I can't find my high school copy of Norwegian Wood, but I remember what it looks like: the paperback cover is peeling and bent almost entirely backwards; the pages are dog-eared and torn from rushed attempts to finish the story; the words are underlined and highlighted and dotted and starred, all in different colors and pens. I admit I'm not kind to the books I love. I mark them up; I write in the margins; I consume them fully. Norwegian Wood is no exception, and in my copy — wherever it may be — you will find some of my favorite Haruki Murakami quotes about love, underlined and starred and dog-eared for future reading.
I didn't know much about love or loss when I first read Norwegian Wood, but it became my favorite book anyway. When I read it later — after my first real heartbreak — I found it to be indescribably compelling. I pored through it, re-marking and re-reading my favorite passages until I'd managed to commit them to memory. The story of Watanabe's desperate, heart-wrenching romance with Naoko and his chaotic, joyful friendship with Midori was painfully relatable. I had never been in Watanabe's situation, but I certainly recognized his pain and confusion. Yet despite the sadness within the pages, the ending is ambiguously hopeful, and I've always remembered Norwegian Wood as a love story.
But then, that's the genius of Haruki Murakami. He is able to perfectly articulate the sadness, desperation, anger, and frustration of love without detracting from its beauty, security, joy, and wonder. No one can quite write love like Murakami, and these quotes from Norwegian Woodprove it.