by Mriganka Das
Book Review: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Reviewer: Mriganka Das
Having heard quite the admiration for Murakami’s works from peers and his novels getting trendy in recent times I decided to pick up Norwegian Wood based on Internet’s recommendations for Murakami beginners. And boy was I disappointed. A sheer waste of time and a completely dull read I had to drag myself across the pages.
To begin with, the protagonist is an utterly boring, monotonous character whose responses do not exceed 10 syllables. 3 syllables if we’re lucky. To top this, the females are absolutely gaga for him. Toru Watanabe is the self-centred, self-pitying, ‘look-im-so-nice’ guy that most girls avoid in reality.
The most abhorrent thing about this book are the whiny, dependent, apathetic female characters whose only objective in life seems to be to become the perfect housemaid that men demand. Kobayashi Midori tops this by not only exhibiting nymphomania but also display a sadistic, selfish side of her. She is not looking for love, she is “looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortbread. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortbread out to me. And I say I don’t want it any more and throw it out of the window. That’s what I’m looking for.” She’d “make lots of babies... as tough as little bulls.” Thus perfectly personifying a sex-crazy, frenzied wife-to-be.
Pick this book up at your own risk. One would only enjoy it if they’re obsessive lovers of teenage romance with a side of Grim Reaper.
Mriganka Das is an undergraduate student at Guwahati. Their areas of interest are literature, movies and music. They are currently working with U&I to provide education to rescued, orphaned children. Also an ardent supporter of LGBTQ+ and women rights they hope to bring a change in the future.
Norwegian Wood and other books by Haruki Murakami are available at NEthing.