Wednesday, 13 February 2013

September 2011 – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murikami

This was a very small meeting due to many members being on lovely holidays. We had a couple of new faces which is also nice to see.
Enjoyed by most of our members, it was thought to be very descriptive, which was not always welcome (members wanted him to get to the point). Murikami descriptive writing style was mainly appreciated when describing Japanese culture and public places, however none of our members appreciated his descriptive style during his many sex scenes. It is also worth mentioning that this book was translated, and although with many others, details tend to be lost in translation, we all agreed this seemed not to be the case with this book.
All of our members really liked Midori, perhaps feeling the real “love story” was between her and Toru, rather than Toru and Naoko. Midori, although seeming a little messed up (watching porn and wearing short skirts to hospital), our members felt it may have been her plea for Toru to really notice her. We didn't think much of the main character Toru, perhaps except when he sat with Midori’s father in the hospital, feeding him cucumbers. Two other characters that were liked were Reiko and storm trooper, everyone agreed that it would have been nice to hear more of what became of storm trooper, although it was mentioned that perhaps he was another suicide, vanishing out of the blue, and fitting the depressive, compulsive personality which fitted many of the other suicide victims.
There seemed to be two recurring themes throughout the book: Sex and Suicide. We found the suicide of Naoko to be slightly shocking, but were perhaps expecting a few more after her. Other members liked the music references and how Midori refrained from buying a bra so that she could buy some cooking implements.
The ending was met with disapproval as no one really knew what happened. We had a few speculative ideas as to where he was and whether or not Toru and Midori finally got together. We would have liked it to link back to the beginning (why was he arriving in Germany)?
We thought he is a very clever author, and used an excellent translator, very wacky and descriptive and most members would read something by him again. Once of our members has already read several books by him and states that this was not his usual writing style, saying he is usually much weirder! Would certainly be interesting to pick up and read “Kafka on the Shore” if you are interested in his more wacky works.
Five members scored, giving an average score of 7.5 out of 10, lowest being 6 and highest being 9, a very good result.

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