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Norwegian Wood | [Haruki Murakami]

Norwegian Wood

Toru Watanabe, approaching middle age, hears The Beatles song "Norwegian Wood" in an airplane and, with Proustian vividness, it transports him back to his student days in Japan with Naoko, Midori, and Storm Trooper.
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Publisher's Summary

Toru Watanabe, approaching middle age, hears The Beatles song "Norwegian Wood" in an airplane and, with Proustian vividness, it transports him back to his student days in Japan with Naoko, Midori, and Storm Trooper.

©1987 Haruki Murakami; (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Murakami tells a subtle, charming, profound, and very sexy story of young love bound for tragedy." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (135 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (31 )
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Story
3.9 (33 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom 28/06/2008
    Stephen Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom 28/06/2008 Member Since 2005

    Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    367
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    176
    173
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    FOLLOWING
    38
    0
    Overall
    "Start of something big?"

    I'm not sure how I stumbled into Murakami - I think it was on the basis of a review or mention in the New Yorker magazine - and a quick look through the available titles on Audible. Having listened to Norwegian Wood I saw the recent BBC Imagine programme where the author refused to appear in person and his readers seemed strangely reluctant to break ranks and give their impressions of the books - other than to say they had established a personal relationship through reading and did not want to betray the 'trust' placed in them. Odd, odd, very odd. The website with its moody based doesn't seem to clear anything up - but it is the beauty and clarity of the prose that has captured me and seems to have entranced others around the world. Give it a try, get on board - you'll really enjoy the experience. The picture of Japan is bang up to date - it is the authentic voice of new Japan - the pictures of Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo similarly ring true. Other readers cite David Lynch - but the imagery is definitely Kar Wai Wong. The Japanese sensitivity may be breaking free of the corporate steam roller and we may see a new Chinese-wave - or he may just be a lone but powerful new voice.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Bournemouth, United Kingdom 15/11/2008
    Anthony Bournemouth, United Kingdom 15/11/2008 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
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    25
    20
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    Overall
    "Peculiar but entertaining"

    This is the second Marukami novel i have read, the first being The Wind-Up Bird which needless to say had me hooked, and sent me back to the beginnings of his work.
    Norwegian Wood is a story of the coming of age of a college boy and his encounters with a variety of girls and women. The narrative was beautiful throughout but was interspersed with frequent sexualy explicit language or behaviour particulalry from the female characters which was unexpected and quite shocking but written in such a way as to be an obvious and open language and behaviour of persons of that age-group.
    I did not enjoy this as much as The Wind Up Bird but am keen to continue reading Murakami as the prose is so expressive and distinctly surreal. I like his work very much

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Germany 20/12/2013
    Helen Germany 20/12/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    41
    27
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    "Coming of age?"

    I was just flat out bored with this book a lot of the time and sometimes even unnerved. Only smal parts were interesting to me. I skipped great parts after half the book was over, especially because I didn't care about the characters (oh, they were all so very special....) and the story wasn't very likely either. Maybe coming of age stories are just not for me so melodramatic about little things..... And at the same times real tragedies are read (maybe it was not only the book, but the reader as well) like unimportant .....

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie Galway, Ireland 03/05/2013
    Carrie Galway, Ireland 03/05/2013 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    14
    3
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    "Not my Cup of tea"

    This book is beautiful written but I didnt like it at all, I've heard great things about it but nothing much happened in this story and I think I need an ounce of joy in a book and this was quite miserable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Edinburgh, United Kingdom 13/03/2013
    C. Edinburgh, United Kingdom 13/03/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    28
    6
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    John Chancer is an excellent reader of Murakami, to the point that i can't imagine him read anybody's else work. The novel is moving, funny and surprising in equal measure. I did not want it to end.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcin London, United Kingdom 18/12/2011
    Marcin London, United Kingdom 18/12/2011 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    "worth a download!"

    There's something special about Murakami's books and this one is where it all started for me. I had read this beautiful story before and decided to try out the audiobook. I enjoyed it greatly even if the voices of the female characters sounded a bit awkward at times. Overall, a great book and a very good reader nonetheless.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Milton Keynes, United Kingdom 27/08/2011
    John Milton Keynes, United Kingdom 27/08/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    4
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    Overall
    "A beautifully sad conversation."

    I found this book enthralling from the very start. It seems more personal than most novels and as I listened I felt as though I were listing to story of a lifelong friend whose past I had never known about rather than a character in a book.Surely this is the type of story telling that every writer aspires to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    subangi+0412onepod London, United Kingdom 12/04/2011
    subangi+0412onepod London, United Kingdom 12/04/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
    3
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    Overall
    "Awesome listen"

    Awesome listen. Recommend this to all your friends. I enjoyed it very much. Great title. Good one for all users.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    subangi+0405reg London, United Kingdom 05/04/2011
    subangi+0405reg London, United Kingdom 05/04/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    1
    1
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    Overall
    "Amazing Cover"

    Testing Review. Test Test Test. This is an amazing title. You ought to listen and learn. Recommend it to others as well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James St Albans, Herts, United Kingdom 03/05/2010
    James St Albans, Herts, United Kingdom 03/05/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    My first audio book I purchased from Audible and what a wonderful listen it was. The narration is excellent giving every character their own well-deserved persona. This is a book to get lost in on sunny afternoons, while running or taking a bike ride as I often did. I can't compare this to any other Murakami novel as it's my first but as a book in it's own right it is an extremely rewarding listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 16 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Tim
    Br|hlGermany
    03/04/06
    Overall
    "Wistful, magical, poetic, touching"

    Like all of Murakimi's works this is a book you never want to put down. It's not so much the story itself, which is as wonderful and unexpected as always, but the pleasure of spending time in Murakami's world and being able to see through his eyes. He has an almost magical ability to make anything he describes fascinating, touching and deeply enlightening.

    My only minor quibble was that although the reader was perfectly good the book would have deserved much better narration, with clearer dramatic personification of the individual characters. This really isn't a criticism of this reader, I've just been spoiled recently by truly superlative readers like Simon Prebble.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Yunsook
    Jersey City , NJ, USA
    01/06/08
    Overall
    "narration is too far from satisfaction"

    Even the pronunciation of protagonist's name is wrong. I doubt if the narrator really understands the text.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Robin Åhman
    Spånga, Sweden
    30/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my favorite Murakami"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No I wouldn't really want to change anything, it is what it is.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I don't think it should be changed. There is nothing wrong with it, it just wasn't for me.


    Have you listened to any of John Chancer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't think I have listened to any other of his performances.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hanna
    Mount Eliza, Australia
    13/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect first time"

    Beautifully read and wonderful story. Definitely holds one's attention. Will return to Murakami over and over and Chancer certainly did this one justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arne-Michae
    Trondheim, Norway
    29/03/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful book."

    I saw the movie version last weekend and really liked it. Discussed it a lot with my regular cinema buddy. But I'm really glad I bought this audiobook. It's so much deeper. And what a great description of the late 60's in Japan.
    And the way the protagonist uses senses to evoke memories, just amazing!
    It's deeply felt, but not too sentimental.
    I know I'm gushing, but this book really touched me.
    Loved how each chapter had a musical interlude.
    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jason Yim
    15/12/10
    Overall
    "The first novel I found something beyond."

    Through this novel written by Haruki Murakami, I found myself liking reading novels in 15 years ago. Also this novel is the first audio book I bought 5 years ago and have enjoyed it since then.

    The narrator's voice and reading habit is especially great for me to hear the novel through. 'So great' is what I wanna say about this novel, this author, and this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marius
    Irene, South Africa
    16/05/08
    Overall
    "This bird has flown ..."

    Norwegian Wood is the second Murakami book I have enjoyed (the first being Kafka on the Shore). While I marginally preferred "Kafka" this one was well worth listening to. Both books intersperse relative normality with weirdness, tending to involve introspective characters, music and dreams, lust and romance, forests and cityscapes. When you need a break from thrillers, biographies, politics and comedy, Murakami's works provide a welcome change of landscape and pace. My advice, though, is to absorb his works slowly, with long intervals between, to avoid them cloying. The narrator, John Chancer, suits the book exactly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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