I finished Norwegian Wood
today -- the fourth Murakami book I've read this year. I had heard Wood
is Murakami's most accessible novel, and also one of his most popular, at least in Japan.
I'm surprised to report that I ... well, I think I hated
Maybe "hate" is too strong a word. I was deeply disappointed in the story. I never much cared about anyone in the book, and rarely felt any real emotion while reading it. The long discourses on sex struck me as a young man's fantasies -- they went on and on, and were quite explicit, although as with Murakami's other sex writing, rarely arousing. I've found my reaction to his sex passages surprisingly muted. I'm not sure what he wants me to feel during those passages; I'm happy not to find them titillating, and think that's Murakami's intent. Still, I wonder sometimes why his other novels have those scenes.
Speaking of those other novels, I'm coming around to the conclusion that Kafka on the Shore
, which was my first Murakami and which we read as part of an A&F Book Club, is my favorite Murakami novel. Maybe I have a fondness for it because I read it first (although I had problems with the novel while reading it; the fondness developed as I read his other work). It seems a bit tighter than Wind Up Bird Chronicle
. The fantastical/mystical elements that I stumbled over sometimes in Kafka
now seem critical to what I think of when I think of the author. Norwegian Wood
doesn't have this, and that, maybe more than anything else I mentioned above, hurts the book. I kept waiting for something unexpectedly bizarre
to happen in Wood
I'm now looking forward to the craziness of 1Q84
, which has received mixed reviews from the Washington Post and New York Times. But those reviews describe a book that sounds like it contains the things about Murakami's work that I've enjoyed. Even if the nearly 1,000-page book has an inconclusive, or in some ways unsatisfactory ending, it sounds like the journey getting to that point is worth the effort.
But not yet. I need a break from Murakami for a little while.
Edited by Christian, 08 November 2011 - 09:10 PM.