Knopf Responds to Anti-Murakami Puritans in New Jersey: ‘We Are Disheartened’

Williamstown High School in New Jersey has removed two books from its summer reading list after complaints from parents. According to the Gloucester County Times, at issue was “a graphic depiction of a lesbian sex scene between a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl” in Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel Norwegian Wood and “a drug-fueled, homosexual orgy” in Nic Sheff’s memoir Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines.

Knopf, which published Norwegian Wood in America on its Vintage paperback imprint, has responded with the following statement:

“We are disheartened to learn about the action by a New Jersey school district to remove a book from its required reading list due to objections from a group of concerned parents. The novel, NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami, was originally selected for the list based on suggestions by teachers, librarians, and administrators within the district, and the list was approved by the board of education. It is unfortunate the parents felt the need to dismiss such an important work of fiction and regrettable the school district would succumb to such pressure and disregard the recommendation of its own professional educators.”