mtvessel: (Default)
May 2012
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami - Vintage, 2003
* * * *
Murakami has been on my "authors to try" list for some time, partly because of the intriguing titles and covers of his books, but also because I am a bit of a Japanophile. There is something about the culture that fascinates me. It is very different from mine with its temples and its savoury doughnuts, but other aspects - the politeness, social stratification, obsession with nature and the weather, the long history, the occasional ruthlessness of political and military leaders, the empires gained and lost - are all very familiar. One difference that I really like is the fact that, as in Germany, public transport and other services just seem to work without fuss, bother or moaning. So unlike my own dear country.

Anyway, back to Murakami. Yes, he is definitely a find. Although the delicacy and refinement of feeling that is characteristic of Japanese art is there, it is combined with a heavy slew of western cultural references. This makes the book very approachable, but not as beautifully alien as I was expecting. Indeed, I am surprised that it was such a big hit in its home market.
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