Murakami has skillfully created a quiet and gentle world in Norwegian Wood. So quiet that you do not hear the campus slogans of the revolutionaries of the late 60’s. You only hear the deepest inner voices of lovers separated by sickness and death. So gentle that Watanabe volunteers to watch a dying man on his hospital bed, changing his bedpans and feeding him a cucumber. And there is so much details: when it rains you can tell that Murakami wants you to feel the drops on your skin. And the constant longings and denials…
And there is a rather charming fascination with death — self-inflicted death — in this book, probably the only thing truly Japanese. Death somehow becomes beautiful; it becomes a continuation of life. And when one reflects on life, as the main character Watanabe does to begin the book, tender memories seems to outweigh the heavy-liftings one had to do in life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone over 35. There is a lot of walking on the part of the main character in this book. And it feels like a long restful walk to read through this book. It lets us behold the wonder of life at every turn, and the pain we have to endure in order to embrace that wonder.
And I’m sure that’s why I could read every word of those long letters from Naoko and not be bored. Because I too had yearnings when I was at that age. Because I was also once very fragile, just as breakable as Naoko.
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