Skip to main content

Haven't seen the movie

NORWEGIAN WOOD (Haruki Murakami)

Murakami is a strange reading experience.  If you like solid, fast-paced realism with a clear, satisfying ending - Murakami is probably not for you.  If you like something a little more gossamer and ethereal.  Something that floats around the edges of magical realism, or perhaps dips its toes lightly in a pond of peculiar every now and then - you will love Murakami.

Having said that, Norwegian Wood has no magical realism in it at all (sorry about that), but it still embodies that floaty, misty, breathy (how many adjectives can I insert here?) mood of his writing.  Norwegian Wood is a tale of a boy and a girl making their way gradually into adulthood.  One tragic event from their past keeps them joined, yet also keeps them apart.  Set in the late 60's amidst the urban mass of Tokyo, Murakami still manages to take this landscape and puff wistful. lonely tendrils down it's back alleys and dormitories.  And yet the story itself tackles the usual topics of early adulthood; love, sex, friendship, university, loneliness and confusion - time spent wondering what life's all about.  The novel ends in typical Murakami style, open-ended and open to interpretation.  The reader is left to ponder what might be.

When first published in Japan in 1987, Norwegian Wood was Murakami's break-through blockbuster.  So much so that he couldn't stand all the fuss and headed back to Europe until the hysteria died down.  The author has since been able to move back to his home country, but the cult status of Norwegian Wood remains.

I would have re-read certain passages to try and illicit the deeper meaning (there is always some sort of deeper meaning within the pages of Murakami novels), but someone from the library has the book on hold and I can't renew it.  I was tempted to "accidentally" cancel that user's hold, but I work for good, not evil.  Ahhh the heady power of the public librarian, it must be used wisely!

Norwegian Wood is classed as YA in my library, but I believe adults will enjoy it, too.  Do I think it's Murakami's best work?  Not really, I enjoyed Kafka on the Shore more, but it is still well worth a ready.  Anything of Murakami's is, really!


Popular posts from this blog

Using librarian skills to uncover a network of dodgy shopping sites!

In all my posts over the years I'm not sure if I ever mentioned I am an avid steampunker.  Like many of my quirky fellow librarians, I love a good dress up and recently found myself searching for a great pair of boots to go with the Steampunk Aviator Superhero costume I'm assembling (trust me, it will work!).

One evening whilst idly thumbing through Pinterest I found a picture of these undeniably AWESOME combat-boot style boots.  I followed the link to the website ( and although it didn't look dodgy and offered PayPal, I am a cautious online shopper and always check the customer reviews first.  They were 1000% abysmal.  Like the kind of reviews that say SCAM, THEFT and CAN I LEAVE 0 STARS.  So despite loving the shoes, I was definitely not parting with my money on this occasion.

Fast forward a couple of months and I see an ad for Victorian-style cosplay boots in my Insta feed.  Did I mention that I am an avid steampunker?  Because seriously, these shoes…

It only takes a second (ment)

What the hell is a secondment?
Some people I have chatted to have no idea what I'm talking about (and I also discovered that some spell-check utilities don't even recognise the word) so I thought I would clear the confusion by ripping a definition straight from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of secondmentplural-s

: the detachment of a person (such as a military officer) from his or her regular organization for temporary assignment elsewhere.

So if you just substitute "library services officer" for "military officer" you have an explanation of my situation!

Being a qualified Librarian can take you in so many different directions. One of the reasons I chose the tag "Ambidextrous Librarian" was because I honestly had no idea which direction my career would go. I have worked in school libraries and the kids and teachers are absolutely fantastic, but the pay, conditions and options for career development aren't all that varied. I tri…

A Somewhat Risky Business

Working in a public library means I am surrounded all day by books (duh).  Books are such pretty things - there is a reason why publishers spend big bucks on cover design, and that's because we pretty much ignore the old "don't judge a book by its cover" and happily judegy-judge away.  We can't help it, bright and shiny things attract us!

So as I was standing at the circ desk the other day having a bit of a rest between patrons, I found my eyes drawn yet again to a book that was on display.  I had been gazing at it on and off all day, and I couldn't really make out the title but it was the dress that caught me, and the shiny peach converse trainers, and the pose, and the luxurious hair.  I decided that the universe was telling me I had to borrow it, even if I had absolutely no idea what it was about.  I took it home without even reading the blurb.

The book was titled "This is just my face; try not to stare" by Gabourey Sidibe, the actress who starr…