January 17, 2012

Norwegian Wood: Chapters 5 & 6

This week for Alice's Norwegian Wood readalong, we read chapters five and six.  I will continue with my chapter summaries:

Chapter Five: Toru gets a letter from Naoko that goes on for pages but doesn't say much. Toru then hops a bus to visit her.  This chapter is an appropriate length.  Appreciate it while you can.

Chapter Six: Toru arrives at Ami Hostel and meets Reiko, Naoko's roommate.  I liked Reiko quite a bit until she told Toru the story of how her thirteen-year-old piano student seduced her and made her question if she was a lesbian.  The whole situation--and the way she described it to Toru, who she just met yesterday--was so bizarre and kind of unbelievable that I was wondering if maybe Reiko is the pathological liar, not her student.  I think there are many things we've yet to learn about Reiko.

In chapter six I found myself liking Naoko; before she was more like a mannequin than a real character, but now her story is finally unfolding and providing her with substance and emotion.  After hearing about her sister, I wanted to reach right into the book, push Toru aside, and give her a hug.  But alas! This is fiction and I can't hug Naoko, so I'll just provide a picture of Murakami hugging himself:

Important questions:

Will Toru ever manage to capture light in his hands?
Will Storm Trooper make his triumphant return in chapter seven?
Will Murakami discover that there is, in fact, an easy way to divide 80+ pages into multiple sections?

See you all next week!


  1. Bahaha! Murakami hugging himself. Is there no one who can comfort him as he leans gloomily against that tree?

    I'm not sure if Reiko oversharing with Toru was *that* weird if you remember the whole discussion at the beginning about always being honest and saying whatever was on your mind even if it made someone uncomfortable or hurt them for a while. That put those awkward sex talks between Naoko and Toru with Reiko sitting RIGHT THERE in perspective for me. In the "real" world, people don't do that, but in the sanatorium, it's all part of convalescence.

    Also, this is the aspect of Toru that makes me think of Nick Carraway from "The Great Gatsby." People are always telling him these incredibly personal things, even though he usually isn't seeking it out.

  2. Megs--
    I thought that Reiko's frankness was just a product of her environment, too, at first. But she tells Toru that he's the first man she's ever told, so it seems a bit strange to me.

    It's true that Toru seems to elicit honesty from everyone he meets... I wonder why this is. I suppose Midori did say that he's a good listener.

  3. Rayna I think you and I are the only people that find Reiko a little suspect... I don't trust all those wrinkles!

  4. "This chapter is an appropriate length. Appreciate it while you can."


    Also, that picture is excellent. Poor Murakami. No hugs for him but from himself.

    I'm still not seeing Naoko as fully fleshed out, but there's gotta be a reason for that. And even though my serial killer theory is KIND of a joke, it's still made me wary enough that when she was talking about finding her sister, I was all *looks at her with a suspicious eye*

    Because YOU NEVER KNOW with 10-year-old girls. She could have superhuman strength or something.

    That's it, I'm going to bed. No more commenting allowed for me.

  5. Completely agree with Reiko not being completely reliable with her side of the story. She snapped multiple times and was never able to deal with the fear of what other people think of her. I can't blame her if she caved under the suspicion that all the townspeople knew and heard about her - but I can't believe that this 13 year-old girl contrived a relationship just to seduce her piano teacher.

  6. Brooks- Yes, I definitely think there's more to her story. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her!

    Alice- Well, if there's anything Reiko's story can teach us, it's that little girls are actually evil rapists. So... Serial killer isn't too far off!

    Etudesque- I wonder if Reiko was telling her side of the story how she saw it, but her paranoia didn't let her see certain things. I don't necessarily doubt that she was telling what she believes happened, but I think there's more to the story.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!