Norwegian Wood

Introduction

Norwegian Wood (ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori) is a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.[1] The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality.[2] It is told from the first-person perspective of Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo.[3] Through Watanabe's reminiscences we see him develop relationships with two very different women — the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko, and the outgoing, lively Midori.[4]

The novel is set in Tokyo during the late 1960s, at a time when Japanese students, like those of many other nations, were protesting against the established order.[5] While it serves as the backdrop against which the events of the novel unfold, Murakami (through the eyes of Watanabe and Midori) portrays the student movement as largely weak-willed and hypocritical.

Murakami adapted the first section of the novel from an earlier short story, "Firefly". The story was subsequently included in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.[6]

Norwegian Wood was hugely popular with Japanese youth and made Murakami something of a superstar in his native country (apparently much to his dismay at the time).[7][8]

A film adaptation of the same name was released in 2010, directed by Tran Anh Hung.


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