Stunning and elegiac, Norwegian Wood first propelled Haruki Murakami into the forefront of the literary scene.
Toru, a serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. As Naoko retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
A magnificent coming-of-age story steeped in nostalgia, Norwegian Wood blends the music, the mood, and the ethos that were the sixties with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love.
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
Slow to start but worth it
My first taste of his work. The characters are deep, unpredictable, yet familiar. I love his storytelling, although I didn't care as much for the story itself.
Whole new perspective
Im 16 and i hate reading but this just opened my eyes. I was just reading the sample and it’s such a beautiful book all the detail and the way he displays them. He wrote this to the point that you feel like your in the mind of the character. Really recommend this and its coming from a kid that hates reading. For sure buying this book and many more.
Not what i expected ..
I am a great fan of Haruki. He casts a spell on the reader through the complexity of his plots and his ability to mix reality with fantasy. Nowegian Wood turned out to be more about young adult sexuality than anything else. Parts of the novel gave the feeling that it was written by a novice and not a master story-teller. I misssed the master who wrote Kafka On The Shore.