Book Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been very involved with my school’s literary magazine. The magazine is finally out, and the website is up; to further contribute to this great publication, I wrote a book review of Murakami’s popular novel. In the translator’s notes of the edition I used, the novel is touted as the “one book every young person in Japan has read.” Here is the first paragraph, but please check out the full review on the magazine’s blog.

Norwegian Wood begins with a shocking revelation that Naoko does not love Toro Wantanabe, the protagonist, despite his devotion to her. By placing this information in the beginning of the novel, Haruki Murakami turns the formulaic love story plot on its head. Because this is not a soap opera, knowing whether the couple gets together is not one’s primary concern as a reader, but rather the way the relationship and the individuals caught in it grow. I usually don’t like books that’s plots are driven by romantic love, but Murakami injects gritty, awkward eroticism and imperfect characters to give this book an edge. This is why I enjoyed this novel yet scoff at the Mr. Darcy’s of the world.

(my featured image is from the film adaptation which I have not seen)

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