I had just finished Catcher in the Rye and was hoping for something completely different. Unfortunately Norwegian Wood is Murakami's Catcher in the Rye.
I didn't see that in the beginning. In fact, I was sucked in by a surprisingly wonderful first chapter. The best chapter in the book. The second chapter was the second best, the third chapter was the third best, and then the book sort of plateau and by the end, well the conclusion was foregone. The reader knows from the start what the end will be. Or maybe I'm just a good guesser.
Without giving too much away, this book was very much like Catcher in the Rye coming of age story, only the storyteller is a little older and in college. Short aside: I finished the book on January 9th. On the same day there was a Japanese holiday, but I hadn't a clue of what kind of holiday it was. (I have a Flickr contact who is Japanese and her photos show some kind of celebration.) So I Googled it of course, and guess what? Jan. 9 is The National Coming of Age Day in Japan, and the age in which they celebrate is 20 years old.
Anyway, the age of 20 figures prominently in this book. So weird how everything sort of interconnects.
Really, the strength of this writer is in his descriptions of nature and landscape, his ability to paint his characters unique, and the main character is far more likable than Holden.
I might recommend it, but first I want to read a few more of his titles.