Norwegian Wood

by Haruki Murakami | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0099448823 Global Overview for this book
Registered by R-W of Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on 1/11/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, January 11, 2004
Sat on a plane, Watanabe hears "Norwegian Wood" the favourite song of Naoko, the girl whom he loved. He casts his mind back twenty years remembering the pain and love he felt during his late teens.
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)

Journal Entry 2 by R-W at on Friday, January 16, 2004
Released on Thursday, January 15, 2004 at Post Office in Rotherham, England United Kingdom.

Journal Entry 3 by BC-08041015142 on Sunday, January 18, 2004
I received this on Friday 16.01.04.
Will read it and journal it ASAP!

Journal Entry 4 by BC-08041015142 on Thursday, January 22, 2004
Well I'm sorry to report, robert-walker (and others on the bookring) that I just could not get into this novel at all. It took me 4 days to read it and each day felt like a year!

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.

Released on Monday, January 26, 2004 at ... by mail :) in Sent to a fellow BookCrosser, Bookring Controlled Releases.

Journal Entry 6 by tiggsybabes from Pontefract, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 28, 2004
I finished the book this moring & really enjoyed it. Sorry it took so long for me to finish, but I have read it practically every day for the past few weeks. Time is always a problem.

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.

Journal Entry 7 by tiggsybabes at on Friday, March 26, 2004
Released on Friday, March 26, 2004 at Chapeltown Post Office in Sheffield, England United Kingdom.

Posting to Lijay. Sorry for delay, lijay e-mailed her address when I was away on my honeymoon.

Journal Entry 8 by Lijay from Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 31, 2004
received in the post yesterday from Tiggysbabe.

Journal Entry 9 by Lijay from Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 07, 2004
I enjoyed reading this book more than I expected. I thought that, as a tale of adolescent love, it worked very well. I did become frustrated with Watanabe and his ego centric view of the women in his life. Of all the characters I felt that Reiko was almost sinister in her involvement in the lives of people so much younger than herself. It could have become a completely different book if this had been pursued. I also thought that Midori really deserved better!

Am pm'ing Zyana for her address today.

Journal Entry 10 by Zyana from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Monday, May 24, 2004
Finaly arrived last week (I wasn't able to journal earlier because I left on a short holiday) safe and sound. I'm a bit overwhelmed with rays/rings atm but will make an effort to read this one asap.

Journal Entry 11 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Saturday, August 21, 2004
The book is safely with me in Sofia.I`m excited because this will be the first novel by Murakami I ever read.I was on a long vacation and received today 7 packages of books,of them 6 from bookrings! But as I see,the bookring for this one has already been delayed a bit,so I shall try to put this reading on the top.

Journal Entry 12 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Started reading the book some days ago,and am pretty near the end now.I like it and shall post my thoughts when I`m finished.

Journal Entry 13 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Thursday, August 26, 2004
I have read some Japanese writers before, favorite Kawabata Yasunari,and I think that developing and depicting characters is not typical for Japanese literature,as it is in Europe-American fiction.More important is considered to show,to depict,to concentrate upon certain states of mind,upon relations existing between the characters. I see "Norwegian Wood" in the light of those thoughts.
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.

Journal Entry 14 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Friday, August 27, 2004
Sent to roadrunner yesterday.

Journal Entry 15 by roadrunner from Spring, Texas USA on Friday, October 08, 2004
I just realized that this book arrived during our recent move and I never journaled it. Sorry!!! I will add it to my other bookrings and get to it asap. Thanks bookmaniac70 for the very cool postcard, my first ever from Bulgaria!

Journal Entry 16 by roadrunner from Spring, Texas USA on Thursday, December 02, 2004
I finally finished this last night. I'm still digesting it but I will say that the writing was wonderful. I could never warm up to Watanabe - he seemed quite cold and detached. I did like Midori because she was soooo out there. I've reread the last paragraph about 10 times and I still don't know what it means. I had the same problem with the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - beautiful writing but I'm not sure I understood everything that Murakami was trying to say. This is definitely an author that I will read more of. This is off today to Tuff517. Thanks Robert-Walker for sharing (and for being patient with my slowness to get this moving again!).

Journal Entry 17 by tuff517 from Elk Grove Village, Illinois USA on Saturday, December 04, 2004
Just received this. I'll add to my bookring rotation (this makes number 4, and I'm reading them all together).

Journal Entry 18 by tuff517 from Elk Grove Village, Illinois USA on Friday, December 17, 2004
A beautifully written book. I thought how sad Watanabe's life was, so lonely, but it's not too far from my own. Um, as far as not having many friends, that is. But then I though how lucky he was to have such passionate and deep relationships with the few people he connected with. I thought Midori was kind of aggressive and immature, but Watanabe is so laid back, maybe that was what he was looking for after being with Naoko. The writing was so simple, yet descriptive that at times I felt and smelled and heard what Watanabe was feeling, smelling and hearing.

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!

Journal Entry 19 by tuff517 from Elk Grove Village, Illinois USA on Monday, December 20, 2004
Heading off to Dei tomorrow.

Journal Entry 20 by wingDeiwing on Wednesday, February 23, 2005
A tragic love story that touches and warms one's heart set in the old days of Japan where the culture is so conversative. A woman (Naoko) who desires so much to be love yet afraid to fall in love. Her sexual encouter allows her to liberate and explore her lust for a man (Toru), the feeling and enjoyment of being touched yet due to the culture set in the olden days, Naoko felt her body has been violated.

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!

Journal Entry 21 by AuntyJo from Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Sent to me by Dei of Singapore. We are part of this bookring by courtesy of Robert Walker. Surprise! Got it from the post two days and finished yesterday!

Can't fathom why the Japanese are so fond of suicides... more later.

Journal Entry 22 by R-W from Rotherham, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, June 13, 2005
Thanks AuntyJo the book is now back with me, i will send it on its way again very soon.

14th June
Book now on its way to Genevalove

Journal Entry 23 by Genevalove from Fairfax, Virginia USA on Monday, July 11, 2005
I can't wait to read this one--it's next on my TBR pile and then I'll send it on its way. Thanks!

Journal Entry 24 by Genevalove from Fairfax, Virginia USA on Monday, July 25, 2005
I found this book thought-provoking and intriguing, but I'm having a strangely difficult time formulating any thoughts about it. Maybe it's the type of book that has to settle in your brain for a while before you quite know what to think of it. It definitely did more for me than South of the Border, West of the Sun, the only other Murakami book I've read--that one left me fairly cold at the end. I just couldn't bring myself to care much about the narrator or his problems. The narrator of Norwegian Wood was much more engaging as a character, even if he kept himself at such an incredible emotional distance from almost everyone around him.

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.

Journal Entry 25 by Winterson from Peacehaven, East Sussex United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Received safe and sound yesterday, thanks :) Will get onto this asap. Not read any of this author's work before but veryintrigued.

Journal Entry 26 by Winterson from Peacehaven, East Sussex United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I hate giving up on books, but when it gets to the stage where you don't want to pick it up, you've got to admit defeat. I think I', with Glasgowgal. I just can't relate to any of this, and I'm finding the way it's written really grating too. I don't know whether it's the translation, or the descriptions... it's just not for me. But.. I am glad I gave it a go as it's one of those books I've heard so much about.
So... back home it goes.

Journal Entry 27 by dospescados on Monday, November 07, 2005
Thanks! I've never read Murakami before so I'm looking forward to this.

Journal Entry 28 by dospescados on Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Yea for the holiday being over so I can start reading like a madwoman again! =) I hosted a dinner party for some old high school friends the other night and one of them was telling me I just *have* to read Murakami which was well-timed as this has been the next book on my list. I'll PM janetcarolina for her address (the coincidence thickens -- the Murakami fan is half-Peruvian!).

Journal Entry 29 by dospescados on Thursday, January 05, 2006
I'm about 100 pages into it now and really enjoying it. I think I've been introduced to a new author to add to my favorites list. =) More later...

Journal Entry 30 by dospescados on Saturday, January 07, 2006
I finished the book late last night. I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a good while. The characters were realistic for the most part and I enjoyed the dialogue. Many thanks to R-W for sharing, the book will head to janetcarolina in Perú today.

Journal Entry 31 by janetcarolina from Lima, Lima Peru on Saturday, February 18, 2006
Got this book today but since i have 3 other rings before this one, it'll probably take a while til i can read it. Hope is ok.

Thanks for sharing =)

Journal Entry 32 by janetcarolina at Parque Manuel Gonzales Prada in Magdalena, Lima Peru on Thursday, April 21, 2016

Released 4 yrs ago (4/21/2016 UTC) at Parque Manuel Gonzales Prada in Magdalena, Lima Peru


Will be leaving it at a book holding tree.

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.

Journal Entry 33 by _schuldiner_ at Miraflores, Lima Peru on Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Just got it from janetcarolina. Will take a while til I read it since I'm currently in the middle of another one.

Very grateful to janetcarolina tho!!!

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