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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Norwegian Wood

This novel was immensely popular in Japan and internationally and made Haruki Murakami's literary reputation. It's a love story about young people on the cusp of adulthood in Tokyo in the 1960s. Toru Watanabe is a university student who falls in love with the beautiful but damaged Naoko. She was the girlfriend of Toru's best friend who committed suicide. The two take long walks together and are comfortable together until Naoko disappears. She later contacts him from an institution where she is undergoing psychiatric therapy. He goes to visit her and her much older roommate, Reiko, and hopes that Naoko will come to live with him when she is released. Toru also forms a friendship with a quirky classmate, Midori, who comes with her own emotional baggage. They are all drowning in grief. They're sad and depressed and have empty sex that makes them feel worse. It's a coming of age story that I might have liked more when I was twenty years old. I kept wanting to tell these kids to hang in and it will get better.

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