Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami – 1987 – 36 – Japanese

Title: Norwegian Wood

Author: Haruki Murakami

Original language: Japanese

Translation(s): 36 languages

Context: Norwegian Wood (1987) is a translated novel by Haruki Murakami. The novel is about a young Toru Watanabe, a preternaturally quiet and serious college student in Tokyo. He is devoted to an inward-looking and beautiful looking young woman, Naoko. She is the girlfriend of Kizuki, the best friend of Toru. A tragic death of their good friend years before marks their mutual passion.

Synopsis: At the college campus, Toru starts adapting himself to isolation, loneliness and life there. However, the beautiful Naoko finds that she is not able to bear the responsibilities and pressures of life. She withdraws back into her own world while Toru reaches out to others and is attracted to a sexually liberated, strong and independent young woman. The young man’s first heroic and hopeless love is remarkably captured by the author in a splendid blending of mood, music and ethos with this coming of age story of romance.

Toru Watanabe hears Naoko’s favorite Beatles song and recalls Naoko, his first love. Within no time he is transported twenty years back to life as a student in Tokyo, a life adrift in a world of passion, desire, loss, casual sex and uneasy friendships to a time when Midori a young and impetuous woman comes enters into his life. Now Toru has to make a choice between the past and the future.

Other works by the Author:

1987 – Hear the Wind Sing

1985 – Pinball, 1973

1989 – A Wild Sheep Chase

1991 – Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

1994 – Dance Dance Dance

2000 – South of the Border, West of the Sun

1997 – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

2001 – Sputnik Sweetheart

2005 – Kafka on the Shore

2007 – After Dark

2011 – 1Q84

2014 – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

2018 – Killing Commendatore

Short Stories

1993 – The Elephant Vanishes

2002 – After the Quake (6 stories, 1999-2000)

2006 – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (24 stories, 1980-2005)

2017 – Men Without Women