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Thread: Book Discussion of the Month

  1. #101
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    Default Murakami- Norwegian Wood

    I am trying to challenge my mind and so stopped reading my staples: Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Camelot books etc. So I bought this book by a Japanese, Murakami, solely on the basis of the blurb on it's cover. Why not? The Guardian, Times Supplement, Scottish Herald... praised it sky high.


    After reading Mishima's award winning book( The sailor who fell from grace with the sea.....may be some error here), I expected this book to be as powerful..... so disappointing. Not that I would read Mishima's book again, too upsetting, but it was powerful.

    Norwegian Wood was a waste of my money. The characters were blah.. the protagonist was the writer ('I') who was definitely a bland character. They were talking sex or having sex for half of the book ( To a non-literary person like me, it was almost porno...OK soft porno). Half of the main characters committed suicide. And I wish someone would tell me what the ending is all about. Did he kill himself?

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by bella25 View Post
    I am trying to challenge my mind and so stopped reading my staples: Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Camelot books etc. So I bought this book by a Japanese, Murakami, solely on the basis of the blurb on it's cover. Why not? The Guardian, Times Supplement, Scottish Herald... praised it sky high.


    After reading Mishima's award winning book( The sailor who fell from grace with the sea.....may be some error here), I expected this book to be as powerful..... so disappointing. Not that I would read Mishima's book again, too upsetting, but it was powerful.

    Norwegian Wood was a waste of my money. The characters were blah.. the protagonist was the writer ('I') who was definitely a bland character. They were talking sex or having sex for half of the book ( To a non-literary person like me, it was almost porno...OK soft porno). Half of the main characters committed suicide. And I wish someone would tell me what the ending is all about. Did he kill himself?
    To many of us, Norwegian Wood is the first real and famous introduction that the Western world have had of Murakami.

    In many ways, it was his most direct work, most linear work.

    It deals with the changes between adolescence and adult, of fascination to love and depression.

    It was captivating, It has wonderful prose.

    I disagree that it protrays any pornography- certainy it was not intended for so.

    Furthermore, i think that you are mistakening Mishima and Murakami.

    Han Solo
    P/s: Murakami is one of only 3 authors that i seriously pursue, and i think that there are a few other Murakami's works that are better but less linear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by bella25 View Post
    I am trying to challenge my mind and so stopped reading my staples: Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Camelot books etc. So I bought this book by a Japanese, Murakami, solely on the basis of the blurb on it's cover. Why not? The Guardian, Times Supplement, Scottish Herald... praised it sky high.


    After reading Mishima's award winning book( The sailor who fell from grace with the sea.....may be some error here), I expected this book to be as powerful..... so disappointing. Not that I would read Mishima's book again, too upsetting, but it was powerful.

    Norwegian Wood was a waste of my money. The characters were blah.. the protagonist was the writer ('I') who was definitely a bland character. They were talking sex or having sex for half of the book ( To a non-literary person like me, it was almost porno...OK soft porno). Half of the main characters committed suicide. And I wish someone would tell me what the ending is all about. Did he kill himself?
    Murakami is an acquired taste and very different from Mishima (whose writing is a yawn, to be honest). I don't know what sort of text you were reading, but Norwegian Wood is the furthest thing from porno - how the hell you associated it with porno (or "almost porno") is beyond belief.

    Norwegian Wood is a very powerful novel and a departure from the more surreal, somewhat quirky fare that most people have come to associate with Murakami, but it remains one of his best works. It's about growing up, finding oneself, about people and love in a changing society. I don't know how on earth any of that escaped you when you read about Toru, Naoko, Midori, Reiko and Kizuki. You never read about growing up pains? About loss of loved ones? About anything with themes of sexuality?

    You should approach Murakami, indeed any author's works, with an open mind. You've read with the mindset that he'd be another Mishima, or do a Tolkien and sing every 300th page. So what's the point of telling you about the ending when you don't have an open mind?
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  4. #104
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    Junny,

    Seems that we both have the same taste in some literature works..

    Gaiman, Murakami etc.

    Han S
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by junny View Post
    Murakami is an acquired taste and very different from Mishima (whose writing is a yawn, to be honest). I don't know what sort of text you were reading, but Norwegian Wood is the furthest thing from porno - how the hell you associated it with porno (or "almost porno") is beyond belief.

    Norwegian Wood is a very powerful novel and a departure from the more surreal, somewhat quirky fare that most people have come to associate with Murakami, but it remains one of his best works. It's about growing up, finding oneself, about people and love in a changing society. I don't know how on earth any of that escaped you when you read about Toru, Naoko, Midori, Reiko and Kizuki. You never read about growing up pains? About loss of loved ones? About anything with themes of sexuality?

    You should approach Murakami, indeed any author's works, with an open mind. You've read with the mindset that he'd be another Mishima, or do a Tolkien and sing every 300th page. So what's the point of telling you about the ending when you don't have an open mind?

    Well excuse me, if you have such an open mind, why can't you accept the fact that others don't like what you like? I certainly don't like what you do period

    Unlike you, I don't claim to be open minded and I certainly did not expect Murakami to be like Mishima ( No I didn't get the two mixed up), just expect it to have an impact on me. Books on lost loves and growing up are a dime a dozen, books with descriptions of sexual acts of adolescents and adults with sexual hang-ups equally many. This book definitely does not touch me.

    I still want to know what the ending was all about, even if it's just your point of view. Bl**dy h*ll, I paid for the book and I should be able to close the chapter......

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    To many of us, Norwegian Wood is the first real and famous introduction that the Western world have had of Murakami.

    In many ways, it was his most direct work, most linear work.

    It deals with the changes between adolescence and adult, of fascination to love and depression.

    It was captivating, It has wonderful prose.

    I disagree that it protrays any pornography- certainy it was not intended for so.

    Furthermore, i think that you are mistakening Mishima and Murakami.

    Han Solo
    P/s: Murakami is one of only 3 authors that i seriously pursue, and i think that there are a few other Murakami's works that are better but less linear.
    I read the English version( of course). I find Isabel Allende's books and Salman Rushdie ( Haroun and the sea of stories, and a few others that I can't remember) to be beautifully written. Allende's books that I like were translations too. Less linear is not good?

  7. #107
    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    In some ways, all great literature works are about journeys.

    Murakami's works are often a journey of finding one's identity and love.

    It may feel like a dime a dozen to you- but the strength of Murakami's works lies in his prose and his liberal use of symbolism and some mysticalism.

    By the way, less linear means that the stories are told in a more circuitous manner.

    Han Solo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by bella25 View Post
    Well excuse me, if you have such an open mind, why can't you accept the fact that others don't like what you like? I certainly don't like what you do period

    Unlike you, I don't claim to be open minded and I certainly did not expect Murakami to be like Mishima ( No I didn't get the two mixed up), just expect it to have an impact on me. Books on lost loves and growing up are a dime a dozen, books with descriptions of sexual acts of adolescents and adults with sexual hang-ups equally many. This book definitely does not touch me.

    I still want to know what the ending was all about, even if it's just your point of view. Bl**dy h*ll, I paid for the book and I should be able to close the chapter......
    You can read it again if you're so bloody keen on the ending. You posted just to blast the book for being a waste of money. You said it was almost porno when it wasn't even to begin with. If it didn't touch you, fine. But don't twist it into something it isn't at all - that's just telling people you couldn't be bothered to do it justice. I didn't enjoy Tolkien, but you don't see me trashing his books and calling them junk, do you?

    But forget it. Murakami is not for you, and so much the better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    Junny,

    Seems that we both have the same taste in some literature works..

    Gaiman, Murakami etc.

    Han S
    That's really cool ^^. I've been working through the Sandman - so different from normal novels, but a very enjoyable experience so far. Have you read Murakami's After Dark? I heard it was pretty good.
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  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by junny View Post

    That's really cool ^^. I've been working through the Sandman - so different from normal novels, but a very enjoyable experience so far. Have you read Murakami's After Dark? I heard it was pretty good.
    1) I love Sandman- it was how i came to knew Gaiman.

    In fact, my avatar is death from the series.

    2) After Dark is not bad, not amongst his strongest works but is still an enjoyable read.

    I tried to lend it to a girl i like, and she was commenting that she still don't get the point of the novel. Bad way to introduce her to one of my fav author.

    Btw, NY Times review http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/bo...ew/Kirn-t.html

    Han Solo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    1) I love Sandman- it was how i came to knew Gaiman.

    In fact, my avatar is death from the series.

    2) After Dark is not bad, not amongst his strongest works but is still an enjoyable read.

    I tried to lend it to a girl i like, and she was commenting that she still don't get the point of the novel. Bad way to introduce her to one of my fav author.

    Btw, NY Times review http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/bo...ew/Kirn-t.html

    Han Solo
    Heh, I know, Death is my favourite Endless She's just so cool, I like her the way Chris Bachalo drew it. Dream comes a pretty close second. I love Gaiman's novels, though. So intense.

    I haven't read After Dark, but skimmed the review - seems to be a pretty decent read overall. But yeah, Murakami is not for everyone, I guess. Probably shouldn't go into it trying to find the point of the novel (or any point), but just let his prose wash over you, like soothing music.

    Do you have a favourite Murakami novel?
    Last edited by junny; 12-19-08 at 07:20 AM.
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  11. #111
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    Favourite Murakami book?

    It's a toss up really, it is probably the Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

    Han Solo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by junny View Post
    Heh, I know, Death is my favourite Endless She's just so cool, I like her the way Chris Bachalo drew it. Dream comes a pretty close second. I love Gaiman's novels, though. So intense.
    Have you read "Good Omens" yet? Gaiman co-wrote it with Terry Pratchett and it's quite light-hearted and comical.
    "A girl asked me if she should spent money to change the way she look, I told her that she should use it to change her personality instead."

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by levendis d'orange View Post
    Have you read "Good Omens" yet? Gaiman co-wrote it with Terry Pratchett and it's quite light-hearted and comical.
    Her signature contains quotes from Good Omens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  14. #114
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    Lol, you're right, there's crowley right there!

    What's Gaiman working on now anyhow? Last book I've read is "Anansi Boys" and it was disappointing.
    "A girl asked me if she should spent money to change the way she look, I told her that she should use it to change her personality instead."

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    Favourite Murakami book?

    It's a toss up really, it is probably the Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

    Han Solo
    Mmm, the Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a bit too heavy for me. Good novel, but probably not something I'd read again in a hurry. I like the Sheep series, though, and Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World.


    Quote Originally Posted by levendis d'orange View Post
    Have you read "Good Omens" yet? Gaiman co-wrote it with Terry Pratchett and it's quite light-hearted and comical.
    LOL, I adore Good Omens. Crowley is such a riot and Aziraphale is a sweetheart. As for Anansi Boys, if you've read American Gods, it will seem rather "fluffy" in comparison - not a bad read on its own, but as a loose sequel to American Gods, it can seem rather disappointing. Dunno what Gaiman's been up to, I've been rather pissed about how he allowed Stardust to be filmed into that crap piece of a movie. Maybe check his blog for updates.
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  16. #116
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    Default No dram of mercy by Sybil Kathigasu

    A narration by Sybil Kathigasu of her life in Ipoh( about 700 km north of Singapore) in Malaysia during the evil days of Japanese occupation 1941-1945. The wife of a doctor, she took her husband's duties during the upheaval. Among her patients were anti-Japanese freedom fighters and for that she paid dearly.

    This is a 'Japanese' book that touches me. I reread this book after watching a programme during the weekend on the bombing of Hiroshima. It showed Japanese children going to school, workers leaving for office, women doing housework etc... before and the scenes after the bombing. And this is an excerpt from the book on what S.Kathigasu ( and millions like her in East Asia) went through, probably during the time Japanese mothers sent their children of to school, doing shopping, cleaning house...

    My beating continued until I could scarcely stand but hung limp in the bonds which tied me to the pillar. Now, on a command from the Japanese, a couple of Haehos tied a rope round Dawn's chest, (6 yrs old) then the other end over a branch some ten feet from the ground, and hauled her up, her hands tied behind her back, into the tree. The tree was swarming with ants and my daughter was soon wriggling uncomfortably as they bit her. 'Are the ants hurting you, Dawn darling?' 'I can stand it, Mummy. Don't worry.' Then to my horror, a brazier was brought, and at a word from Yoshimura the glowing coals were emptied out and spread on the ground below my daughter's feet. Nearby was a pile of wood and tin of kerosene. 'Now speak,' said the Japanese,' or your daughter is finished'.

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    How about Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner? I'm halfway into it. It's great reading so far.

  18. #118
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    Can we have a conversation about Stephen King and his impact on you (the reader) and the american literature and popular culture scene?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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  19. #119
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    Not really a book discussion per se. But, I don't know where to put this comments. So, I put it here.

    I wonder if Charlotte Bronte banned the publication of her sister's Anne Bronte's 'Tenant of Wildfell Hall' after said sister's death was because Anne kinda criticised her own hero in Jane Eyre. I really can't help thinking so.

    Quite a number of literary critics felt that Arthur Huntingdon was Anne's criticism of Byronic heroes and they also felt that Arthur Huntingdon has many similarities with Rochester and Heathcliff. Maybe Charlotte was pissed of that Anne was warning readers against her hero Rochester in Tenant. So, she suppress it's republishing. Her reason for suppressing the republication of Tenant really didn't hold water, seeing how she didn't suppress the equally controversial Wuthering Heights.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

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