This is the first Haruki Murakami I’ve ever read, and to say the least, I was vastly impressed.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought, why not take a friend’s recommendation with a book seriously for once, and I’m glad I did. I don’t usually read fiction, but this was a pleasant surprise by all means.
What I enjoyed mostly was the depth and plethora of different themes provided. The highlight theme however, has to be death for me. The notion of suicide and how it recurred throughout was a central existentialist whirlwind to the reader. From Kizuki’s suicide, to Naoko’s, even to Watanebe’s nihilism, death was always lingering around it seems. On the complete counter-part of the theme of death, comes along life, and the essence of it, which is Midori, like an eruption into Watanebe’s life. It’s an interesting mixture, and I absolutely enjoyed how Murakami was able to use such themes with great care.
Aside from themes and such, the descriptions were at times beautiful, yet at other times rugged and showed you the nature of the places where you were put in a mind-set by which you can easily imagine the places that Murakami was writing about. The first thing that comes to mind regarding this, was the place that Naoko was being treated in. The Ami Hostel seemed like a real place to me, as a reader, and I imagined Naoko there, struggling to reattach herself into something whole again, with the help of her friend Reiko. The restaurants, the streets, the pubs, and the sexual imaginations add a touch of genius I might say, from the way everything was vividly described. This is probably the easiest fictional work I’ve been able to imagine whilst reading. It was like a movie playing in my head most of the time, and that’s very rare to happen to me, since I do read quite a lot.
I enjoyed how the novel itself started, and this plays perfectly on the aspect of time, since Watanebe is introduced to us at his 30’s , and how we have this loophole of 16-17 years where we have no idea what was occurring during his life.
The ending however, can be a hit or miss with some people, but to me, it was perfect. You are left with a sense of confusion, yet somehow it is a good type of confusion. You somehow know what the outcome might be, but fate and the optimism that Watanebe had might make you think of another ending, this is where Murakami hit a home run for me.
It was a solid, and entertaining read. I found myself thinking about the characters, and the complexity of each one of them. May it be Storm Trooper, Toru’s eccentric roommate, or Reiko, Naoko’s friend, I felt like I could relate to all of them, which is commendable.
I loved this novel, and I honestly can’t wait to read more of Haruki Murakami’s work. I finished Norwegian Wood in two days, I’m curious how indulging and grasping his other works will be, I’m about to find out.