15 journalers for this copy...
Naoko was the girlfriend of Watanabe's best friend Kizuki, who kills himself at just the age of seventeen. Almost a year later Watanabe and
Naoko meet by chance and resume their friendship, but things don't go as planned.
Watanabe falls in love for her, but she ends up living in a sanatorium, the death of Kizuki, the suicide of her sister some years before all play a part in her breakdown.
Watanabe still loves her and visits her in the sanatorium but it is at this time in his life that another girl comes into his life, Midori. Now he is torn between two very different girls both of whom he loves, he tells Naoko that he will wait forever for
her, but yet he cannot let Midori go, so what does he do?
I liked this book, i seem to be able to identify with characters like Watanabe,He has just a few friends, going through life with no real sense of direction or pleasure, almost an introvert yet sometimes hedonistic who can't seem to let the past be the past and live for the future.
This book though reminded me so much of Mishima's "Spring Snow", two young people, Kiyoaki and Satoko whom both have love for each other but the relationship is doomed from the start and ultimately ends in heartache.
So although this is a very good read, "Spring Snow" has a certain something extra, but Norwegian Wood comes a close second.
I have now satred a bookring for this book, if you wish to be added pm me.
Members of the bookring in order.
(back to me)
Will read it and journal it ASAP!
The main problem I found was that I could not relate to the central character, Watanabe. I found him to be very shallow and uncaring, with no direction to his life. You find out nothing (or very little) about his past, and although the book was set over a period of a year to 18 months, I got the feeling that at the end the character was no different than he had been at the beginning. Of the other 3 main characters (Naoko, Reiko and Midori), I felt only Reiko had any sort of depth to her. She was the only character where her past was recounted with sufficient detail as to provide any sort of explanation for her current behaviour. The other two female characters (Naoko and Midori) came across as being weak, and although their pasts were alluded to at times, there was not enough information to be able to build up an all-round impression of them as people. Murakami also inserted a number of "secondary characters" into the story which I found even more frustrating. These people seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever, and unsurprisingly when the main characters weren't examined in any great depth, these secondary characters came across as being even more two-dimensional.
The story is billed as a "love story" however personally I found this to be nowhere near the league of what I would call a true story of love (e.g. "Love in the Time of Cholera", or similar). The central character's idea of "love" is certainly very different from mine and seems to revolve around not talking to the person you're with, sleeping around with strangers, and "pleasuring yourself". It certainly does not resonate with the "language of love" that the aforementioned García Márquez novel is filled with.
However ... this is a novel set in late-60s Japan and as such the culture is VERY different from current times. I am not a scholar of the Japanese culture and as such I am willing to accept that my dislike of the novel may be related to the fact I did not understand the culture it was set in. I found it very difficult to understand some of the actions of the characters, but concede that if you have knowledge of Japan (and esp. Tokyo) in this time-period then maybe the story will make more sense and hang together better.
I have already PMd the next person on the list for their address and will send it on as soon as I receive it. Unfortuately Haruki Murakami is not for me, but I hope everyone else enjoys it more than I did, and I look forward to reading your reviews.
I got into all the characters, though I think Reiko was my favourite & I hope life turns out good for her. Storm Trooper was hilarious. Don't we all know someone like that?!
I won't go on any more in case I spoil teh story too much, but this was a great introduction to Haruki Murakami & I look forward to reading more of his books.
Thanks for setting up this ring :)
Just PMed Lijay for her address.
Posting to Lijay. Sorry for delay, lijay e-mailed her address when I was away on my honeymoon.
Am pm'ing Zyana for her address today.
For Naoko and Toru the life stopped when their friend Kizuki died.Toru realises that "death is part of life",and not an end which comes only once at the end of your life.However,the death without sense,as in the case of Kizuki,played as a permanent shock for them.Their beings were frozen into that time and they were not able to move on,building a new future.I think their love story began in fact out of love for Kizuki.They were longing to reconstruct the reality and return it to its previous state when they were seventeen and happy.This,however,didn`t seem to work this way.Naoko`s problems deepen and she finds it more and more difficult to communicate to the world.Here we have a classical love story (I mean this in the most positive way),when Toru waits for her to get better and is loyal to her inspite the numerous possibilities to go out and make love to other girls.Gradually he forgets life,he forgets that life is to be alive,to move,to laugh,to care,to see new things.The illness of Naoko keeps him making circles and makes everything else devoid of any sense.Midori,from the other side,is exactly the person to bring him back to life- she is funny,loving,very different from Naoko;she goes easily with things and is deeply attached to Toru.I liked their "paralel" story a lot,especially the moment when Toru suddenly realised that Midori was in fact in love with him.They are such a friends,they meet often and talk about every sort of things that he doesn`t suspect there is something deeper than friendship.I felt glad for him when he finally took his chance with Midori after Naoko`s death.
Reiko was another character I liked.She,too,had her lowest moment when her life was turned down, and she was very couragious to start again,leaving the sanatorium.I think that the lovemaking between Toru and Reiko was plotted as some kind of healing for them: they both heal/free themselves from the sense of death,from Naoko,from the sanatorium.
My feeling of the novel as a whole was that of a really good love story.It was a sad one and there was something old fashioned in it which I think the writer intended.I would love to read other novels by Murakami.
A sad book, but hopeful at the same time. Waiting on an address for Dei and then I'll mail it off. Thanks for sharing!
Not expecting suicide as the answer to end the suffering that Naoko has chosen but I suppose in those days, surrendering to death is a cure ins earch of peace for the soul.
This book is off to AuntyJo next!
Can't fathom why the Japanese are so fond of suicides... more later.
Book now on its way to Genevalove
I would definitely like to read more of this author's work, and as it happens, I saw several books by him at the local English-language bookstore when I was there the other day. Now, which one should I read next?
This book will be on its way to the next person in line as soon as I get their address.
So... back home it goes.
Thanks for sharing =)
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Edited to update: This book did not get released before so i just gave it to a Couchsurfer as a trade. Hope he enjoys it.
Very grateful to janetcarolina tho!!!