After discussing Norwegian Wood in book group, I understand why Haruki Murakami is regarded as one of the best modern writers. Murakami’s Japanese origins are felt in his writing style; describing darkness as ink, clouds as bones and likens love to tigers that melt butter. I found this and his account of all the meals eaten a real highlight.
On one level the plot is about two people as they grow up and become adults, and on another level it is about mental illness, suicide and life. For most of the book, the reader is transported to a university in Tokyo; there are student uprisings, economic unrest and sexual encounters.
Although, I wasn’t crazy about the plot line, some of the book group members really liked the story. It was published in Japanese first and then was translated into English in the 80’s. Traditional Japanese society do not like talking about mental illness and suicide and Murakami discusses these issues sensitively and opens our eyes to a hidden subject. Although, all of the characters have disturbing stories, it was suggested by one of our book group members, that Murakami uses the character Midori as light relief. As I don’t want to give the story away I’m not going to tell any more of the plot line.
Even those who didn’t like the book stated that they were glad they had read it. Overall our book group gave it 5/10.