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Publisher's Summary

This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event.

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.

A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.

©1987 Haruki Murakami (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A masterly novel. . . . Norwegian Wood bears the unmistakable marks of Murakami’s hand.” (The New York Times Book Review)
Norwegian Wood . . . not only points to but manifests the author’s genius.” (Chicago Tribune)
“[A] treat . . . Murakami captures the heartbeat of his generation and draws the reader in so completely you mourn when the story is done.” (The Baltimore Sun)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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A Beautiful, Wistful...

tale of love and strained devotions not nearly as popular as it should be. Quiet, lyrical, subdued, this novel draws you into the world of the agonies and joys of loving. Simply a great read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Sorry, but I didn't like the narrator.

The narrator's female voice was annoying. Also, he missed the correct inflection at times. I wish I would've read this book instead of listen. With Murakami's books, I will read instead, I'll listen to more mainstream authors on Audible.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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great book, and great reading

this is very dfferent from other murakami novels, there's not so much imagination and absurdness to it but the concreteness of it is nice. still I feel it compliments murakamis other work quite well. would recommend to anyone interested in his work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good and compelling in places but slow.

I liked it but didn't love it. A great audio performance and an interesting story. But despite some moving parts the story is slow and a tad dull.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrator: no clue how to pronounce Japanese names

I have enjoyed every other Murakami novel I've read. I'm not quite sure where this one was going, but basically I couldn't stand the narration. It was so wrong, including the fact that he had no clue whatsoever how to pronounce the Japanese names and that was so distracting.

Pronouncing Japanese words is really not difficult, and surely he could have learned or else they could have used a different narrator.

This one is going back, unfortunately.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Just Awful, and I'm a huge Murakami fan

What disappointed you about Norwegian Wood?

If this was the first Murakami novel I had ever read, I would never have read anything else he had written. This was clearly written before Murakami figured out his writing style, because this lacks both the amazing storytelling and wonderful prose in his later work.

What was most disappointing about Haruki Murakami’s story?

Whereas Kafka on the Shore & the Windup Bird Chronicle sucked you in and played with your soul, this novel was droll at best. I think I spent the entire novel waiting for a sparkling line of prose or one interesting thing done by any of the characters. Didn't happen.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Chancer?

Someone who was sounded 19. Having someone who sounds as old as ... me ... reading a book about teenage angst (is that was it was about?) ... is just ... inappropriate.

What character would you cut from Norwegian Wood?

All of them. Sorry. It was awful.

Any additional comments?

If anyone understands the ending, please write to explain it. Thanks.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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To others readers out there

To truly understand and enjoy this book knowing about the post war writings of Japan, existentialism, and Sartre would help. The writing is beautiful but the plot can be confusing at times because it focuses on the philosophy and post war styling. Still it's a good read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Tomewin, NSW, Australia
  • 10-01-13

More Murakami please

Haruki Murakami is one of the most interesting writers I've had the good fortune to be exposed to. Norwegian Wood is NOT my favourite and by no means gives the listener the full picture of his ability to create worlds where the tricks of thinking become a reality played out with excruciating intensity. The novel gives you an idea though and is well worth a listen to get the idea.
More Murakami please Audible!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Chancer ruined it.

Great novel ruined by poor voice work. I get the feeling he didn't care about how emotionally heavy this novel is.

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A Long Meditation on Misery, Death and Sex

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes because I'm a huge Murakami fan and his writing is amazing, even in translation; no because it's about unhappy people who have a lot of sex (in great detail) of all kinds, most of whom are miserable and die young. As far as I'm concerned, the story went nowhere. Plot...what plot?

Would you ever listen to anything by Haruki Murakami again?

Yes, absolutely! This was my 4th of his books and the one I've liked least. So glad I didn't read it first. My favorite is Hardboiled Wonderland & The End of the World.

Which scene was your favorite?

They were all so similar, I did not have a favorite.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No way! Too depressing.

Any additional comments?

The narrator was great! I loved his delivery and the way he believably voiced women. They sounded like women and did not all sound alike.