Read the haunting love story that turned Murakami into a literary superstar.
When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.
'Evocative, entertaining, sexy and funny; but then Murakami is one of the best writers around' Time Out
'Such is the exquisite, gossamer construction of Murakami's writing that everything he chooses to describe trembles with symbolic possibility' Guardian
'This book is undeniably hip, full of student uprisings, free love, booze and 1960s pop, it's also genuinely emotionally engaging, and describes the highs of adolescence as well as the lows' Independent on Sunday
In a complete stylistic departure from his mysterious and surreal novels (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; A Wild Sheep Chase) that show the influences of Salinger, Fitzgerald and Tom Robbins, Murakami tells a bittersweet coming-of-age story, reminiscent of J.R. Salamanca's classic 1964 novel, Lilith--the tale of a young man's involvement with a schizophrenic girl. A successful, 37-year-old businessman, Toru Watanabe, hears a version of the Beatles' Norwegian Wood, and the music transports him back 18 years to his college days. His best friend, Kizuki, inexplicably commits suicide, after which Toru becomes first enamored, then involved with Kizuki's girlfriend, Naoko. But Naoko is a very troubled young woman; her brilliant older sister has also committed suicide, and though sweet and desperate for happiness, she often becomes untethered. She eventually enters a convalescent home for disturbed people, and when Toru visits her, he meets her roommate, an older musician named Reiko, who's had a long history of mental instability. The three become fast friends. Toru makes a commitment to Naoko, but back at college he encounters Midori, a vibrant, outgoing young woman. As he falls in love with her, Toru realizes he cannot continue his relationship with Naoko, whose sanity is fast deteriorating. Though the solution to his problem comes too easily, Murakami tells a subtle, charming, profound and very sexy story of young love bound for tragedy. Published in Japan in 1987, this novel proved a wild success there, selling four million copies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Emotional and endearing
Unlike others whom have read this book sooner than other murakami ones, this was the fourth book of his that I have read. I wasn't too keen to read it as people have said it is a depressing and sad story, however it is definitely my favourite of his so far.
It is a beautiful story, which has made me chuckle out loud a few times, but really pulls the heart strings, especially towards the end.
The characters are engrossing and relatable (to an extent) and I would definitely recommend reading it.
Great book. I love the author, he is one of the most incredible writers in the world that you need to read!
This book was like a cross between Catcher in the Rye and Memoirs of a Geisha! Insight into Japan post WW2. Made me want to eat sushi.