©1987 Haruki Murakami; (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks
"Murakami tells a subtle, charming, profound, and very sexy story of young love bound for tragedy." (Publishers Weekly)
Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.
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.
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
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.
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.
Having got totally hooked by Kafka on the Shore I felt compelled to dive straight into another Murakami listen. I couldn?t say that I enjoyed Norwegian Wood as much as Kafka, however there is something incredibly appealing and enchanting about his style that still meant I enjoyed this. It's basically a coming of age book with the main character being likened to Holden Caulfield by some although I personally wouldn?t go that far. I didn?t feel there was so much depth to this story and whilst what I love about Murakami is the fact you really have no idea where his stories are going unfortunately when this one ended although I know I enjoyed the journey I was still not entirely sure where it had taken me. So much so that I actually started it all over again to see if there was something I missed at the beginning. Unfortunately not, but that hasn?t deterred me from moving straight on to The Wind-up Bird Chronicle which 4 hours in I?m already finding to be closer to the depth and quality of Kafka. I can?t remember the last time I was this addicted to an author. One word of warning though if you?re easily offended then Norwegian Wood in particular has quite a bit more sexual content than some of his other novels and whilst I personally don?t think he does it in a particularly vulgar way, it could be off putting to someone of a delicate persuasion.
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.
Awesome listen. Recommend this to all your friends. I enjoyed it very much. Great title. Good one for all users.
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.
I struggled to sympathise with any of the characters and took a clear dislike to several of them. But the last phases of the book were really engrossing and showed a great insight into the troubled subject of suicide. I am glad I listened through. Excellently performed.
"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.
"Great for the long drives"
Just a very well written (spoken!) book. Easy to get into, has subtle depth and has a story and premise that I think everyone can relate to.
The relationship analysis that the main character describes and his whole journey. Almost like Catcher in the Rye.
I have never listened to John Chancer before but his voice acting made this thoroughly enjoyable, especially the voice of Midori.
Midori, she's so fun and spontaneous!
The funny thing is a lot of financially successful people I know loath this book and think it's a waste of time, I guess this book is for the dreamers out there.
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.
"narration is too far from satisfaction"
Even the pronunciation of protagonist's name is wrong. I doubt if the narrator really understands the text.
I have to write something about this book. I love this book. I read it in Chinese 20 years ago and Japanese 10 years ago, and now I heard through the wonderful English version. The narrator's voice is so soothing. Each scene arise so vividly. Can't ask for more.
"Beautifully written, awfully read"
A lovely book, modern and magical at the same time. However, the way the narrator mispronounces all the Japanese words drives me mad.
Never let me go
Doesn't pronounce any of the character's names correctly. Japanese has a very specific pronunciation for each letter - so this can't be argued.
"Not my favorite Murakami"
No I wouldn't really want to change anything, it is what it is.
I don't think it should be changed. There is nothing wrong with it, it just wasn't for me.
I don't think I have listened to any other of his performances.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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