norwegian wood by h murakami

His stories are so dark and depressing.  The moment you think his characters have found hope, it all goes down the drain.  It’s as if happiness is impossible without mounts of obstacles- emotional and physical.  I’m not spoiling the plot but man, committing suicide seems to be the viable solution to every problem.  I’m not fully convinced that Murakami is notably a literature marvel.  Eh. Maybe… Is it because sex sells? Or because we tolerate pain and suffering? This is my third Haruki Murakami book and I admit to his ingenuity but at times, I feel as though his imaginations go beyond the necessary.  He is a good writer, don’t get me wrong, but the frequent influx of suicidal feelings in most of his characters has left me uncomfortable and distressed by the end of his books.

The protagonist of the novel, Toru, is a college student who finds himself perplexedly involved with Naoko- the girlfriend of his best (and only) friend who had committed suicide years back.  Ironically, their love for the lost friend keeps their lives unbearable without each other.  Emotionally and physically obsessed, Toru and Naoko attempt to define their relationship.  While they search for answers, Toru finds himself embarking on a new affair with a very sexually liberated woman.  The women represent his almost two-sided life; he tries to find a balance between being revolutionary and ideal.  Toru’s proverbial nature to struggle through the consequences of his actions keeps the story bleak yet amusing.  As he continues to lead an obscure lifestyle, something happens to one of the women that leaves me shaken and emotionally fragile.  In the end, I feel that Murakami wanted to capture the humanism aspect of a young man’s disheartening pursuit of love.

dee’s recommendation: 3.5/5