Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: Norwegian Wood

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Norwegian Wood
Haruki Murakami
304 pages

I knew after reading just one chapter that this was a book that I had to share with all of you.  After I started reading, I literally couldn't put it down, neglecting my reading for class in favor of absorbing as much of this novel as possible.  This is the first Murakami novel I've ever read, but I pretty much guarantee that I'll be reading more of him in the years to come.  He has a beautiful, soft-spoken and lyrical quality to his writing that doesn't get lost even in translation.  I only wish that I was fluent enough to read it in the original Japanese.

See that, kids?  That's why you should keep up your language studies, so you don't lose the ability like I did!

The plot itself can seem fairly depressing.  There is a lot of self-doubt, self-imposed isolation, and (spoiler alert!) suicide.  However, these are not included in the plot to create a grand sense of drama and angst, nor for shock value.  Rather, Murakami uses them to honestly tell the story of a young man struggling to come into his own in the world.  It is a tale of a young man and his attachment to two very different young women, and it beautifully depicts the time of life that is the last few years of college and the struggle to find an individual identity.

I personally really connected with this story.  If you've been following me for a while, you already know that, while I'm continually growing and coming out of my shell, I am a very shy person who has a somewhat hard time beginning new friendships and relationships.  So this story spoke so true to me in all of its awkward moments, introspective passages, and general fight for direction in life.  You don't, however, have to be a shy, socially awkward person to enjoy this book.  It speaks so truthfully about growing up and tackling the adventure that is life that I truly think that it can touch almost everyone in some way or another.

All in all, this is a phenomenal read that will leave you feeling surprisingly calm and a bit thoughtful about your own life.

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