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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Book Review : Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Pages  296

Read on : Kindle

Review: This is my first time reading Murakami. May be I hadn't done my research well but  from the way people talked about Norwegian Wood  and Kafka on Shore I expected something thunderous. Not that this wasn't. 

Everyone loves a good coming-of-age story but not every novel leaves a lasting impression. Perks of Being a Wallflower ( both film and movie ) were successful in my eyes, Norwegian Wood may not be as heartwarming as that.

There's no real plot as such. Just the story of university student , Toru Watanabe  and his dilemmas regarding love , life , depression , sexuality and death. The Goodreads synopsis claims Toru to be preternatural. I would say Toru isn't common , nor is he in anyway special. He's more impulsive in his actions , mainly done to fill in voids that incidents in life has left him with in such an early age.  The way he reacts and deals with situations I would classify as normal. The hopelessness and helplessness of the labyrinth is identifiable. 

Strangely I found myself caring more about the supporting characters than Toru himself. Midori and Hatsumi being my favourite. Most people have pointed out the annoyance of all the characters being self-engaged and constantly talking about their past. A refreshing change from the usual ' I don't know where we stand'  talks. Not all relationships have or need to have a name . Some great relationships become dormant and fade over time and good people end up getting hurt. 

I can't really help describe this book without mentioning the feelings and moods it invoked in me. At first it did start slow like all contemporary novels and then the whirlwind of emotions hits you and then you feel the stagnation of being in a trough. Toru , to me  was like snowfall, quiet but irregular.  Noako was the dampness that followed, Midori was wind on a pleasant day , Reiko was hot green tea.  The book reminded me of sunset, twilight after it had rained all afternoon. It makes you feel warm inside yet gloomy at the same time. It breaks your heart yet makes you feel alive. I guess that is the real reason why just like everyone else I too am a fan.

Now If I haven't contradicted myself enough , I will go ahead and contradict myself more. This book is not for everyone. Despite it selling millions of copies worldwide and rivaling J.K Rowling's new books themselves , I would still feel there is a niche audience that would really love this book. There are several stages in the book that have lead to puzzlement and impending loneliness.  The dark cloud that looms overhead will not go away from a long time and  a gust of wind will not avert it either. Also , I feel I have to mention this , a lot of adult content will be found in this book. In fact , sex , and by that I don't mean passionate love making but sex is a huge partake in the story.

Next ,I'm going to give the movie a chance and watch the characters come to life :)

Final Rating : 4/5

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