Norwegian Wood

It’s been a while since I last wrote book review because I haven’t been able to read materials other than textbooks for a while (sigh). So the next day after I finished my final 2nd-year exam, I picked a book I put down about months ago, Norwegian Wood, by Murakami. This book is his writing that rocketed him to fame and said to be must-read book by Japanese. Odd enough, this wasn’t my first Murakami book, but Sputnik Sweetheart is. And after two books of Murakami, safe to say Sputnik Sweetheart is still my favourite.


First of all, why Norwegian Wood? Norwegian Wood is a song that was always played by one of the characters in this book, named Reiko. Reiko is not even the main role in this book, only appear in the last part of this book.

“Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life. Until that time, I had understood death as something entirely separate from and independent of life. The hand of death is bound to take us, I had felt, but until the day it reaches out for us, it leaves us alone. This had seemed to me the simple, logical truth. Life is here, death is over there. I am here, not over there”

This is my favourite quote from the book, that had me thinking how we view death is a different world, in Islam we call it “Barzakh”. That makes us feel separated from death like death is a distant, not something that follows us every day. Every second passed, we are not getting near to a new day or a new month, or a new year, but a new death. Could be ours, could be others. I grasped the idea that Murakami was trying to convey that death is a part of life. This book has a total five deaths overall as if one is not depressing enough? But as you go down the pages, even you feel death is nothing just a new chapter in this book, or in your life if you can relate.

Another theme Murakami was venturing was sex. It’s not common to find a book that portrays sex could be a tiring thing, sex is always overrated to be steamed and heated process that sparks intimacy. But Murakami did both in this book, he explains quite accurately how sex without meaning, the kind you had with a one-night-stand girl, it eventually wears out its own excitement. No matter how amazing your sex partner, if no purpose lies with you and the person on the bed, you achieve nothing but climax. And how sex without penetration but when it comes to a right girl, it sticks to Toru’s (the main role) mind. I always thought the same thing, how sex is so exaggerated.

Death and sex are two main themes in this book and I find it amazing how Murakami relates the unrelated.

Norwegian Wood

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