This novel is more unforgettable than all kinds of other books I ever read. I’m not an ardent fan of Haruki Murakami now, but I still read it once a year as my habit. When I’m about twenty-year-old, it radically changed my thoughts and feelings.
I wonder why so much interesting is such an archetypal story, which might make the novel prominent. A sickly girl, a bright girl, death, a (slightly strange) love triangle, ennui of the youth — not uncomfortable, though a bit ashamed in reading. What is taken for granted is offered austerely. Particular flat narrative is empowered in the novel. Bit cynical Watanabe, who courageously bursts into difficulty in relation to others, is impressive.
As Murakami remarked Norwegian Wood is only about sex, it is openly handled in it. And those who slept with Watanabe part from him without exception. Girls he hunts with Nagasawa are only a night friend, and what’s more, Naoko and Reiko at length leave him. As Sabina Spielrein wrote sex is drive towards death, in the novel sex contains a presentiment for “parting”. Thus he never sleeps with Midori until the end.
A relation between sex and death also highlights one of Kizuki and Naoko. Their sex didn’t go well because of her frigidity, so that Kizuki committed suicide, though it is ambiguous whether or not that is the reason. After that Naoko slept with Watanabe, and she was hurt since she got so much wet. Kizuki and Naoko also follows the same formula of parting after sex, but having had a relation to Watanabe, she comes to be doubly tormented.
Sex might inherently imply affirmative ties in relation in terms of its purpose for birth of new life. But in Norwegian Wood, it is rather an act of rubbing together each feeling without outlets, effusion of despair, check of daily life, which means a negative representation. It is harsh to see they have in mind their feelings with which they cannot deal after having sex, however it is quite unforgettable to find a faint glimmer when they decide to face their feelings sincerely.