Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Japanese
Translated from: English
Authors: Murakami, Haruki
Translated by: Nauronaitė, Jūratė
ISBN: 9955-584-82-3
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2005
Publisher: Baltos lankos

„Norwegian wood“– it is a book, which was read by everyone in Japan but in the West, this book also received extraordinary popularity. „Norwegian wood“ could be described as story of love, life and death. The story’s protagonist and narrator is Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo. When he had gone away from his hometown he left not only his family, girlfriend but also painful memories about his best friend Kidzuki’s death. This will not be the only one death in this book: suicide will be chosen by Toru’s first love Naoko. Suicide in Japanese culture is quite differently understood than in a European: it is a way to avoid of shame and distress. Maybe of this reason death but not life is chosen by other at least three characters.

But this book is not just a chronology of deaths. Toru chooses life: the main reason is love and the desire to experience the pleasures of life. Midori has a huge influence for this decision. She is a young, charming and interesting personality. Although in her life there was so many losses and pain, Midori wants to live and be happy. Challenges of life make them closer and closer but if Toru wants to be together with Midori, at first he must forget the past. Unfortunately painful memories and first love do not let Toru move on. But everything has changed when Toru hears the sad news – Naoko is dead. At that moment he must make a decision of lifetime between future and past.

This novel takes you to 7th decade Japan and gives a new look to the young man\’s life, his experiences and thoughts about life and death.

Haruki Murakami – one of the best known writers not only in Japan but also in the whole world. Each book of this author gets extremely huge attention from the readers. „Norwegian wood“ is different from other Haruki Murakami books because of its plot‘s simplicity, wholeness. The main attention is focused not on subconsciousness or supernatural phenomenon but on young person becoming an adult.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU