Laura and her father live a quiet life in their remote castle in the dense forests Styria. It is a solitary existence for young Laura, who has no companionship except for her governess and the occasional visits of neighbouring gentry. Into this lonely life comes the mysterious house guest, Carmilla.
Slowly Laura falls under Carmilla’s spell. Whilst she is both attracted and repulsed by Carmilla, she seems unable to find the energy to resist her.
A spate of sudden wasting deaths afflict the peasants in the countryside around the castle and Laura herself falls ill. Will they manage to work out the cause of her illness in time or will she just be the latest victim of the vampire Carmilla?
The novel is set in Tokyo during the late 1960s, a time when Japanese students, like those of many other nations, were protesting against the established order. While it serves as the backdrop against which the events of the novel unfold, Murakami (through the eyes of Toru and Midori) portrays the student movement as largely weak-willed and hypocritical.
Murakami adapted the first section of the novel from an earlier short story, "Firefly." The story was subsequently included in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.
Norwegian Wood was hugely popular with Japanese youth and made Murakami something of a superstar in his native country (apparently much to his dismay at the time)
Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.
Offred (Of Fred) is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...
This play satirizes the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society, but it also engages a more serious tone when pointing out the flaws, which all humans possess. The play differs from other farces at the time by employing dynamic characters like Alceste and Célimène as opposed to the traditionally flat characters used by most satirists to criticize problems in society. It also differs from most of Molière's other works by focusing more on character development and nuances than on plot progression. The play, though not a commercial success in its time, survives as Molière's best-known work today. Much of its universal appeal is due to common undercurrents of misanthropy across cultural borders.