Tuesday, February 1, 2011


As a rule, Murakami doesn't like adding Afterwords to novels, but he considered Norwegian Wood an exceptional case.

1. This novel is based on a short story I wrote five years ago, called “Firefly.”  I had it in my intentions for a while to write a clean, short and simple love story based on that short story on 600 sheets of a 200-letter manuscript stationery.
After I finished writing Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, I started writing Norwegian Wood light-heartedly, almost as a mood changer. However, the 600-sheet work ballooned to 1800 sheets, and hence became a novel that is difficult to call “light.” I think that perhaps, something which existed above and beyond what I had in my intentions became written into Norwegian Wood.
2. This novel is an extremely personal novel. It is an autobiographical novel in the sense that one can say that Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is autobiographical, insofar as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night and The Great Gatsby are autobiographical.
Just as much as I can’t say of myself that I am either an okay human being or a not-an-okay human being, it’s my thought that one can’t say that this novel is good or not-good. I only wish for this novel to continue its existence as a work which surpasses what merely consists of “me” as a person.
3. This novel was written in Southern Europe. I began writing it on 12/21/1986 in a certain villa in Mycenae, Greece, and completed it on 3/27/1987 in a hotel apartment in the peripheries of Rome. It’s difficult to determine what kinds of effects that this had on the novel, the fact that I wrote it in places outside of Japan. Who knows, it could have had some effects, or it may not have had any effect on the novel. I am only thankful that I could zone in on the task of writing, in the absence of telephones and visiting guests. Other than that, there weren’t really other big changes to my writing environment.
The first part of Norwegian Wood was written in Greece, the second part, in Sicily, and the final part, in Rome. There weren’t tables or chairs in the cheap hotel room that I rented in Athens. So I went to a taberu (* bar) every day, repeatedly listened to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on my Walkman about 120 times, and wrote continuously. In that sense, it could be said that this novel received a slight assistance from Lennon and McCartney.
4. I dedicate this novel to some of my friends to whom I had to bid farewell because of their deaths, and also to a certain, few friends of mine who are alive, but far away.

June 1987

Haruki Murakami

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