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Thirty-Second Book Reviews #1: Norwegian Wood

25 January 2016 11:37 EST under
Thirty-Second Book Reviews

(Haruki Murakami, 1987)

College student Toru Watanabe gives monosyllabic responses to exceedingly long-winded stories told by the women in his life while somehow-critically-acclaimed descriptions of late-1960s Japanese culture remain little more than characters' mental footnotes. After some 250 pages of this, roughly 50 pages' worth of interesting story progression occurs. Ultimately, it's a story about love, loss, depression, isolation, emotional dependence, and discovering one's sexuality, rendered completely unengaging by its flat, relentlessly stoic protagonist. That said, Murakami's sentences, imagery, symbolism, and in-your-face sexual acts are as wonderful as ever.

My edition, here on Amazon. ~300 pages.

6/10: worth reading, but, for me, not a quintessential Murakami novel because of the extremely slow pace of the first three-quarters of the book and the lack of Murakami's staple surrealism and mystery.

High point: Reiko telling her story.

Low point: barely mentioning the cultural upheaval exemplified by the student protests against the educational-industrial complex while dedicating an almost unreal amount of words to a dying old man's being fed nori-wrapped cucumbers dipped in soy sauce.