100 Books in 100 Words #1: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

April 28, 2009 at 7:46 pm 4 comments

Note: We’re going to try this out as a regular feature.  The premise is simple- we’ll use only 100 words to sum up the next 100 books we deem worth reviewing.  No plot summaries (you can get that on Amazon or Wikipedia), just opinions. norwegian-woodI enjoyed this much more on a second reading. Someone said that what Murakami isn’t telling you is more important than what he is, and I think that definitely applies here. The narrator is a narcissist, not in any sinister way, but in the way  most people in their late teens/early twenties are. Everything we learn about his world comes from his very narrow point of view, and the reader must infer nearly everything about the other characters in the book. You’ll get exactly as much out of it as you put in. Take your time; it’s worth the effort.


Entry filed under: Betty, Books for Hire. Tags: , , , .

The Worst Thing That Ever Happened First of May

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pedro G  |  April 28, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I don’t care much for this book (I like Wind Up Bird Chronicle a lot more), but the way you put it sure made me want to reevaluate it. You’re right on the money when you say you’ll get exactly as much out of it as you put in: I can imagine people reading this and not being freaked out by the narrator. If you stop to think about it, he’s really out of it, and that gives a whole new spin on things.

  • 2. Betty  |  April 29, 2009 at 12:42 am

    I haven’t read Wind-Up Bird Chronicle yet, but it’s on my list.
    And yeah, you’re exactly right about the narrator being out of it. Like, he’s in love with this girl who’s institutionalized for being a schizophrenic with suicidal tendencies, and all he can ever talk about is how beautiful she is. How great she looks naked, how soft her skin is, how delicate her features are. She BARELY consented to sleep with him, it was practically rape. His parents are sending him to school but he never even talks to them in the whole book! It seems fairly straight-forward on the surface, but the “wacky” character, Midori, is probably the most sane of them all. Toru is a perfect example of an unreliable narrator.

  • 3. Olivia  |  April 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    It’s a pity that most people who like Murakami’s books are narcissistic people in their 20s. I feel like their recognition of the characters was not Murakami’s intention…

  • 4. neekaps  |  May 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Instead of using whole sentence to review books could we use 100 words like morphemes (tags) to describe them?


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