Top critical review
Very convincing characters,deeply insightful perspective
on September 6, 2003
37-year-old businessman Watanabe recalls his days as an 'ordinary' University student in the 70s and Norwegian Wood is his story.Through his narrating,the reader knows very convincing characters like Naoko (his beloved,ethereal gal whose importance I believe is pivotal as a deceptively simple romance for readers looking for a poignant 'love story'),very charming Reiko(who also has her strange,tantalising story to tell) and fickle,sensitive and frank Midori who, genuinely loves Watanabe.
Norwegian Wood surely deserves more than three stars for the author's deeply insightful perspective for all characters,including the lonely,young one-night-stander Watanabe.Obviously,the characters are so true-to-life that they could be strangers standing beside you,young adults reading Thomas Mann at a cafe or chatting in the pub with jazz buzzing around,or somebody playing piano in the restaurant you are sitting in.
Yet,from the author's pen,every character is bestowed a kind of tenderness ,sympathy and helplessness with their plights.Trust your intuition,the characters have no way out although they've tried their best like you and I.
The reason why I give it a three-star is the book doesn't give me what some reviewers have felt upon finishing.While admiring the author's sharp portraits of the characters(in fact,its so good that it doesn't feel you are reading Fiction at all!),as a reader I would have expected a louder,more engaging if not all- fair voice in a novel,instead of a blander,quieter piece like Norwegian Wood that reads deceptively like some popular pulps.