Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood

eBook - 2000
Average Rating:
Rate this:
First American Publication

This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event.

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, c2000
ISBN: 9780307762719
Call Number: EBOOK AXIS 360
Characteristics: 1 online resource (296 p.)
Additional Contributors: Rubin, Jay 1941-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 22, 2017

A young milquetoast navigates early adulthood, ennui and romantic decisions all with hints of societal uproar in late 1960s Japan. This definitely rings true about early male adulthood. The more Murakami I read, the more he becomes my favorite Asian writer.

Jan 28, 2017

I was deeply moved by this heartfelt story about love and loss set in Japan during the 1960s. As this was my first encounter with a Murakami book, I'm looking forward to reading more Murakami this year.

SPL_Stephanie Sep 21, 2016

In his renowned book Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami follows the fractured relationship of two college lovers that are faced with a harrowing tragedy and academic pressures. The haunting story uses dialogue and letters to bring readers into the crippling depression faced by the main character. If you like the complexity and alienation found in the writing of Neil Gaiman or the character-driven focus of Jennifer Egan, you will enjoy this touching coming-of-age story.

Jun 01, 2016

I think I loved everything about this book apart from its setting and title. I could have done without the somewhat distracting 60s Beatlemania stuff, but otherwise a beautiful and heartbreaking tale of young love with superb characters.

Apr 26, 2016

This was, I believe, my second read from Murakami and instantly became my favorite of his.

Aug 10, 2015

I loved this book. It is about a young man and his first love. A coming of age....

KateHillier Apr 27, 2015

Not sure what to say about this one. This is my third book by this author and maybe I've just finally hit one that didn't quite affect me the way the other two did. Not to say I didn't like it - I did - but I don't think it clicked with me quite the same as the other ones.

It's a coming of age and a love story all in one package. The main character is in love with a girl who is with their close friend. The close friend kills himself and the two of them start drifting toward one another but also apart at the same time. While Toru tries his best to make his way through life as best as he can, Naoko ends up withdrawing every time she tries to engage a bit more. The novel is told in flashback so the main events are taking place in the 60s so in the background are these student protests which rather compliments the story rather well. Toru also meets a variety of different girls but still is working and waiting for Naoko despite everything. There's a lot to relate to in that.

The writing is fantastic and I can still hear the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" in my head even after I've finished it. The song does make an appearance a few times but I just found myself hearing it at odd times. There's a feeling and an aesthetic perhaps to this book that I connected with more than the actual plot, I suppose.

Dec 21, 2014

This is my third Murakami book. it pales in comparison to the author's current book, "Colorless Tsura...". This book is just another "love story". I was hoping the author's books would provide me with some insight of Japanese culture. That it did but what I learned was how prevalent and dominant are American and English films, songs and books in Japan. Constant reference to these arts makes his books confusing. This book 1/5.

Dec 09, 2014

Supposedly, this is THE ONE. I didn't find it to be so though. I somehow read almost every other Murakami work to date before finally getting around to this one. It's a nice story, yes (it always is), replete with the obvious marks of this reliably-excellent author's hand; however, taken in context of his other works, I disagree with it's enduring privileged critical status. Hence, I suggest the Murakami beginner (or continuing reader) try these other works first:
start: A Wild Sheep Chase, Dance Dance Dance, Sputnik Sweetheart, or even Colorless Tsukuru Tsaki...(or however it's spelled),
then: Kafka on the Shore
and continuing (after some time): 1Q84 or Wind-up Bird Chronicle (these are longer works).
Hard-boiled Wonderland... is also a fine short-to-medium-length novel. I recommend all of these before Norwegian Wood, actually. Thanks and good luck. *Also, his short story collections The Elephant Vanishes and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman also acceptably showcase his unique style if you're not keen on the frontend investment in a novel.

Aug 08, 2014

A quick and interesting read, but was a much darker book than I had expected. In the end, I felt like I hadn't really learned anything or felt that Murakami had much to say other than to entertain.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Laura_X Apr 13, 2015

Nobody likes being alone that much. I don't go out of my way to make friends, that's all. It just leads to disappointment.

Mar 09, 2011

By living our lives, we nurture death. True as this might be, it was only one of the truths we had to learn.


Add Age Suitability

Aug 08, 2014

smplreader thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Matthew Rohaly
Jun 26, 2013

Matthew Rohaly thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add Notices

Mar 09, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Mar 09, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Explore Further



Find it at SFPL

To Top