Award Winning / John / Literary Fiction

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimmage by Haruki Murakami

Tsukuru Tazaki was one of a group of five close friends when he was younger.  These years were the best of his life. They all grew up together in the Japanese town of Nagoya. Tsukuru was the only one in the group to leave their town to attend college in Tokyo. He still frequently went back to Nagoya to see his friends until one day, most likely the worst day of his life, all four of them stopped talking to him without any explanation. After initially being baffled by the group’s decision, he sadly accepted that they no longer wanted anything to do with him and did little in the way of asking why. Instead, he grew depressed and wondered what it was that made them no longer associate with him.

Now in his late thirties, he becomes a romantically interested in a woman named Sara and, though he rarely speaks about what happened, decides to tell her about his former friends. She encourages him to track down each of his four friends in order to ask them what happened.

Colorless TsukuruTazaki and His Years of Pilgrimmage did not go in the direction I expected. In particular, one character shows up in the book and then is pretty much forgotten. The novel does not end with a big bang or come to any sort of clear conclusion. The writing has more of a dream-like quality and a reoccurring dream, in fact, is an important part of the plot. While I wasn’t completely satisfied by Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, its combination of strong characters and unusual plot and pacing make it very likely that I will pick up another book by Haruki Murakami.

John

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