Isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood? Well no…

norwegian woodSo I’ve just realised I have *23* books to review!! Quite scary! Naturally, I decided to start with a book I had rather lacklustre opinions about, because I’m grouchy that way 😉

First off, the prose is pretty colourless, while serviceable. Now I wanted to start with this because I want to be as fair as possible to the author and say this *could* be one of those “lost in translation” cases. Therefore take (most) of what I’m saying with a pinch of salt.

Now, if I can let the writing off the hook, the one thing I can’t let go is that I didn’t relate to or like any of the characters. I found them utterly unrelatable and suicide being a central issue (not a spoiler- it’s on the blurb), I wasn’t emotionally impacted in the slightest. I didn’t blink once at any of the drama that went down, because I just didn’t care.

Part of this issue stemmed from how little I connected with the main character. Part of this was due to him having what I like to call “uncool cool-guy syndrome”. There’s this weird and awfully random phenomenon in fiction of the uncool main character being invited into the cool circle, so that they can get an insight into some “alien” lifestyle, whilst all the while being aloof to it. Ultimately I find characters like this a little hard to relate to, because I just don’t find this setup all that realistic. It also brings up a ton of questions for me- like why is the dork invited in the first place, cos “cool kids” aren’t generally known for their generosity of spirit or inviting randomers to come play? And now that he’s been initiated into this circle, have they not gained insider status and are they just posturing as an outsider? Now since this was most of his character make-up, along with mild depression and an almost magical way with women (in the bedroom and elsewhere) I did not think he was especially well drawn.

And let’s talk about sex (baby…). Everyone in this book was having unsexy sex all the time (or at least that’s what it felt like). There’s always a very specific kind of sex in literary books. You know the sort: mechanical smut, that always seems to say “if you don’t like this you’re a prude” but at the same time “this literature is too high brow to be erotic”. To be utterly crude, it has the same sex appeal as reading about someone using the lavatory. I’ve never understood why this style of sexual writing always finds its way into these books- maybe I’m just not intellectual enough to understand the “deeper meaning” behind all the frickin details of normal bodily functions.

I’ve heard a lot of people have a problem with the ending, but as you can probably tell, I had a problem with the beginning and middle. I just couldn’t see the point to any of it.

On the plus side this book got this song stuck in my head:

But even a Beatles song couldn’t save this book for me. I hope if you read this you have more luck than me:

Rating: 2/5 bananas


So have you read this? Do you plan to? And am I the only one super behind on reviews?! Let me know in the comments!