After reading this novel by Haruki Murakami for more than a month now, I finally came to the last page of the piece. My questions on what will happen to the lead character Watanabe and to his complicated relationship with Naori, his fondness to Midori and Reiko, and his friendship with Nagasawa and Kizuki were all answered now.
I’ve never been this glued to a fictional literary piece since after The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck which I read in college some years ago. Norwegian Wood was the first Murakami creation that I’ve feasted my eyes and on and I know for sure that it won’t be the last. Murakami is such a genius. He has the power to let you in on the world of the characters in the story and through their emotions just by the words he weaved creatively together. I just love how he strung them all together and create a really moving line that could make it to any reader’s mind and heart, that which they will carry through even after the novel’s done.
It took me more than a month to finish reading Norwegian Wood because of too many stuff I had to do with school and work. It was only during train rides going home from school that I get to spend time reading portions of it. But even so, during those times that I was standing on the moving train and reading the book, the way the story’s written was so compelling that it could even make me feel like I’m actually in Tokyo, watching the character act out the scenes right to my very eyes. Norwegian Wood made me feel like I was not only a reader, but a serious and focused on-looker in the lives of the main characters in the story.
I must admit, though, that some parts of this novel are not suitable for young readers because of the detailed description of sensual acts. In fact I wouldn’t recommend it to my teenage cousins or friends because it could create in them a different kind of stir and might just focus on that instead of the point of the story. But as an adult who, I believe, is capable already of reading through the point of the story and not just focus on the imaginative suggestions, this novel is definitely a good one.
I love books and I love reading them, not just display them on the bookshelf. I want to read different genres of books–fictional, non-fictions, poetic, narrative, spiritual, and what have yous. I don’t want to limit myself on reading only the “safe” books. For me, that would mean limiting my mind to think creatively and appreciate other creatively written ones. Because when I read a book, I not only read it for the story. Oftentimes, a book interests me when even just skimming through the first few lines of it, I could already see the depth of the author’s thoughts. More than the story, I appreciate books whose words are wonderfully and craftily entwined together.
And that’s what Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is for me. I’m done reading the book but a part of it will linger in my memory for as long as I can think of. It was a sad story, but it was beautifully and radically presented.
My favorite quotes from this book:
Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.
But who can say what’s best? That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives
I want you always to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?
I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it — to be fed so much love I couldn’t take any more. Just once.
“What happens when people open their hearts?”…
“They get better.
Letters are just pieces of paper,” I said. “Burn them, and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish.
Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it’s time for them to be hurt.
Only the Dead stay seventeen forever.
People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die.
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.
something inside me had dropped away, and nothing came in to fill the cavern.