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Norwegian Wood

Reviewed by Rithy Odom / Khmer Times Share:

“Norwegian Wood” is one of the many intriguing and beautiful novels composed by the award-winning author Haruki Murakami. Despite its name, the story has nothing to do with a forest. Instead, it depicts what the life of a boy like Toru Wanatabe can look like.

The book is adventurous, with unexpected twists, yet very satisfying and fulfilling, and one that everyone can relate to. It is another example of the novelist’s masterful craftsmanship.

He has composed an appealing, vivid and attention-grabbing story of real people getting through their troubled teenage years in difficult times.

The best-selling was a major cinematic breakthrough and has been translated into 33 languages and widely read around the world.

It is a story that depicts the personal life of Wanatabe, who was plagued by troubles in his own life just as his country, Japan, was witnessing discontent with its patriotic establishment in the 1960s.

After the death of his best friend, Watanabe becomes a reclusive figure who is socially awkward until he finds his first love, Naoko. She is a very calm and beautiful girl, who also suffers from the loss of a loved one.

Naoko occupies much of Watanabe’s time until Midori comes into his life. A young, wild, realistic and self-confident woman, she is strong on the outside yet soft within. Once she enters Watanabe’s life, he has to make a choice between his past and present; that is, between Naoko and Midori.

Watanabe’s life is filled with adventures to new unexplored places, depression, isolation, romance and women. Watanabe at one point befriends one of the smartest people and most prolific womanisers of his age, but he’s not as bad as that sounds: They become friends and spend a lot of time searching for new women.

During his journey, he meets with inspirational people, suffers from depression, follows his endless curiosity and seeks almost constantly just about any job that can help him support his university life.

As vivid and reflective of real life as it is, “Norwegian Wood” gives an impression of adventure and hope for many young people who struggle every day to find the best path to take in their lives.

I truly recommend this book for young readers who seek intriguing and intimate content for teenagers that also has a contemporary feel.

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