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Stephanie Spines

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Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami What a beautiful novel.Haruki Murakami's prose is poetic and haunting and just so smooth. This book isn't action-packed or exciting per se, but I couldn't put it down. I found myself hanging on to each word and savouring them as they melted away in my mind. I loved all of the characters, even though I didn't relate to all of htem - they all had their place in the novel. I mean, Nagasawa as kind of a jerk, but I still loved him. Midori was so annoying but I loved her too - her quirkiness, honesty, frankness etc. She is one of those characters that you admire because of their ability to just speak unabashedly what is on their mind.The themes in this book were also interesting. Like many a review preceding mine has stated, this is a little separate from Murakami's other works. I had come, thus far, to love Murakami for his strange paranormal/supernatural elements and magical realism. This book was more autobiographical in nature and did not really have any of those things. It is, without a doubt though, Murakami's work, stamped with his signature enigmatic writing style. Present in this book, were some typical coming-of-age themes, like sex, love, loss etc... but my favourite theme is this concept of normality vs abnormality because I feel like Murakami executes something amazing here. Toru touches on it somewhere in the book where he mentions something about not liking 'normal' people. Naoko and Reiko reside in this isolated recovery institution, a place where 'abnormal' people go to become 'normal' again. One the other hand, people like Nagasawa, Hatsumi, and most notable, Midori, reside in the 'normal' world. But are they normal? Absolutely not. And Toru acts as this bridge or conduit that sort of connects the two worlds and you see him, throughout the book, being stretched between the two worlds and having holes poked through him as well.A brilliant, deep, poignant, haunting, poetic novel. The ending was brilliant, in my opinion and I love that it was left open-ended and confusing.