Winter reads: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This potent rite-of-passage tale offers readers some useful pointers on keeping the heart warm in allegorically wintry times.

The novel that raised Haruki Murakami to literary superstardom ranges across the seasons, but the heart of its meaning is found in winter. When 30-something Toru Watanabe hears a fragment of the titular Beatles track after a long airplane flight, his memories are returned to his days as a young student and his love affair with the beautiful but damaged Naoko. Toru walks beside Naoko for the last time in the snow-blanketed woods surrounding the mental institution where she is undergoing intensive therapy. Shortly afterwards Naoko commits suicide in that frozen landscape, and while Toru’s life continues, a part of him remains forever wandering in winter.

Read more at Guardian books.

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