone normal who does normal things.  But that is what I loved about the book.  When things start to unravel,  Murakami takes us through his day and as boring as it might seem to others,  it calmed me immensely.  There would be immense detail about him changing his clothes,  taking a shower and sitting down to listen to jazz and write a letter.  Every time he would do those things I would feel my breath deepen. I felt calm when he did calming things.  As I read the book,  I waited for those mundane things to happen and those were my favoriite parts.  He takes a trip into the mountans to visit a friend and the train and couple a bus rides he takes were one of my favorite parts.   I was delighted when he went on walks. I loved that is was just a love story,  I didnt want it to be anything else and in the end I was deeply satisfied with it,  beyond the subject matter.  Must read to all.