31 January 2012

Norwegian Wood Readalong: Part-the-Last

Well, sometimes you just get what you ask for.  I thought I wanted more Midori, then it was all Midori, all the time, and then she turns into this sulking shell of a girl.  But then, I guess, she turns out okay, despite her falling in love with Toru.  At least she's direct, and a little directness goes a long way with this crowd.

Let's see...Naoko is still dreary and fucked-up, and whoops--she commits suicide, too, to nobody's surprise. Too bad, so sad. Moving on.

Reiko.  Alas, she fell under Toru's spell, too.  I mean, I can totally see now why chicks dig him--he likes to iron clothing and get rid of wrinkles and everything, and who wouldn't swoon over that? I reckon she's off to off herself.

Toru. Mr "I've just declared my love for Midori, so I guess the first thing I better do after getting back to civilization is indulge in a pity fuck right now." Helluva guy, that Toru.

So, I suppose it should come as no surprise that I didn't care much for this book.  Murakami's men are either boors or bores, and the women are all either dull and suicidal, or far too bright & incandescent to be with Murakami men. Still, by the time I came to the end of this book there was a certain satisfaction in it, apart from the relief of finally getting to the end.  I'm completely puzzled why this is the book that rocketed Murakami to both national and international stardom, though--how this book can be a cultural touchstone is way beyond me.

I bought 1Q84 as soon as it released in the US, but I don't think I'm going to be picking it up any time soon.  I'm going to need a Murakami palate cleanser before starting in on that doorstop of a book. But still, y'all, how much fun was it to do a read-a-long with a modern classic that most of us didn't really like so much?  Totes fun, that's how much!  Yay, Alice, for hosting.


  1. Hahaha I'm glad it was still somewhat fun? I'm almost positive I wouldn't have finished this book if I didn't have to. And I at least appreciated PARTS of it because of other people's observations, so that was good.

    I really want to see the movie, because it looks way better than the book, but it's not available via netflix. Booo.

  2. Your sadness over Naoko's death is touching, really! Ahem. I reckon Toru might be so good in bed that Reiko will be able to live off that fuck for the rest of her life! Perhaps this is his attraction to the women...

  3. Toru likes to get rid of wrinkles...and I wish I could get rid of the mental picture of him sexing Reiko's wrinkles.

    I don't get why THIS is the book Japan goes crazy for either! I worry they relate to it too much.

    The movie is playing in some theaters here, but I'm not ready to revisit this story...even with a good soundtrack.

  4. I love how Toru somehow has to sleep with all of them - like he has a harem or something. While I didn't care much for the book, I did love the book-bashing we all got to do :)

  5. I just found out the movie's playing in a really sketchy theater here until Friday. Nope.

  6. I think I would only go see this movie in the theaters if our entire readalong group were magically in the same city. We could all go together and throw things and yell at Toru.

    I find it kind of funny (in a very sad way) that Murakami sets Nagasawa up as the example of a Bad Man because he cheats on Hatsumi and treats her like crap. And then Toru goes and basically does the same thing to Midori... Hm.

  7. Love this! Spot on about Naoko - she was a drip really, wasn't she? And Reiko - love this: " Alas, she fell under Toru's spell, too. I can totally see now why chicks dig him--he likes to iron clothing and get rid of wrinkles and everything, and who wouldn't swoon over that? I reckon she's off to off herself."

    Still, I'm saddened to hear this has put you off Murakami for the time being. Though, his stuff isn't for everyone and his characters get repetitive, so if you don't like them here you probably wouldn't care for them in the other books either! I prefer his magical realism books but I still liked this one.

  8. Shannon, I wouldn't say that this book has put me off Murakami. I'd read him before reading Norwegian Wood. But 1Q84 is too big for me to tackle, and I hardly ever read anything that isn't new or not-yet-published because of my job as a bookseller, which is why that one will be put off for a while.


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