This book takes you back to how you felt as a love sick teenager poring over every word in a letter reading a million different meanings into every word and gesture. It also sums up the futility that you often feel when you hit your early twenties and wonder just where everything is going.
Having never read any Murakami before I had mixed feelings about picking up something that has quite a reputation but a few pages in and the style, which is largely conversational, is comfortable and before you know it this slow story has managed to interest you.
The story of young love retold by a much older and regretful narrator who was the male in the relationship is a device that could get tiring. But Murakami gets straight into the story leaving the regrets, triggered by Norwegian Wood being played in an airport, behind to concentrate on telling how they came about.
A trio of friends devastated by the suicide at 17 of one of them are left to pick up the pieces and find love again. A robbed adolescence impacts the narrator as well as the girl and a soulless attitude to sex and friendship doesn’t help fill the gap.