This is the book that has introduced me to the writings of Murakami. Again, recommended by the good literary people of the greatpoets community. I remember reading this on-the-go. (walking, in the jeepney ride, the bus, train, walking, train again, more walking in TRINOMA, sitting while also eating, bench, waiting area. Wow, this book literally and figuratively took me places.
To be totally honest, I found the book to have a slow beginning. You won't immediately have positive views towards the characters, and it takes a while to be attached to their persona from a different and intimate perspective. And that's a job in the reader's part. This is one of those books you can't judge after reading a few chapters. Then eventually I learned Murakami's personality in his dialogues, they were really interesting and humorous. What follows was the creativity he had in attempting to describe emotion. Not the best in my view, but well enough to entertain; he has his moments. What I most admire in this book though was Murakami's ability for you to admire his chacters, I almost fell in love with Midori, and the others have the personalities that makes me want to drop my crumbling life and chase after those people. Very moving book, I would say it has some elements of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and a moderate style of writing same as Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Plot: The plot handles a different varieties of emotions: there's friendship, tennage culture/nightlife, discussions on death, love, intimacy. This covers the book pretty much of interesting events and converstations. I believe it could have been done better in a more secluded environment for Toru. It is understood that he's somewhat eccentric in his own way and doesn't invite himself with Nagasawa's company too often. What I find lacking is that intense reflection Toru does whenever he is not thinking about Naoko, Kizuki, Midori, or writing letters to the former, or reading books. There must be a reflection somewhere addressed to his own self. But other than that " need" I really enjoy the plot.
Characters: Like I said I while ago was very lovely. I can sometimes see myself in Toru and understand his perspective a lot which makes him convincing. Naoko has her moments, but for a main character, she doesn't bear a likeable persona. But I guess that's a given in her kind of character. Midori, for me, took the stage here. She's adorable in a twisted way and I did almost fell in love with her. I knew a few who shares her charactersitic and it brings reality, love, and excitement in the book. The other role players like Nagasama, Hatsumi, Storm Trooper, did their part well and I really enjoyed it when they involve themselves in a segment.
Imagery: Murakami had his moments. It's a hit or miss situation for him actually regarding the topics in the book. The main characters are young adults and the topic then becomes limited. He had to deal with unoriginal and tiring topics like love, self, life, etc... which is hard to mold into something fresh. He did manage to create outstanding realizations and comparisons, but for me, it is not the main forte of the book.
Reflections: They were there when needed but I really expect more quality from Toru's perspective, a person with his characteristics, I expect to have a lot of interesting reflections and idea lurking in their head getting ready to slap a stranger into reality. If it isn't part of Toru's personality to share it to Midori, or Nagasawa, there must be a way for him to do so besides Naoko via-letter and I do find that convincing and dedicated. As if it is only Naoko who owns his thoughts, but I do think it could make it better if he had his own, he definitely has secrets but for a person like Toru to be conscious of that is an open-ended discussion of what-ifs.
Writing Stlye: Al thouh an earlier work than Zafon's Shadow of the Wind, I did find some resemblances in writing style which is highly complementary, oddly by me, to Murakami. The dialogues were really intersting and so was his timing of bringing the topics of conversation into good light. The way he describes a scene and their environment was there. Toru's comments were also realistic, but to me, they lacked consciouss aesthetic awareness. He is understood to be sentimental and he never shows this to anyone besides Naoko who he rarely sees. So where does he keep this thoughts of new reflections, and how does he handle supressing them? Wonderful writing, however, definitely gets you to desire more of his work.
--“Do you always travel alone like that?”“Uh-huh.”“You enjoy solitude?” she asked leaning her cheek on her hand. “Traveling alone, eating alone, sitting off by yourself in lecture halls...”“Nobody like being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.”- Norwegian Wood, 70 Haruki Murakami.
--All she had on was the butterfly barrette. Naked now, and still kneeling by the bed, she looked at me. Bathed in the soft light of the moon, Naoko’s body had the heartbreaking luster of newborn flesh. When she moved—and she did so almost imperceptibly—the play of light and shadow on her body shifted subtly. The swelling roundness of her breasts, her tiny nipples, the indentation of her navel, her hip bones and pubic hair, all cast grainy shadows, the shapes of which kept changing like ripples spreading over the calm surface of a lake.- Norwegian Wood, 175. Haruki Murakami.
I have always loved Naoko, and I still love her. But there is a decisive finality to what exists Midori and me. It has an irresistible power that is bound to sweep me into the future. What I feel for Naoko is a tremendously quiet and gentle and transparent love, but what I feel for Midori is a wholly different emption. It stands and walks on its own, living and breathing and throbbing and shaking me to the roots of my being.- Norwegian Wood, 354. Haruki Murakami.
--I had learned one thing from Kizuki’s death. True as this might be, it was only one of the truths we had to learn. What I learned from Naoko’s death was this: no truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through, to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.- Norwegian Wood, 360. Haruki Murakami.
Reference: Murakami, Haruki. 1987. Norwegian Wood. USA: Vintage books--