02 July 2013

Norwegian Wood

Took me a while to decide to check out Murakami's books. The pretty cover overlay of 1Q84 was what initially attracted me, but Norwegian Wood was on the library shelves so it ended up being the first Murakami book I've read.

(the eyeliner on the cover is so perfect woahhh)

Synopsis via Amazon:
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.
It's a very...umm...melancholic tale? Well that's obvious, but you know those people who talk with such clarity when they're telling a sad/vulnerable story about themselves? The book reads like one of those people telling you the story.

I also think the writing is very beautiful, or at least the translation of it. Like these few lines:
I read Naoko's letter again and again, and each time I read it I would be filled with the same unbearable sadness I used to feel whenever Naoko stared into my eyes. I had no way to deal with it, no place I could take it to or hide it away. Like the wind passing over my body, it had neither shape nor weight, nor could I wrap myself in it.”
April ended and May came along, but May was even worse than April. In the deepening spring of May, I had no choice but to recognize the trembling of my heart. It usually happened as the sun was going down. In the pale evening gloom, when the soft fragrance of magnolias hung in the air, my heart would swell without warning, and tremble, and lurch with a stab of pain. I would try clamping my eyes shut and gritting my teeth, and wait for it to pass. And it would pass....but slowly, taking its own time, and leaving a dull ache behind
and these:
She knelt on the floor by my pillow, eyes fixed on mine. I stared back at her, but her eyes told me nothing. Strangely transparent, they seemed like windows to a world beyond, but however long I peered into their depths, there was nothing I could see. Our faces were no more than ten inches apart, but she was light-years away from me.
Though I think I like it because the last sentence reminds me so much of Byousoku 5cm.  It would be pretty awesome if Shinkai did an animated film of this *u*

Didn't take down any quotation myself, the only line I'll probably remember is that "Only the dead stay seventeen together", and that's only because I have a One Piece wallpaper that quotes the line. Felt really proud when I came across it and finally knew what the wallpaper was saying haha. 

As a bonus, the book introduced me to some Beatles songs.

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