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Publisher's Summary

Stunning and elegiac, Norwegian Wood first propelled Haruki Murakami into the forefront of the literary scene.

Toru, a serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. As Naoko retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman. 

A magnificent coming-of-age story steeped in nostalgia, Norwegian Wood blends the music, the mood, and the ethos that were the '60s with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love. 

©1987 Haruki Murakami (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“A masterly novel. . . . Norwegian Wood bears the unmistakable marks of Murakami’s hand.” ( The New York Times Book Review)
Norwegian Wood . . . not only points to but manifests the author’s genius.” ( Chicago Tribune)
“[A] treat . . . Murakami captures the heartbeat of his generation and draws the reader in so completely you mourn when the story is done.” ( The Baltimore Sun)

What listeners say about Norwegian Wood

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Compelling Story

The story made me feel good, worried, uncomfortable at times. It made me laugh in Public.
Beautifully written.

3 people found this helpful

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Hmmm

Are the themes life and death or sex and death? Interesting treatment of mental health.

2 people found this helpful

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  • CS
  • 2018-04-11

Ignorant narrator, but good acting

narrator tries to get French names and other musicians from other countries correct, on the other hand he gets the most important name wrong. it's pronounced wa ta na beh, not wa ta na beee

2 people found this helpful

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Freudian Slip? Eros IS Murakami’s superego

I want to start by saying, I used to LOVE Haruki Murakami novels…read them all, even Pinball (not quite as intriguing) and the one he wrote about running. I am drawn in by the cerebral twists and turns, as if one could, we imagine the journeys in detail. Even the descriptions of meals comfort and soothe amidst the chaos or toiling turbulent ethos of the narrative.

I started this audio read by detesting the reader’s voice. I thought it was just a bad day, but then realized it was the submissive, coy portrayal of the female characters in the book that grated on my nerves.

Next I started seeing what my younger self didn’t like in parts of his other novels, the sexualization of all his female characters - more as objects of curious interest or obsession, than characters who have equal richness (not merely additive or addictive presence for the benefit) to the main character. After reading 3/4 of the book, I couldn’t help but compare Murakami’s writing to Irving. It is like masterbation on the page. There is a distant self-righteousness; a disdain in his unaffected questioning of others on some sort of superior (definitely not moral) higher ground.

Now I am compelled to go back to my favourite Hardboiled Wonderland at the End of the World and Kafka on the Shore with new eyes. Will it be worth the trip? No audio read for that journey, thank you very much.

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Dark but fascinating story

Excellent story and Toru, the main character and narrator is very relatable. He is real, honest and just trying to get by in a strange world. It’s quite a dark book and many of the characters are living very troubled lives. But it’s a meaningful book and the way he questions life and things that happen is very profound. Highly recommend.

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  • Douglas
  • 2016-02-18

A Beautiful, Wistful...

tale of love and strained devotions not nearly as popular as it should be. Quiet, lyrical, subdued, this novel draws you into the world of the agonies and joys of loving. Simply a great read.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Greg Burtchard
  • 2015-11-11

Not up to usually high Murakami standards

Poorly read. Improper pronunciation of Japanese names. Inappropriate inflection. Glacially slowly developed plot. I expected much more of Murakami. I'm quite disappointed.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly McCarty
  • 2015-10-30

Sorry, but I didn't like the narrator.

The narrator's female voice was annoying. Also, he missed the correct inflection at times. I wish I would've read this book instead of listen. With Murakami's books, I will read instead, I'll listen to more mainstream authors on Audible.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Hazy
  • 2019-08-16

Treasured experience

Murakami's brilliant Norwegian Wood made me feel throughout the book as if everything inside of my skin had been scraped and gutted out leaving me empty. I feel a great appreciation for the world created within Norwegian Wood and even feel as if I have become a better person because I made it through the book. Fantastic characters pulled me into thoughts that were so compelling and engaging.

The narrator for the most part did a basically good job but being third generation American Japanese, wow, when he repeatedly totally mangled simple Japanese names, it was so painful. Midori is pronounced Me do (long "o" as in door) ri. The narrator would say: me-der-ree with a rapid pace, wow. When reading the Midori character's words as portrayed by the narrator, I could barely handle it and even looked up the free online PDF text so I could be spared the way in which the narrator did Midori.


Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my experience of listening to Norwegian Wood on Audible.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2018-10-13

This Bird Has Flown

I'm a little conflicted about 'Norwegian Wood.' I love Murakami and I think I get what Murakami was trying to say (at least partially) in this novel. I was just a little too bored and too disinterested to find myself caring about the novel. I finished it, just to have finished it, and kinda felt that Murakami might have felt the same way after writing it. By the end, I was almost begging for some Japanese 'Deus ex Machina' to suddenly appear and rescue me from the plastic bag-like suffocation of the life and death narrative. Ugh.

That all said, perhaps it really is me and not you with this one Murakami.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Coffee Anon
  • 2016-10-30

great book, and great reading

this is very dfferent from other murakami novels, there's not so much imagination and absurdness to it but the concreteness of it is nice. still I feel it compliments murakamis other work quite well. would recommend to anyone interested in his work.

5 people found this helpful

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  • A. Bowler
  • 2016-06-20

Good and compelling in places but slow.

I liked it but didn't love it. A great audio performance and an interesting story. But despite some moving parts the story is slow and a tad dull.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Leigh
  • 2015-04-04

To others readers out there

To truly understand and enjoy this book knowing about the post war writings of Japan, existentialism, and Sartre would help. The writing is beautiful but the plot can be confusing at times because it focuses on the philosophy and post war styling. Still it's a good read.

10 people found this helpful

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  • ZiggyZ
  • 2015-07-12

Narrator: no clue how to pronounce Japanese names

I have enjoyed every other Murakami novel I've read. I'm not quite sure where this one was going, but basically I couldn't stand the narration. It was so wrong, including the fact that he had no clue whatsoever how to pronounce the Japanese names and that was so distracting.

Pronouncing Japanese words is really not difficult, and surely he could have learned or else they could have used a different narrator.

This one is going back, unfortunately.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-06-07

eh

Not at all what I was expecting of Murakami's writing, trying not to let it deter me from other books, as this was my first of his. I have since read up on this piece since finishing it and discovered even the author was not as delighted as audiences have raved on this novel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mahdi
  • 2021-02-06

Narration is great

I love it, specially the teller is perfect. I used to listen it every night before sleep.