Review of the book «Tokyo blues» by Haruki Murakami


What is so special about the book “Tokyo blues” (original title: “Norwegian Wood”), by Haruki Murakami, that made it a bestseller and a benchmark for contemporary Japanese literature? In this article, I will try to analyze the keys to this novel that tells the story of Toru Watanabe, a young man who faces love, death and maturity in Tokyo at the end of the sixties.

The novel is inspired by the song “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles, which the protagonist hears on a plane and which transports him to his past. Music is a recurring element in Murakami’s work, which he often uses as a means to evoke emotions and create atmospheres. In this case, the song serves to introduce us to the inner world of Toru, who is torn between two women: Naoko and Midori.

Naoko is the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki, who committed suicide when they were teenagers. Toru and Naoko maintain a relationship marked by the memory of Kizuki and by Naoko’s emotional instability, who ends up entering a psychiatric clinic. Midori is an extroverted and vitalistic girl who studies at the same university as Toru and who represents the contrast to Naoko. Toru is attracted to both, but doesn’t know how to choose between them.

The novel is a reflection on the passage from youth to adulthood, on the losses that growing up entails and on the search for meaning in life. Murakami masterfully portrays the psychology of the characters and their internal conflicts, as well as the social and cultural context of Japan at the time, marked by student protests and generational change. The author’s style is characterized by simple and fluid prose, which combines realism with fantastic and humorous touches.

“Tokio blues” is a novel that captivates the reader for its sensitivity and depth, for its ability to transmit universal emotions and for its literary beauty. It is a work that deserves to be read and enjoyed by all those who want to get to know better one of the most influential and original writers of our time.

Murakami addresses universal themes such as love, friendship, loneliness and the search for identity in a constantly changing world. Through well-developed characters and witty dialogues, the author manages to immerse the reader in the world of the protagonists, allowing them to experience their emotional conflicts and moral dilemmas.

Murakami’s prose is elegant and evocative, creating a nostalgic and melancholic atmosphere that envelops the reader in the plot. The narrative unfolds fluidly, alternating between the present and Toru’s memories, allowing the reader to understand how past experiences influence the characters’ decisions and emotions.

One of the highlights of “Tokyo Blues” is Murakami’s ability to portray human emotions in a realistic and moving way. The novel features a number of memorable supporting characters, such as Reiko, an older woman who becomes a friend and confidant to Toru and Naoko. These characters add depth and complexity to the plot, and their interactions with the protagonists contribute to the evolution of their search for truth and understanding of themselves.

Additionally, the novel is set during a period of political and social upheaval in Japan, which provides an interesting backdrop for the story and allows the reader to reflect on how the environment and circumstances can influence the characters’ decisions and emotions. .

In short, “Tokyo Blues” is a moving and nostalgic novel that explores the complexity of human emotions and the search for identity and purpose in life. The captivating narrative, memorable characters, and melancholic atmosphere make this work a must-read for fans of Haruki Murakami and those seeking a deep, emotional story that addresses universal and timeless themes.


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