translated from Japanese by Jay Rubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"All of us (by which I mean all of us, both normal and not-so-normal) are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world, We don't live with the mechanical precision of a bank account or by measuring all our lines and angles with rulers and protractors." (p. 355)This novel was different from other Murakami I have read in that it was more grounded in reality. It was philosophical and beautifully written which is typical of Murakami. The story follows the life of a young man at University, Watanabe, as he figures out who he is and what his responsibility to others is. He is a rather odd, but I thought very appealing, young man and his conflicts and observations were thoughtful and made me think about larger questions along with him. I found it a bit strange that the music he listens to (the story takes place in Japan, mostly Tokyo, in the late 1960s) was all English-language music (John Coltrane, the Beatles, Bach, etc.). The song Norwegian Wood is a recurring theme.
If you haven't read Haruki Murakami this would be an easy book to start with as it is a more straightforward narrative than some of his books. Don't stop with this one though, as it isn't representative of the amazing work Murakami has produced.