Lisa Bee’s #CBR5 Review #53: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian WoodA story of a young man’s unrequited love, tangled in a web of death, mental illness, and the impact of sexual experience upon a person’s life. I was unaware that that last point would play such an important role in the story of Norwegian Wood, which made reading on the bus next to an older women conspicuously reading over my shoulder a bit of an interesting experience. In general, however, this novel focuses on the confusing time that is a person’s late teens, and how certain moments have the power to stay with us all through our lives.

Norwegian Wood begins with a 37-year-old Toru Watanabe, suddenly being hit with a wave of nostalgia, and memories from the 1960s when he was around 17-20 years old. And the trigger of these memories? An orchestral version of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”. The rest of the novel is where Toru recounts all that occurred during this early and altering time in his life…

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #17: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Title: 1Q84
Author: Haruki Murakami
Source: library
Review Summary: Although the book was long and the ending was abrupt, I loved the writing and can’t wait to read more books by Murakami.

This book was so long and so strange that I’m not even sure where to start telling you what it was about, but I’ll do my best. The story involves two main characters and we alternate between their view points. Aomame is an assassin and Tengo is a writer. As the story progresses, they get pulled closer and closer together by events that initially seemed unrelated but which turn out to have a deep connection. The book involves questions of destiny and pre-determination, parallel worlds and some surprising magical elements.

Read more at Doing Dewey…

Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #36: After Dark by Haruki Murakami


At the behest of a friend of mine, I decided to give Haruki Murakami a look, starting with After Dark, her recommendation. It was an altogether conflicting experience, I must say. I’ll admit, I initially balked at it, taking issue with his making the POV a character in and of itself, so to speak. But once the POV stopped hogging all the attention and he let his characters talk and interact, I found myself taken with his writing style, even in those sections where he starts toying with the POV some more. I can’t say I saw the point behind it all, but the end result read well enough, so who was I to complain?

Which pretty accurately summarizes my feelings towards the book as a whole. During the reading process, I was rather engrossed. It was only when I reached the end, which resolves nothing and draws attention to the lack of a traditional story arc, that I really got back to picking it apart. However, I don’t feel as if it’s fair to judge a book based on hindsight. It would be the equivalent of that scene you see all the time in television and movies where a character can’t get enough of a particular dish until he or she finds out what it’s made out of.

Better yet, it’s like judging said dish on the basis of it not being filling enough. It’s part of the experience, no doubt, yet it’s a small fraction of it compared to the taste itself, and After Dark went down rather easily. It left me wanting more, but doesn’t all literature worth a damn do that? Maybe, then, it’s better thatAfter Dark has made me think. Perhaps one day those thoughts will reveal that underlying meaning that I’ve seen so many others say it has. Or I might never see it as anything more than a quick read. Either way, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Harakumi, starting with Kafka on the Shore.


Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.