September 2017: Book Club Review

Theme - Romance: ‘Norweigan Wood' by Haruki Murakami

I sat on the rug biding my time

Drinking her wine

We talked until two and then she said

“It’s time for bed.”’ (lyrics from ‘Norwegian Wood’ – The Beatles)

The novel that sent Murakami’s popularity skyrocketing and led to his self-imposed exile from Japan, ‘Norwegian Wood’ is a story of love, loss and nostalgia. The story is told by Toru Watanabe and focuses mainly on his relationship with two different women during his student years: Naoko and Midori.

This book was seen was a departure from Murakami’s usual style of magical realism and therefore much of our discussion centred around whether the perceived ‘normality’ of the novel is actually the case, or whether a different reading would provide an interpretation more in keeping with the rest of his writing. Mainly we considered – does Watanabe really exist?

Arguing back and forth reasons for and against proof of his existence, we were unable to agree either way. However, we did agree that one change of perspective in our reading can make a big difference in our perception of the book.

Overall we gave this book a rating of 2/3.

Recommended further reading:

If you would like to read more Haruki Murakami, you could try:

  • ‘1Q84’

  • ‘Kafka on the Shore’

  • ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’

  • ‘After Dark’

  • ‘Dance Dance Dance’

If you like the idea of romance as a theme, but want to try a different author or something that would be considered a more traditional romance, you could try:

  • ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

  • ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell

  • ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger

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