Genre: contemporary, romance, japan
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally 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. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
Rating out of five:
A fabulous bestselling book, which somehow reminded me of “The secret history” by Donna Tartt, but set in Japan, with less murder and just as much insanity.
“I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.”
All the characters are wrong and troubled, although the main character Toru seems to be the most normal at first. It’s something they’re mostly aware of and Toru even ponders why he chooses to get close to a certain type of person. Is it because they don’t claim or pretend to be normal?
“Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”
The characters are what drives this story as you want to know how they end up. It’s obvious they all are in either dangerous sitations or can’t follow the same path for long without it becoming critical. My favourite and the likely the worst of the bunch is Nagasawa who is a womanizer, clever and rich dirtbag. He doesn’t think any good of anyone, but chooses Toru as his friend, and the contrasts and similarities between them is very interesting.
It is a love story. Kind of. As much as it’s about mental health or college/uni. At times all the different aspects of the story didn’t match up for me, but in the end it made sense. It’s all about Toru’s life and development. I can’t claim to completely understand this book yet, and it was slow at times, but I quite liked it. Murakami’s writing is as wonderful as always.