Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.jpg

“There is never a right time to fall in love”

The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality. It is told from the first-person perspective of Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo.

This was the second Murakami book I read this year and similar to the first one, there’s an ease with his style of writing that puts you right in the middle of every scene he’s describing.

The story is about the life of a Japanese university student in the late 60s and his relationships with different women as a student. At some points, I thought, “Why am I so invested in the characters of an angsty romance novel?” But having thought about it, Norwegian Wood is so much more than that. It’s about life, loss, love, and everything in between. The ending caught me off guard, but I felt complete with it - sort of thinking to myself, “well of course that’s how it had to end.”

Reading Murakami, as an aspiring writer, is challenging. Part of me loves his works, and the other part of me thinks, “Well, this Japanese author is as good as it gets, there’s no topping it.” Despite the internal jealousy and unrelenting fascination with how he uses his words, I look forward to reading more Murakami in the future.

South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami

South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami

“Hope, regret, what if, and probably - is love really ‘real’?”

The novel tells the story of Hajime, starting from his childhood in a small town in Japan until the age of 36. Hajime now the father of two children and owner of two successful jazz bars in Tokyo must choose between his wife and family or attempting to recapture the magic of the past.

This was the first book that I’d say I really identified with. It’s about a Japanese guy and his relationships throughout his life and how they shape who he is and the way he sees the world. In the book, a lot of the bad things that happen are due to the main character’s choices, which I liked rather than something happening to him. The end of the book is weird. You feel like you’re going down one path, and understanding what’s happening, and then all of the sudden you start to question if one of the biggest parts of the book is even real. Someone said Murakami likes to drift in and out of reality and the spirit world, which I would say was an accurate description for this book. That said, I really liked it and I connected with the main character on an emotional level, having thought a lot about my relationships and the person I want to become as I grow older.