Norwegian Wood

English translations

Norwegian Wood has been translated into English twice.[1] The first was by Alfred Birnbaum (who translated many of Murakami's earlier novels) and was published in 1989 in Japan by Kodansha as part of the Kodansha English Library series.[10] Like other books in this pocket-sized series, the English text was intended for Japanese students of English, and even featured an appendix listing the Japanese text for key English phrases encountered in the novel. Notably, this edition kept the two-volume division of the original Japanese version and its color scheme — the first volume having a red cover, the second green (the first UK edition in 2000 would also keep this division and appearance). This earlier translation has been discontinued in Japan.

The second translation, by Jay Rubin, is the authorized version for publication outside Japan and was first published in 2000 by Harvill Press in the UK, and Vintage International in the United States.[1]

The two translations differ somewhat. Of note, there are some differences in nicknames: Watanabe's roommate, for example, is called "Kamikaze" in the Birnbaum translation, and "Storm Trooper" in the Rubin translation.

There were no English trade hardcover editions of the novel published until October 2010, when an exclusive limited edition for Waterstone's was released by Vintage Classics (ISBN 9780099528982).[11]

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