27. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami (September 18)
Mark brought this one for me one day, and I’ve been meaning to read it. I KNOW I said I was going to take a break from Japanese writers, but it was on my bookshelf, and I’m trying to plow through all of the books I have before I go and buy any more, so this HAD to be read.
Most of my students who say they like Murakami usually name this as their favorite book. I guess since it was technically his only non-surreal story (aside from the straight non-fiction ones like Underground), and it’s kind of a love story, I can understand. However, I’m getting a bit tired of his narrative.
The story was fine, and it was a nice book about remembering a person for a small reason (as we often do), but jebus, man, did he HAVE to sleep with that last woman? Why are we always having to choose between 2 different women, who BOTH want the protagonist?
I’m not saying Murakami is a bad writer. He’s not. He’s an excellent writer. I’m just tired of how he writes and treats women in the books I’ve read so far. I’m tired of how he describes women from the POV of his male protagonists, and I’m tired of the idea that pretty much EVERY woman in the story wants to sleep with the protagonist. It’s not rational, it’s not realistic, and it’s not really an important thing that needs to be written over and over again. We don’t need to read about licking her nipples, or ‘entering her warmth’. It’s not really helping the story to move along at all.
Living here in Japan at the moment, I can’t help but wonder if this is how the average Japanese man thinks, or just Murakami being Murakami. I have to see and have direct contact with A LOT of men every day at work, and I don’t want to think that every single one of them is thinking about sex with whatever woman is in front of them.
I’ve got two more Murakami books on my bookshelf, which I will have to read at some point. I’m going to try my hardest not to read them until I’ve gone through everything else in my house, or else I might get really angry at myself. Both feature male protagonists, so I have a good idea how the women will be written.