I’ve been reading this novel from the Japanese author Haruki Murakami, ‘Norwegian Wood’ and it’s been a delightful read! As i’ve never been a strong reader myself, In comparison to others who can read 40-60 pages, probably even more in a day – I typically read around 10-15 pages a day. But the 10-15 pages is more of a requirement for myself to avoid getting burnout and actually commit to finishing and reading the novel. So, figured I would upload a quick summary on my daily read – of what I’ve read and pretty much summarize some of the memorable moments in those pages.
March 19, 2020
Pages 212-257 (45 Pages)
Watanabe (main protagonist), is having a conversation with Reiko (his crushes best friend Naoko) about a lesbian encounter she had when she was younger.
Watanabe returns to Tokyo, from the rehab facility in which his female friend that he has a crush on (Naoko) has been living in for the past year. Watanabe spent three days in the rehab facility in which his childhood friend had been staying, and his return to Tokyo left him perplexed on how people relate in the real world. It’s as if he had completely forgotten or was oblivious to how he was living and what people were like before his stay in the facility. He can’t seem to grasp a sense of understanding to the outside world and feels that this world is completely different. He struggles to understand how people can continue living the way in which people have been living, leaving him slightly disturbed afterwards.
In those days that he spent at the rehab facility, Watanabe recalls the sexual tension he had with his crush, Naoko, and he recalls on the second night where she completely undressed herself for him – in a casual unintentional, but in a very much intended way for him to notice. He’s on the subway train back from his job at the record shop and he can’t seem to get those thoughts out his head. He can’t seem to get Naoko out of his head. He’s been completely mesmorized by her beauty and has been replaying those same fantasies in his head, ever since his return.
He meets with one of his University Alumni’s, Midori, and they both grab drinks and talk about life. Midori picks up on his weird vibe, and she questions him as to why is so spaced out. He seems weird, and they only saw each other about a week ago. At the bar, as the drinks keep going the conversation turns more casual and relaxed and she relays a more direct approach – essentialy, she lets out her intentions with him and lets him know that she would like to sleep with him, but still in a very flirtacious manner. He’s very oblivious to these signald, because all he sees her as is just a friend, and he is till thinking about the beautiful Naoko that he left behind.
Watanabe and Midori meet after they had agreed upon meeting again that night they went out for drinks. Midori mentions that she has to go to the hospital to go care for her dad and Watanabe, to his understanding, asked her to clarify that statement. Watanabe was under the assumption that Midori’s father was living in Uruguay after she spoke briefly about the fact that her father abandoned her and her sister, after her mothers death, because the father wanted to get away. -this was mentioned a week ago, when they last saw each other.
She let’s him know that is was actually a lie. Her father had actually never left to Uruguay, but he had grand aspirations to start a new life there and mentioned it all the time how he would escape to Uruguay, but the man never dared.
Basically, they get to know each other more in the hospital and Watanabe realizes how much of stressful life she’s living managing the family business (which is just her and her sister who run a bookstoe), to going to school full-time, and taking care of her father 4 days of the week – to even having enough time to ‘date’ around and spend time with Watanabe – which she cleary has feelings for. He realized that even after recognizes that Midori can be such a big flirt with him, the girl only is looking for means to have fun – a way of escapism, to get under all the stress in her life and relax and enjoy herself.
He acknowledges the fact and comments on the fact that she should have a break and offers to take care of her father, while she went to clear her head for a few hours. After careful consideration and much hesitation, she agrees and Watanabe becomes in charge of the duties/responbilies of caring for her father until she returns.
…. I think this a great book, although, it can feel pretty long at times. I’m glad that I picked up this one and would recommend to anyone who is considering a good read. It tackles the themes of adolescent sexuality, and the struggles and hardships of maintainign friendships from a male perspective.