Murakami and Norwegian Wood

Took me 2 days to finish “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami. Am I such a fast reader? Never knew. Or is it the digital format that speeds reading?

Yes, this is a much simpler love story than “Kafka on the Shore”. Nevertheless, it has a strong impact and kept me sexually captive all the while I was reading. Dunno if the author intended the book to have such a powerful sexual effect on readers. Not exactly arousing and immediate, but rather a dull lasting sexual desire. That’s the effect it had on me, anyway.

I liked to notice the daily realia of the 60’s in Japan, a good history lesson. Teaching seems to be a big part of Murakami’s novels.

Of course, the protagonist is appealing and one can’t help but feel him deeply. It is a shame how experiencing the loss of a loved one influences emotionally-susceptible individuals, as opposed to those emotionally-neutral.

However, personally I felt a close connection to Midori and was not really sorry for Naoko. I have to say that at some point I was even angry with her: am I the only one who sees that she treated Watanabe selfishly? I mean, she used him as she pleased. All the way, actually. She did not consciously plan to, that’s just how she was. But that does not excuse her breaking the boy’s psychology and ruining his life. Look, I realize that the reader is supposed to feel for Naoko more, that she is the great sufferer. But in real life, she used the boy and we would all condemn her behavior in one way or another, feeling very sorry for her and her problems nevertheless.

To me, Kafka on the Shore sounded more autobiographical than Norwegian Wood. Can’t explain why. Perhaps, because Kafka is a much more powerful book in all respects.


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