Talk:Norwegian Wood (novel)

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"Title translation to Japanese, wrong"?[edit]

Only problem with the story is the title: Norwegian wood. As Japanese translation of Beatles song is wrong. Book Translation = ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori (Mori 森 = forest) Beatles song tilte (meaning) = ノルウェイの材木 = Norwegian Timber. (Wood having many meanings in ...English.) The song title being about the Norwegian furniture in the girls flat, not trees. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Paulmcoker (talkcontribs) 12:51, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

"sexually liberated"?[edit]

I've read this novel. How could the character of Naoko be described as "sexually liberated"?

I agree, this phrase should be revised in order to reflect Naoko's actual character. DLS 01:59, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and changed the sentence so that it says that Toru Watanabe "develops relationships with several young people", thus sidestepping the description of being "sexually liberated". Whatever else Naoko is, she's definitely not that. --Tachikoma 00:10, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I support the new wording. It is better than the previous one. JanSuchy 19:20, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

proposed infobox changes[edit]

Hello, I'm in the process of rereading this novel in preparation for expanding this article. I have a few suggestions for the infobox, but I don't want to be too bold and change the box without first discussing these proposals:

1. Changing the book cover image to the North American cover, which makes the Beatles link more explicit and frankly, a cover that I prefer over the UK version.

2. Removing the "preceded by...followed by" entries, because this novel isn't part of a series, and has no plot connection with either Harboiled Wonderland... or Dance Dance Dance.

Please tell me what you think. --Tachikoma 22:35, 26 August 2006 (UTC) Bold text

I agree with point 2, but see no reason to change the cover, if you really think that the North American is better, be bold and change it, probably nobody will complain :-) // Duccio (write me) 13:57, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

any thoughts on how to structure a story summary?[edit]

OK, I've begun to think about how to write a story summary, but the very fact that this novel moves back and forth in time (recollections, etc.) complicates things. Does anybody think that the story summary should be expressed in chronological order? I've written only the first paragraph as a frame for the rest of the summary:

A 37 year old Toru Watanabe has just arrived in Hamburg, Germany. When he hears an orchestral cover of the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood", he is suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of loss and nostalgia. He thinks back to 1969, when so much happened that touched his life...

I was looking over my personal chapter summaries and thinking that a chronological restructuring might be easier to understand for readers, though it does mean more effort to write. Any thoughts or suggestions on this? Thanks. --Tachikoma 01:37, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

--

My story summary is now on the article page! I've tried to keep to the essential parts of the story, which necessarily involves cutting out parts of the plot and telescoping details. I do hope that this will be sufficient. I've worked very hard on this, and I hope that comes through. -- (formerly under the nick "Tachikoma") Kyoko 15:50, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Major Improvement[edit]

This page has grown to such a good article in a short space of time. A little over a month ago it contained only a few sentances, and now it's a nice indepth article. Maybe somebody should reassess the class, as it can no longer be listed as a stub. --Nick San 11:01, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

The article has been reassessed, and it has jumped from stub-class to B-class. Great job, everybody! --Kyoko 19:40, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

possible themes?[edit]

I've been puzzling over what the themes of this novel are. Some of my ideas include:

  • the nature of memory
  • the idea of being true to your ideals
  • not letting yourself be weighed down by the past
  • the nature of love

But I only have some vague ideas, and I'm not sure if they're correct. Any thoughts on this? The Novels Wikiproject encourages people to add themes to novel articles, so I figured that such a section should be included in this article as well. Thanks. --Kyoko 03:33, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

You could say that music - in particular The Beatles - is a huge part of the novel. I'll have to reread it once I've finished The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and jot down some notes on the themes, so we can make this page even better. --Nick San 13:11, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I guess something could be said about the power of music to evoke a mood or reawaken a memory. The entire novel can be thought of as a flashback, triggered by hearing Norwegian Wood. There's also the time after Naoko's death, when Reiko plays several melodies on her guitar, songs that she had played for Naoko, then some classical music. Reiko makes some comment about how Naoko's taste for music never rose above sentimental tunes, or something to that effect. Could that have been a comment about the link between music, memory, and emotion? --Kyoko 23:29, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Allusions section question[edit]

Hello, I've just added an Allusions section, in which the Japanese national anthem is mentioned. I was also wondering if the scene where Naoko undresses in the moonlight could be an allusion to The Tale of Genji, where a woman slips off her clothing in a similar manner. I could be reading too much into this, though. Thanks. --Kyoko 15:41, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Accuracy of Story Summary[edit]

I've just finished reading this novel and, having read through this article, the story summary strikes me as a little misleading or inaccurate toward the end. For example: A later letter informs Toru that Naoko has taken her own life. Toru, grieving and in a daze, wanders aimlessly around Japan, while Midori — who hasn't kept in touch with him — wonders what has happened to him. misleads the Midori character here by implying that she hasn't kept in touch with him of her own will (rather she couldn't as he was travelling around); Toru calls Midori out of the blue to declare his love for her. Really? Didn't he just call as he has to explain "a million things" to her? He already declared his love for her in the previous chapter. Midori's response is characteristically (by this point) cold, yet the fact that she does not explicitly cut Toru off at that point (like she did before) leaves things open. Again this is misrepresenting the character. At this point it's the first she's heard from him since he returned. Again in the previous chapter they both declared their love for each other. Parjay 00:46, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Notes[edit]

Added a Notes section, with a footnote and a link to the Beatles lyrics of Norwegian Wood. Modernist 01:37, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Song listing?[edit]

I'm thinking of adding a list of songs mentioned in the novel, but I can't quite decide if it would be prudent or not. I feel that it would be interesting and give an idea of the depth of the story, but by the same token it could be seen as non-encyclopedic, so to speak. Any other opinions? Jet Alone 20:46, 31 July 2007 (UTC)


Japanese Title "Mistranslation"[edit]

I'm going to be nitpicky and argue that unless someone can produce a citation from somewhere about the Japanese 'Noruwei no Mori' being an incorrect translation of the phrase "Norwegian Wood," and presents the statement as a quotation or paraphrase from that source, then the portion of the introduction that says it's a mistranslation should be removed. "Wood," without the -s at the end has been used to mean forest in English, although today that usage has become somewhat archaic (not so much that it's gone completely out of use, though, especially in lyrical language). In the Beatles song there is no clear indication that it's "wood" the material and not "wood" the word for forest being used, even if most people obviously assume its the former because the latter usage of the word is uncommon. My personal interpretation, which is irrelevant, is that the word "Wood," was used in the song specifically because it had an ambiguous meaning and could invoke either sense. It's definitely worth mentioning that "mori" in Japanese translates to "forest," and not to the material "wood," because it implies something about what that does to the Japanese interpretation of the song and how therefor it would have colored Murakami's allusion toward it, but calling it an incorrect translation is an interpretive judgment call, which is not what Wikipedia is for. Somebody fix this by providing a citation and editing the language used to reflect it, or I'm going to change it how I think it should be done. Techgeist 11:00, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your analysis. The wikipage on the Beatles song states ""Norwegian Wood" evidently refers to the cheap pinewood that often finished the interiors of working class British flats. The last verse states that the singer lights a fire, the implication being that the singer in fact sets fire to the girl's flat, presumably as revenge for not sleeping with the singer." but it doesn't provide any sources for this 'evident reference'. Classical geographer 11:19, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

I always thought that the story about Sumire's name in "Sputnik Sweetheart" is an allusion to the mistranslation issue. Sumire is called by her mother after a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe which Mozart wrote music to. [1] The mother knew that the title ("Das Veilchen") meant "violet" ('sumire' in Japanese), but didn't understand the German text. When Sumire learns that the song is about a young shepherdess that tramples on a flower, she gets very upset. This is a story about the mismatch between title, music and content of a song. This could very well be an ironical self-reference by Murakami. --Hartmut Haberland (talk) 13:46, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:NorwegianWood.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:NorwegianWood.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 18:18, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Claims of sexual abuse?[edit]

An editor has written in the article List of books portraying sexual attraction to children or adolescents:

A beautiful 13-year-old prodigy attempts to seduce her piano teacher, then falsely accuses her of molestation

Could someone who has read the book, please add this episode to the book's plot description otherwise the reference will have to be removed. Thanks.Tony (talk) 12:00, 26 March 2008 (UTC)Tony

it`s in there but whether Reiko is an unreliable narrator is another matter...cf Vladimir Nabakov

Locations[edit]

The book is widely acknowledged to be set in several well-known locations; the two best-known are the dorm Toru lives in (Wakeijuku, in Mejirodai, Bunkyo-ku), and the university he attends (Waseda University). Would it be worth putting together a list of locations featured in the novel? Aragoto (having login troubles) 203.112.80.138 (talk) 05:10, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

This (Waseda University fact can be verified very easily and is widely accepted by critics and scholars. It can also explain the title in Japanese (Mori stands for wood, location, and not for wood, material), as a line of the university anthem says "Waseda no mori (ni)"XIIIfromTOKYO (talk) 18:51, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman[edit]

The article says that "part of the novel was originally published in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman under the title Firefly." To me, this makes it sound as if Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman pre-dates Norwegian Wood. I think Murakami said in the Blind Willow introduction that Firefly was a short story that he later turned into a novel, but I think the inclusion in Blind Willow is more recent than Norwegian Wood. Does anyone know more about this? Was Firefly published anywhere at the time it was written (i.e. before Norwegian Wood)? -Maebmij (talk) 22:42, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

According to the Japanese wikipedia, the Firefly was first published in the January 1983 issue of Chūōkōron. Tarafuku10 (talk) 10:13, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Two points[edit]

1. The plot synopsis starts with 'A 37-year-old Toru Watanabe has just arrived in Hamburg, Germany.' However, since Toru was born in late 1949 according to the novel, he would have been thirty-seven in 1986/1987. At that time, Germany was still divided, so, in my opinion, 'West Germany' should be used instead.

2. The title section reads

'The original Japanese title, Noruwei no Mori, is the standard Japanese translation of the title of The Beatles song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", written by John Lennon[9] The song is often mentioned in the novel, and is the favourite song of the character Naoko. Mori in the Japanese title translates into English as wood in the sense of "forest", not the material "wood", even though the song lyrics clearly refer to the latter. Forest settings and imagery are significantly present in the novel.'

While see no particular problems with that, another interpretation of the title suggests itself: 'mori' means 'to die' in Latin, and any reader of the novel can attest to death being even more significantly present in it than forests. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.192.20.151 (talk) 16:43, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

More refs[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Norwegian Wood (novel)/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

It lacks a strong critical reception, # of books sold, and the plot summary has tone and original research issues. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hbdragon88 (talkcontribs) 29 April 2008

Last edited at 17:59, 12 October 2010 (UTC). Substituted at 01:33, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

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