Norwegian Wood Group Read: Week Two ( Chapters 6-7 )

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Norwegian Wood Group Read: Week Two ( Chapters 6-7 )

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Maio 3, 2010, 9:32 pm

I wanted to get this up in case anyone is reading ahead!

Maio 4, 2010, 1:39 pm

Thanks, Mark. And great book choice, by the way!

Maio 4, 2010, 9:44 pm

I've read ahead. Funny, I had just commented on the chapters 1-5 thread that Watanabe seemed to have only 2 kinds of acquaintances (charismatic guys who choose him for a friend and wounded people). And really, even the 2 charismatic guys Nagasawa and Kizuki are pretty wounded.

Then in chapter 6 Naoko asks him why he likes twisted people like her and Kazuki and Reiko.

More sex and western culture than I expected. Although, the book is named for a Beatles Song so I shouldn't be quite so surprised.

Midori is still a blast (and wounded).

Maio 6, 2010, 8:42 pm

I think every character in this book is wounded.

Maio 7, 2010, 7:16 am

I am now more than half through chapter 6 and find this part a bit hard-going. Far from boring, but I feel like I have lost some of the connection which clearly existed in the first 5 chapters.

Maybe that's because now Watanabe is now totally cut off from the 'normal' world. Can't help feeling worried about him. He is sort of interacting with Reiko and Naoko, but mainly he is watching, and the feeling I have while reading is that of complete isolation and numbness.

Maio 9, 2010, 11:38 am

I started Chapter 6. This is such a good story. I like the introduction to Reiko, aka Dr. Ishida: "Here was a woman in her late thirties who seemed not merely a nice person but whose niceness drew you to her. I liked her from the moment I saw her."
Me too!

Maio 10, 2010, 7:25 am

This is the link for Week 3: right here

Maio 10, 2010, 12:47 pm

I'm very much enjoying this read. I'm also a little surprised because I just read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. I'm glad I read Wind-up Bird, but it was a difficult book to read. I'm finding Norwegian Wood a snap to read in comparison. I love the writing style, the subtle humor, and the heart-breaking sadness.

Karen O.

Maio 11, 2010, 1:01 pm

I am not sure if I find this book full of sadness or if the characters are just plain bored out of their young skulls. At first I liked Midori but I am not sure why she got so possessive and angry at Watanabe all of a sudden. She kept saying that she wasn't his girlfriend and he told her that he already had a girlfriend in Naoko.

Also I am not getting Reiko. If she is so wise why is she in the hospital as well?

Maio 11, 2010, 2:55 pm

I think that Reiko is the liar. Anytime an adult has a sexual relationship with a 13 year old and blames it on the 13 year old, that person is a liar. She is the one who is supposed to be in control. I found chapter 6 very difficult. I thought that Reiko was not as she appeared.

I liked Chapter 7 better. I liked seeing Toru interact with Midori's father in the hospital.

I keep seeing connections between this book and Wind-Up Bird -- like the winding up every morning. I am interested to see what I think of the book when it ends.

Maio 11, 2010, 3:52 pm

The tone of the book definitely gets darker as Toru travels through the dark and gloomy forests to reach the very-secluded and unnaturally quiet Ami Hostel. Strange that Reiko, a patient, greeted him on arrival. Who's in charge here? The only doctor we meet is odder than some of the patients.

I just don't know what to think about Reiko. First of all, she's in her 30's and wrinkled and called old? The story about the 13-year-old seducing her is mighty suspicious. Sex, in many forms, plays a key role in this book.

I was also surprised by Naoko, whom I saw as an innocent virgin earlier in the book, and now find out she and Kizuki had every kind of sexual play except intercourse at an age when I was still playing with dolls! Another surprise about her sister committing suicide at the same age as Kizuki and, of course, Naoko was the one who found her. I almost feel like I'm being manipulated by all these coincidences and downright lies.

The abundant music and literature references continue along with a few nods to movies. I was relieved to get back to Tokyo even though we learn Midori is also pretty adept at lying. Her father is dying in a hospital rather than living the good life in Uruguay. I loved the scene between Toru and M's father; so touching when he fed him the cucumber.

By the way, if anyone is keeping score, we now have two suicides and two deaths by brain tumor. I'm pressing on to hopefully make sense of this book. Right now I'm pretty puzzled by it.

Maio 12, 2010, 6:45 am

I remember that I felt really exhausted, almost drained, after the 6th chapter. Everyone loads their problems on Toru's shoulders and he always watches and listens and understands, but never communicates his own issues which he must certainly have.

I'll write about Midori in the 3rd thread - I've finished the book and can't remember exactly which events took place in chapter 7 and which later.

Maio 13, 2010, 7:23 am

I also liked Toru's visit with Midori's father and the cucumbers. I finished chapter 7. The book is working for me, even though I have no idea where it's taking me.

Maio 13, 2010, 4:08 pm

Chapter 6 was rough to get through, I agree. For one thing, it just goes on forever and ever.

For another thing, I just didn't like the character of Reiko. She seems to always be fishing for compliments by badmouthing herself. I don't think she's doing Naoko any good, either.

I have a confession--I've finished the book, a little early. I seem to feel a need to finish books once I get to a certain point. I'll take Deern's suggestion and not discuss more until week 3, so I don't spoil anyone's read.

Karen O.

Maio 15, 2010, 6:14 pm

#11 and 13 I really liked the cucumber scene in the hospital too.

I think I enjoyed chapters 6 and 7 more than most people here seemed to. The hospital seemed like a very safe place perhaps because it was so distant from the problems of real life?

Maio 16, 2010, 12:21 am

I liked the cucumber scene as well. Toru seems more 'human' to me when he is with Midori than when he is involved in the 'triangles.'

Maio 24, 2010, 6:41 pm

OK, earlier I said that the book was "plodding" along--not the best word, but I couldn't think of any other at the time. Even though all your comments make sense to me and are much better at describing the mood of this book, I was happy to hear that Toru also thought he had been "trudging" through life. I felt a little bit more justified in my comment.

Both Toro and the book got more interesting for me in this second section, though 4 suicides in one book? Gees! I folded down quite a few pages, but don't have the book in front of me now. Maybe I'll wait to comment more on the 3rd thread.