tonight we are young
‘Eighteen years have gone by, and still I can bring back every detail of that day in the meadow. Washed clean of summer’s dust by days of gentle rain, the mountains wore a deep, brilliant green. The October breeze set white fronds of head-high grasses swaying. One long streak of cloud hung pasted across a dome of frozen blue. It almost hurt to look at that far-off sky. A puff of wind swept across the meadow and through her hair before it slipped into the woods to rustle branches and send back snatches of distant barking – a hazy sound that seemed to reach us from the doorway to another world. We heard no other sounds. We met no other people. We saw only two bright red birds leap startled from the centre of the meadow and dart into the woods.’ --Toru Watanabe, Norwegian Wood (p.2)
I often associate the books that I love with things that I want to do after reading them. For instance, Anne of Green Gables makes me dream of spending an autumn weekend with my mother and my sisters, in a log cabin by a lake, we'd take long walks and eat s'mores around a campfire. Or after reading 1Q84, I wanted to take an overnight sleeper train by myself, and watch the sunrise from the window.
Norwegian Wood is one of those books that made me feel very deeply. I finished reading it on a plane en route to California from Mexico, which seemed fitting somehow because Toru, the main character of the novel, also started recalling his story as he was arriving on a plane to Hamburg. I remember sitting there and I had this intense longing to be in an open field, spend the night under the stars, and cry my heart out. Not because the story was very sad, but because it was so honest and raw, and it brought back those times when I was young and uncertain, yet filled with much hope. Sort of like the feeling that you get on a warm summer night and you remember your first heartbreak, how you moved on, and how much stronger you are for it.
So yes, something tells me I'll be reading this book again soon.
P.S. The title is a nod to this song. Have a listen here.