I feel like this is the first Murakami book most people read, if they’re going to start somewhere. However, this was my fourth, after “Kafka on the Shore,” “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” and a series of short stories called “After the Quake.”
I finally got around to “Norwegian Wood” last week, and I wasn’t disappointed. It felt a whole lot like “Kafka on the Shore” — a coming of age story of an adolescent boy with much to overcome. But there’s something comforting about Murakami’s writing. It begins to feel like as I’m reading, I’m listening to someone’s grandfather telling stories — while the themes of the stories are similar, they don’t become tiresome. Murakami’s voice, spoken through the depth of his characters, is familiar and warm.
While “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” may always be my favorite of Murakami’s works, I’m glad I read “Norwegian Wood” at long last.