Norwegian Wood (novel)

1987 Japanese novel / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Norwegian Wood (ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori) is a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.[1] The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality.[2] It is told from the first-person perspective of Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo.[3] Through Watanabe's reminiscences, readers see him develop relationships with two very different women—the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko, and the outgoing, lively Midori.[4]

Quick facts: Author, Original title, Translator, Coun...
Norwegian Wood
First English-language edition
AuthorHaruki Murakami
Original titleNoruwei no Mori "Norwegian Forest"
TranslatorAlfred Birnbaum (1989)
Jay Rubin (2000)
GenreLiterary fiction, romance novel
Publication date
Published in English
1989 (Birnbaum trans.); 2000 (Rubin trans.)
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pages296 (US paperback)
400 (UK paperback)
ISBN0-375-70402-7 (US edition)
ISBN 0-09-944882-3 (UK edition)
ISBN 4-06-203516-2 (JP edition)
895.6/35 21
LC ClassPL856.U673 N6713 2000

This novel is set in late 1960s Tokyo during a period when Japanese students, like those of many other nations, were protesting against the established order.[5] While it serves as the backdrop against which the events of the novel unfold, Murakami (through the eyes of Watanabe and Midori) portrays the student movement as largely weak-willed and hypocritical.

Murakami adapted the first section of the novel from an earlier short story, "Firefly". The story was subsequently included in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.[6]

Norwegian Wood was hugely popular with Japanese youth and made Murakami something of a superstar in his native country (apparently much to his dismay at the time).[7][8]

A film adaptation with the same title was released in 2010, directed by Tran Anh Hung.