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Norwegian Wood: Readalong Post 2: The Readening

Ahahahaha MAN what a terrible place to stop reading, right? But did I go on? No, I did not. Partially because I just now finished, but ALSO because I have my superpower of always being able to put down a book, no matter how close to the end/cliffhangery it is. Some would say this makes me a bad reader. This is probably true.

All right. Chapters 1-4 of Norwegian Wood. Let's all agree that all the parts with Naoko are REALLY REALLY DEPRESSING AND HARD TO GET THROUGH. Or maybe that was just me. Whenever she showed up I was like "ARGH LEAVE" and then she left and things were good again.

Here're a couple things that bugged me, both of which have to do with the translation (cultural AND linguistic, tyvm):

1. "It's really, really deep,” said Naoko, choosing her words with care. She would speak that way sometimes, slowing down to find the exact word she was looking for.

...what? Do you know when I assume someone ISN'T choosing their words with care? When they use 'really'. I use 'really' and I think NOT AT ALL about what I'm writing. So if you're emphasizing what a careful wordsmith someone is, "It's really, really deep" doesn't seem like the ideal example of their ability. So what I'm assuming is that there's an issue with the translation here, and that this section makes sense in Japanese.

2. That whole thing with him walking behind her on their walks. What the WHAT? Cultural differences, I don't get you: When summer vacation ended and the new term started, Naoko began walking next to me as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do.

Yeah. It IS the most natural thing in the world to do. In America. So I don't understand this at all. If I went for a walk with someone and they kept walking "a yard behind" it would be AWKWARD. So awkward. Japan, I don't get you.

So, you know all that stuff with him grasping at light and obviously not being able to catch it, because it's light? That's been repeated. So it obviously means something. But I find that I don't care at all what it means, so I guess that layer of the book's gonna be lost on me. Actually, most of the stuff where he wants you to actually think is going to be lost on me, which is unfortunate, but while I can acknowledge that he's Very Good Indeed, he's not the kind of writer who resonates with me.

I'm sad that Storm Trooper's gone, and I like Midori. I like pretty much everyone except Naoko. And sometimes the main character.

Onward with chapters 5&6! If you want to read more, you of course can, but I've decided not to accelerate the readings because I am reading OTHER THINGS and do not want to devote more time to be being depressed by Murakami.


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