Norwegian Wood is actually a piece from The Beatles. have you heard of that song, blog? it’s such a sad sad song. i keep on putting off listening to that song on my iTunes just because it’s so sad. so, anyways, Norwegian Wood was written by Haruki Murakami and was published in 1987. waaaayyy before i was even born. the reason why the book was named Norwegian Wood was because it was Naoko’s, the main female character, favorite song.
“There were sides to Nagasawa’s personality that conflicted in the extreme. Even i would be moved at his kindness at times, but he could just as well be malicious and cruel. He was both a spirit of amazing loftiness and an irredeemable man of the gutter. He could charge forward, the optimistic leader, even as his heart writhed in a swamp of loneliness. I saw these paradoxical qualities of his from the start, and I could never understand why they weren’t just as obvious to everyone else. He lived in his own special hell.”
so this book focuses on the more psychological side of life. my first impression of Murakami: he has already had his share of life. if you’re looking for happy endings, then you have picked the wrong book. if you’re looking for a light read, return the book to the library. if you’re looking for the usual love story, put it back on the book shelf. because when i’ve finally read the last word of the whole book, what first came to my mind was that crazy people might be the normal ones, and normal people are the crazy ones.
“i’m looking for selfishness. the perfect selfishness. like, say i tell you i want to eat strawberry shortbread. and you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. and you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortbread out to me. and i say i don’t want it anymore and throw it out of the window. that’s what i’m looking for. you just don’t know it. there are times in a girl’s life when things like that are incredibly important.”
i have to applaud him for this paragraph. i may be lacking in terms of the number of books that i’m reading nowadays, but this is really the first time i see someone describe what i call realistic love. because even though boys wouldn’t want to know or understand or even think about this level of worship, girls do need this sometimes. they need to feel this sense of devotion that will provide them with security, knowing that they’re actually worth the act. so in the real world, perfect selfishness it is.
“because we would have have had to pay the world back what we owed it, the pain of growing up. We didn’t pay when we should have, so now the bills are due. Which is why Kizuki did what he did, and why I’m here. We were like kids who grew up naked on a desert island. If we got hungry, we’d just pick a banana; if we got lonely, we’d go to sleep in each other’s arms. But that kind of thing doesn’t last forever. We grew up fast and had to enter society. Which is why you were so important to us. You were the link connecting us with the outside world. We were struggling through you to fit in with the outside world as best we could. In the end, it didn’t work, of course.”
there are several paragraphs in the story that makes you think twice about life… in general. a lot of people might think: why make life seem harder? why not just go with the flow? –and i agree with them, to an extent. but this… this is about paying back what we owe life. i mean, i’m not mentally ill. but what if ‘mentally ill’ patients are just people who are misunderstood. just because they see the world in a different perspective, it doesn’t mean that they’re diseased. they just happen to see life differently.
i’ve been trying to get this book into my hands since i was in… 9th grade perhaps? but i’m actually grateful that i discovered it 2 years later because i wouldn’t have understood a thing if i read the book when i was still a ninth grader. this book is depressing i tell you. Naoko committed suicide. Kizuki commited suicide. Nagasawa is what i call a perfect jerk. Midori’s parents died of brain tumor. lol! that just about sum the whole book. and i may be a brat for spoiling things, but this book is just not how people might have expected it. and i just don’t want people to go around hating this book, because honestly, this book is beautiful in all its depressing scenes. i don’t admire the lifestyles of drinking beers and casual sex of the characters… but this book really shows how wretched human beings can be. how perfect people turns out to be very imperfect, and how imperfect people are perfect in their own ways.
“I had learned one thing from Kizuki’s death, and I believed that I had made it a part of myself in the form of a philosophy: “Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of life.” By living our lives, we nurture death. True as this might be, it was only one of the truths we had to learn. What I learned from Naoko’s death was this: no truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”