It was natural for me to be drawn to this book – Beatles song title + vintage printed cover. Just like the opening line of the song, “I once had a girl / Or should I say, she once had me,” is the premise of a serious boy who falls in love with an introspective girl and are both changed forever.
Once in a while I come across a book that gives me all the #feels. Insert: Norwegian Wood, a dark romantic coming-of-age novel. I felt it all: tragedy, hope, eroticism, laughs and love. Marukami is a master at introspective #mood. His words come easily, yet his thoughts are profoundly complex and ignite perspectives.
This novel touched my hearts in many places. It evoked memories of past loves, love lost and love found. I empathized with the character’s feelings of unbearable sadness, sexual desires and thirst for love. It provoked thoughts that genuinely honest friendships are just as special as romantic relationships. Love comes in various forms of relationships in life. We all yearn for the sweet embrace of another. It’s the emotional connection, the human touch that we long for in relationships. The special relationships that Toru has formed with Naoko and Midori may be unconventional, but make perfect sense. They’ve played a pivotal role in each other’s lives and changed it for the better.
I’m officially addicted and Norwegian Wood is the gateway book to all things-Murakami.
Hurting someone you love. “No, we weren’t lovers, but in a way we had opened ourselves to each other even more deeply than lovers do. The thought caused me a good deal of grief. What a terrible thing is it to wound someone you really care for – and to do it so unconsciously.”
Being remembered. “I want you to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”
Love leaving a mark. “I’ll never forget you. I could never forget you.”
“I never met a girl who thinks like you.”
Being vulnerable with love. “When you fall in love, the natural thing is to give yourself to it. That’s what I think. It’s just a form of sincerity.”
When love heals. “What happens to people when they open their hearts? They get better.”
Connecting with that special person. “I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well.”
On trying to relate and understand another. “So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?”
On being a gentleman. “A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”
Don’t feel sorry. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”
Missing that special person. “I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.”
On reading. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Why some kids lack the tenacity to excel in life. “They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid on them…The trick to teaching children like that is not to praise them too much. They’re so used to praise it doesn’t mean anything to them. You’ve got to dole it out wisely. And you can’t force anything on them. You have to let them choose for themselves. And you don’t let them rush ahead from one thing to the next: you make them stop and think. But that’s about it. If you do those things, you’ll get good results.”
Being busy. “I really couldn’t blame Midori for being mad. What with all the moving and fixing up and working for extra cash, I had never given her a second thought. Not even Naoko had crossed my mind the whole time. This was nothing new for me. Whenever I got involved in something, I shut out everything else.”
Being perfectly lonely. “Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.”
I can’t wait until I get my next Murakami fix. Any recommendations?