Murakami’s rumored but denied autobiographical novel on love, youth, angst, and “darkness,” leaves the reader underwhelmed, save the overdone nympho explicitness that is more a plea to keep the reader entertained than a willful or even conscious decision. The undeserved thick melancholy is distracting, and the merciless shock value used to get there is confusing and at times incoherent. The stifling melodrama, which is the only committed theme, materializes out of nothing– several times I had to stop to see if I had skipped over something. Disclaimer: I didn’t. Offering gratuitous sexual frustration and “resolve” (you should see some of the things these “young adults” do), unintelligible “deepness,” and an unforgiving amount of morbidity, Norwegian Wood is one giant, helpless cry for salvation, in which even Murakami himself grows desperate.