Please don’t get me wrong. There is no “right” one. All the “right” ones will be “wrong” sometime (or sometimes). But I just couldn’t help thinking that “right one” way when I reread Norwegian Wood today. None of what I’ve written about this book so far can be qualified as a book review, and this post is not going to be an exception. I just feel like I want to write something for Naoko.
I honestly didn’t pay much attention to Naoko in the previous times I read the book. As an “ordinary” person at the time when her “every thought came back, like a boomerang,” to herself, I was clearly more drawn to Watanabe. And for such an ordinary person with little life experience, I have to say, it was not easy at all to understand a depressed Naoko. For me she was beautiful, she was sad, and she sometimes had complicated feelings. Just like any other ordinary person. I didn’t recognize her depression at all.
Although I noticed the severity of Naoko’s illness years ago, not until today had I taken a closer look at the pain she went through. Now I find the book way more depressing than how I felt about it in the past. I had simply ignored the most depressing parts of it, that’s why.
End of chapter one: “The thought fills me with an almost unbearable sorrow. Because Naoko never loved me.”
And silly Toru kept that thought haunting him until the end of the book, and clearly until “today” when all of his memories about this started pouring out.
I think she was in love with you, silly! It was just way too confusing and heartbreaking for her to accept the fact that she fell in love with the best friend of her dead boyfriend so unexpectedly after his never-explainable death, especially when she was still broken from the unbearable loss.
Page 111. [Toru:] “I really, truly believe deep down that I’m an ordinary person. Can you find something in me that’s not ordinary?”
Perhaps this awareness was one reason why there was always something about Naoko he wasn’t able to reach. Maybe that’s why he was not able to help her as he wanted.This is not to blame Toru. Both of them were too young when the first tragedies in life knocked on their doors.
I feel really sorry for Naoko that nobody was able to help her. She kept falling deeper and deeper to the well of her sorrow. Even a very sincere love could not save her. I think the love she had for Toru and his for her was like a beautiful light she kept looking at while she was falling.
For Naoko’s sake, the story ends in the most bitter way to me ever. The kind of bitterness that I found at the end of “The Reader” (movie).
I know it is very stupid to say this, but sometimes we really need to be in love with a right one.