Though it was worlds away from any historic or cultural landscape I've ever known I was struck by just how resonant Norwegian Wood was with my own twentieth year .
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-something I believe many others might agree with as well - whatever their experience.
Tragic, hopeful, and erotic, Norwegian Wood is Haruki Murakami's epic story of a young man's intellectual, romantic and sexual awakening in 1960s Japan. Along with a hero that is timelessly dreamy, sensitive and evolved Murakami has created a plot that moves as gracefully as Debussy and artfully as any sixties folk song(the book takes its name from a Beatles song).
Originally science fiction's golden boy, Muurakami's crossed genre lines to pen Norwegian Wood, he could hardly know that what he was creating would become not only his own most popular books but also one of Japan's most internationally celebrated novels in history. Though the storyline of Norwegian Wood moves slowly, the novel has a way of endearing you to its own pace. With it's small but revolving cast of characters - as rich and fragile as any of Billy Shakespeare's - as modern and accessible as any of Jodi Piccoult's - you'll be so enchanted that you'll hardly notice just how stunningly slow time moves over the course of this novel...
Tell me how this grabs you:
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally 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. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
Let me tell you - this Toru is quite the thinker - see the 'preturnatureally serious' comment above? They're not kidding.'Charming, noble, and a little ahead of the curve emotionally -Toru was the perfect Dark Knight. But he. was also wonderfully realistic. Clumsy, often insensitive, and most realistically of all -incurably sex-driven, Toru is as perfectly round (a character) as they come.
The females in the book are just as perfectly developed and mysterious - and such mirror images of each other you won't know which girl is best for our young hero...until of course you'll know.
But no worries about that - the book will take care of the rest. - No 'Team Naoko' or 'Team Midori' sides here. (Though to tell you the truth I was a Midori fan Shh!).
Norwegian Wood takes place in a universe that is light-years away from than the one with live in today, but at its heart is an experience that is as transcendent as they come. A simple novel that become an international love song.