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Over the past year, I've heard a lot of really great things about Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood. After having read the book, I can attest to its splendour. Though Sputnik Sweetheart is still my favourite Murakami book, Norwegian Wood is close behind.
As always, Murakami's characters have a strange gentleness and grace. I really loved each of them even though they're imperfect individuals. The writing, of course, was absolutely gorgeous. Murakami has such a unique and beautiful way of describing things. He crafts great metaphors and is amazing at describing settings and individuals. I've got a total writing crush on him.
Norwegian Wood has a fantastic atmosphere to it. This comes from a combination of gorgeous writing, unique characters, beautiful settings, and something else that I can't quite place. Perhaps, it's the philosophical element that Murakami always seems to incorporate into his novels. On the most basic level, Norwegian Wood is a coming of age story and a story of love and sexual awakening.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes contemporary adult fiction, appreciates philosophical and sexual openness in novels, and has an interest in the unique and beautiful ways in which people are deformed. This is a great read, whether or not you are familiar with Murakami, and would make an excellent introduction to his work.