British singer-songwriter and actor Harry styles has recommended plenty of books in the past couple of years. From Murakami’s ‘Norwegian Wood’ to Bethan Roberts’ ‘My Policeman’. So, for this week’s blog post I decided to read three of his recommendations and tell you more about them. As some of you know, I’m a huge Harry Styles fan and booklover which made reading these books extra interesting. Enjoy reading!
Berthan Roberts – My Policeman
Summary: My Policeman is an exquisitely told, tragic tale of thwarted love. From the moment Marion first lays eyes on Tom – her best friend’s big brother – she is smitten. And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman, Marion, a newly qualified teacher, is determined to win him. Unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss, she plunges into marriage, sure that her love is enough for both of them…
But Tom has another life, another equally overpowering claim on his affections. Patrick, a curator at the Brighton Museum, is also besotted with his policeman, and opens Tom’s eyes to a world previously unknown to him. But in an age when those of ‘minority status’ were condemned by society and the law, it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
Review: The way I have summarised the novel really doesn’t do it justice at all, in fact it makes it sound a bit prescriptive and it is anything but. Roberts does several things that really make this book stand out, the first is the perspective of the book. Unfolding through the dual narratives of Marion and Patrick, both writing about the man at the centre of their lives, this beautifully-told, tragic story is revealed.
As the two narrations are drawn together not only does Roberts let you know what happened to the trio between their initial meeting and the present, bit by bit making the tension mount as she does so, but your sympathies switch almost constantly with both Marion and Patrick. I felt I was there, a bystander watching it all, feeling for Marion then Patrick and vice versa. I adored this book and I can’t wait to see Harry Styles play the role of Tom in the movie adaptation!
Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood
Summary: When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marched into his life and he had to choose between the future and the past.
The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality. The story is set in late 1960s Tokyo during a period when Japanese students, like those of many other nations, were protesting against the established order. The original Japanese title, Noruwei no Mori, is the standard Japanese translation of the title of the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.
Review: Essentially, Norwegian Wood is a romance in which one young man falls into the dilemma of loving two women at the same time. But the novel does so many other things that to dismiss it as a simple story about a love triangle would be an injustice. This is a book that delves into Japanese culture, evokes a particular moment in time, and perhaps most prominently, focuses on mental health.
The list of complex characters is very long, however. It seems that every person who finds a place in Toru’s life in these two formative years is battling to overcome some unique personal struggle, and Toru certainly earns his sad place among them. the reader learns how Toru’s relationship with Naoko will end, making this a powerful story about self-discovery and timeless love rather than a shocking plot.
I’m so glad that I’ve finally read one of Murakami’s novels, and this one impressed me on such a level that I will certainly be picking up another. I truly understand why Styles keeps recommending Murakami’s novels!
Richard Brautigan – In Watermelon Sugar
Summary: iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the voilence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.
Review: The plot, on the whole, can be difficult to follow, because it is so dream-like, with every day bringing a different colored sun, for example. t’s definitely written in a way that invites interpretation, so it will likely help your case to interpret the plot a bit and come to a conclusion on your own whether each event is metaphorical or literal.
The narrator has no name, though other characters do. He tells us about life in watermelon sugar, hanging out and working at iDEATH. What is iDEATH? I really have no idea. Having said that, I did enjoy reading In Watermelon Sugar, even if I didn’t have much of a clue what the point of it was. It’s definitely worth a read but you need to go with the flow and forget about your expectations…
In conclusion, Harry Styles’ taste in literature is immaculate. And if you’ve made it to the end of this blog post I highly recommend you to read these books. You’ll discover more about Harry’s lifestyle and what inspires him. In case I’ve totally convinced you, at Amazon you can buy the books together in one package at a reduced price. This is the link. If you scroll down, you’ll see the option.
Lots of love,