Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

19288239Title: The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Publication Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9780385352109

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

 Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.
One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

Have you read Murakami’s latest book yet? What do you think?

What an excellent book! I was a little disappointed with 1Q84 (2011), so I was nervous to give Murakami’s writing another try. But am I ever glad I did! What drew me to this book initially was the title: The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. This simple line hold so many questions: Why is he colourless? How does that effect him? What did that have to do with his years of pilgrimage? Without even picking this book off the shelf I knew I was going to finish it. I had to find out.

Inside this book are pages of beautiful and vibrant descriptions. Tsukuru believes himself to be an empty vessel, a nothing. He thinks that he has no personality and it is his boringness that causes all the friends he cares about to leave him behind with no explanation. It was impossible for me to agree with Tsukuru’s description of himself because the stories he tells and the observations he has are so moving and full of life. Check this one out: “They didn’t speak. Words were powerless now. Like a pair of dancers who had stopped mid-step, they simply held each other quietly, giving themselves up to the flow of time. Time that encompassed both past and present, and even a portion of the future” (324). I could share more, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. 😉 I just love this image of two people stopped in time, so wholly involved with one another that their time spent together is indefinite. They are in all of time together. It’s breathtaking.

“His feelings were wrapped in layer upon layer of thin membrane and his heart was still a blank, as he aged, one hour at a time” (53). Tsukuru struggled with the idea of death. It was a welcoming thing to him, but he eventually chooses life. In his life he simply exists. However, as he meets new people , he experiences a journey of recovery and acceptance. He is so wonderfully human, scarred by his past and emotionally struggling to connect with those in his present. He is motivated by a desire to be free to love to rid himself of his emotional baggage and to finally, after sixteen years, begin his life anew. After years of attempting to forget his past, he chooses to confront it and finds peace.

Do you think Tsukuru finds peace of mind in the end? Does he find happiness? How does your reading of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki differ from mine?

 

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