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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

Critic reviews

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

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    189
  • 4 Stars
    137
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    13

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    37
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • RichmondUnited Kingdom
  • 12-11-08

An enjoyable journey, but not the best destination

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C.
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 13-03-13

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 18-12-11

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

First experience of Murakami

It was a great book, enjoyed every chapter. Naration was clear and enjoyable. absolutely recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
  • 27-08-11

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • St Albans, Herts, United Kingdom
  • 03-05-10

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony
  • Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  • 15-11-08

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

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful novel with clear narration

Any additional comments?

It is a beautiful story, using very simple language making it easy to follow on a hectic commute.

The narration by John Chancer is very playful, listenable and clear. However, the translation uses many English colloquialisms, which can sound slightly awkward when spoken in an American accent and hence could only be improved with British narration instead.

Highly recommend regardless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

Another beautifully written book by Haruki Murakami. I love his style. The characters and story are all believable. Very natural. A sad tale of Love, Life, Friendship and death.
The narrator is perfect for this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 03-04-06

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • E. Y. Bae
  • 21-12-15

Great for the long drives

Would you listen to Norwegian Wood again? Why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Norwegian Wood?

The relationship analysis that the main character describes and his whole journey. Almost like Catcher in the Rye.

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

I have never listened to John Chancer before but his voice acting made this thoroughly enjoyable, especially the voice of Midori.

If you could take any character from Norwegian Wood out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Midori, she's so fun and spontaneous!

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Arne-Michae
  • 29-03-11

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Yunsook
  • 01-06-08

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Yiyun
  • 17-04-17

Terrific

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Claire
  • 16-09-14

Beautifully written, awfully read

Is there anything you would change about this book?

A lovely book, modern and magical at the same time. However, the way the narrator mispronounces all the Japanese words drives me mad.

What other book might you compare Norwegian Wood to and why?

Never let me go

What didn’t you like about John Chancer’s performance?

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.

Was Norwegian Wood worth the listening time?

Yes

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robin Åhman
  • 30-01-13

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Hanna
  • 13-12-12

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason Yim
  • 15-12-10

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marius
  • 16-05-08

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.