Norwegian Wood

Haruki Murakami
Painting - The Trapper by Rockwell Kent (1921)
The Trapper · Rockwell Kent ( 1921)
Oil on canvas · 86 x 112 cm ·Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

“People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die.”

A coming-of-age story about remembering young love, responsibility, regret, and nostalgia. Truly beautiful and haunting prose, the characters will stay with you for a long time. Despite its slow pacing, it is astonishingly hard to put down.

“It’s because of you when I’m in bed in the morning that I can wind my spring and tell myself I have to live another good day.”

The overarching theme of the book is suicide: The two young protagonists, Naoko and Toru, struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one.

“I tried hard to forget, but there remained inside me a vague knot-of-air kind of thing. And as time went by, the knot began to take on a clear and simple form, a form that I am able to put into words, like this: Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life.”

At the same time as Naoko and Toru grow closer, one of them starts to drift away and is no longer able to look anywhere except backwards.

“I want you always to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”

Murakami draws powerful, penetrating, heartbreaking, sometimes mysterious images. A sad, terrific read!

“I’m all through as a human being… All you’re looking at is the lingering memory of what I used to be. The most important part of me, what used to be inside, died years ago, and I’m just functioning by rote memory.”

Small sketch - Book Review - Norwegian Wood
© 2024 Camillo Visini