Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

70%

21 Critic Reviews

Norwegian Wood is a readable book, intensely individual, and from my understanding an earlier translation was used by school children in Japan to learn English.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

First American Publication

This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time.  It is sure to be a literary event.

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.

A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.
 

About Haruki Murakami

See more books from this Author
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. The most recent of his many honours is the Franz Kafka Prize.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published August 11, 2010 by Vintage. 402 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Norwegian Wood
All: 21 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 4

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Aug 27 2015

Murakami tells a bittersweet coming-of-age story, reminiscent of J.R. Salamanca's classic 1964 novel, Lilith...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.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Damien G Walter on Dec 06 2011

Toru Watanabe is given the chance of real life and love with the vivacious Midori Kobayashi, but at Norwegian Wood's conclusion we do not know whether he accepts love...Murakami can only offer a path through the frozen woods...If you find yourself wandering among the trees this winter season, I can recommend Norwegian Wood as a guidebook.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by ManOfLaBook on Jan 30 2012

Norwegian Wood is a readable book, intensely individual, and from my understanding an earlier translation was used by school children in Japan to learn English.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by ManoflaBook.com on Jan 30 2012

It’s a memorable story, yet simple and unassuming. Patience seems to be the main theme as Watanabe waits for a woman to return his love...While many of the pages are gloomy, many others are filled with hope and humor. If I had to use word to describe this novel I would choose “authentic,” as the book feels fresh and unconventional.

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Examiner

Below average
Reviewed by Stephanie Kurtz on Feb 11 2012

The main character and narrator is pretentious, self-indulgent, and generally unlikeable. This is made worse by the novel's presentation of Watanabe as impressively philosophical, honestly sacrificial...Haruki Murakami can write a beautiful sentence - it is just not guaranteed to mean anything.

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Alison Kim on Jan 22 2011

NORWEGIAN WOOD is a simple story, simply told, with an emotion and quiet retrospection characteristic of Murakami's trademark style, especially in works like SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN.

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Suite 101

Good
Reviewed by Keith Lawrence on Oct 22 2011

Beautifully written Murakami's fifth novel is a calm, wry, intimate but elegiac tale of love, loss and burgeoning sexuality.

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About.com

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Flanagan on Aug 19 2015

Norwegian Wood is not my favorite Haruki Murakami novel. Initially, I didn't believe I was going to like it at all. However, despite the absence of the fantastic elements I've grown to love in Murakami's stories and the seeming simplicity of the narrative, Norwegian Wood turns out to be a surprisingly affecting coming-of-age story.

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Austin Chronicle

Good
Reviewed by SOO LEE on Oct 06 2000

Detaching himself from intense feelings, Toru often speaks like a writer, expertly inserting character sketches and free-flowing tangents. But he observes like a poet who describes the world in rich detail as if seeing it for the first time.

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Ben Casnocha

Above average
Reviewed by Ben Casnocha on Dec 21 2009

I started with Norwegian Wood. It’s his widely-acclaimed and most-read work. I enjoyed it very much. It is about loneliness, love, and 1960s Japanese youth, and Murakami writes about all three themes masterfully and in a voice that’s absolutely unique. For the most part I was engaged and entertained all the way through...

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ReadySteadyBook

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on Dec 08 2008

And the novel is hugely affecting, reading like a cross between Plath's Bell Jar and Vizinczey's In Praise of Older Women, if less complex and ultimately less satisfying than Murakami's other, more allegorical, work. He captures the huge expectation of youth, and of this particular time in history, for the future and for the place of love in it.

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Quick Book Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by David Ben Efraim on Apr 06 2014

All in all, despite being a bit simpler in its nature Norwegian Wood still remains a classic Murakami novel, with an engrossing story, well-developed and relatable characters, hints of comedy, tragedy, and surrealism, and the exploration of a rather grand theme: love.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by Jules on Sep 14 2013

The story itself was well done, it's a depressing story and quite heavy, but the author shows the struggles the characters go through beautifully. He shows the reader, all of the raw emotions...I don't think this is the best book to start with if this is your first time with the author, but it is a book well worth reading.

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Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Below average
Reviewed by Inverarity on Jun 13 2010

Okay, there's also sex, mental illness, student protests, sex, suicide, sex...But the story wasn't terribly interesting. I continued reading because I liked Murakami's details, the funny anecdotes, the characters revealing their unique, often fucked-up personalities, not because I cared much what happened next.

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Book Chatter

Below average
Reviewed by Ti on Aug 09 2012

Norwegian Wood is arguably THE book that put Murakami on the map, yet its transparency and predictability frustrated me...Overall, I enjoyed the musical references and listened to Norwegian Wood a few times while reading but the story was very slow and the high creep factor turned me off.

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Literary Inklings

Good
Reviewed by Casee Marie on May 30 2014

Although on the surface it seems to be a relatively simpler novel with its more commonplace story, Norwegian Wood has a way of transcending the very imagery it presents to the reader...Norwegian Wood is a touching exploration of the impact love has in our lives, the many shapes it takes, and ultimately the choices it drives us to make.

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http://www.complete-review.com

Good
on May 03 2014

Well worth reading. And bonus points for the nice packaging -- to UK publisher Harvill. (Minus points to boring American publisher Vintage for not following suit and instead presenting it in the usual (unattractive and unwieldy) trade paperback format.)

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Speculiction

Above average
Reviewed by Jesse on Apr 29 2014

A gloomy, unsettled experience, the novel looks at suicide, the possibility/impossibility of love, escape, death, sexuality, misanthropy, melancholy, and a variety of other post-modern concerns through the eyes of a university student in Japan...Not the best of Marukami’s writing, it will nevertheless appeal to certain audiences.

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http://allreaders.com

Good
Reviewed by John Marcel on Aug 15 2015

This wonderful book explores the loves and sexual adventures of student Toru Watanabe in 1960s Tokyo...This melancholic book depicts beautifully the loves of this lonely outsider who is adrift in a sea of tragedy and passion.

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https://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by Eva on Feb 25 2007

...the ending is really, really unsatisfying. I still think that this is one of the best books I’ve read this year, but I really wish Murakami would rewrite the ending...If you want a fun romp through young, complicated love that carries more profound undertones, you can’t do better than Norwegian Wood.

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Wilfrid Wong

Above average
Reviewed by Wilfrid on Aug 04 2009

“Norwegian Wood” is a myriad of love and friendship through the eyes of Watanabe, from his age of 18 to 37. A story that anchors between this first love Naoko and another girl Midori. One that ends with a choice of the past and the future Watanabe has to make.

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Reader Rating for Norwegian Wood
83%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 839 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Alessandro Spiganti 12 Sep 2014

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Matt 10 Jun 2015

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Liked the book

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Katrina Bernardo 5 Sep 2013

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