Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage ePUB

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage The phone rang as I was slicing potatoes for a massuman curry one afternoon whist listening to Gershwin s Rhapsody in Blue I didn t particularly want to answer the phone as it was likely to be a telemarketer, but it could be someone phoning about possible work So how is it so far asked a woman s voice on the other end.Our phone line is terrible, but I still did not recognize the voice Excuse me I think you may have the wrong number No, I have the correct number How are you finding Murak The phone rang as I was slicing potatoes for a massuman curry one afternoon whist listening to Gershwin s Rhapsody in Blue I didn t particularly want to answer the phone as it was likely to be a telemarketer, but it could be someone phoning about possible work So how is it so far asked a woman s voice on the other end.Our phone line is terrible, but I still did not recognize the voice Excuse me I think you may have the wrong number No, I have the correct number How are you finding Murakami s new novel the woman asked.I was slightly taken aback How could this caller know that I started Murakami s new novel that morning, the first morning of my newly found unemployment Are you from Kinokuniya I asked I had purchased the book in the city on Saturday Maybe they could identify me from my loyalty card and were doing some marketing research In a way, yes She replied My name is Moriko It means child of the forest So what are your initial thoughts on the novel Well I haven t much time to get into the novel yet But from what I have read it seems to be a very standard Murakami novel with similar themes as his other works His main character is an everyday man, who is single an unmarried and who has a troubled past that he would like to put behind him He also designs train stations That s kinda weird and cool Very good, very good I shall call tomorrow And she abruptly hung up.The next day the phone call came at around the same time I had just finished up sweeping leaves in the garden and had sat down to prepare for the lesson I was giving that night I had resigned from my full time day job, but I was still teaching Chemistry at the local university three nights a week Hello Brendon Would you like to shareof your thoughts on Murakami s new novel Hello Moriko, I said enthusiastically How are you this afternoon I am well thank you Brendon But I would like to hear your thoughts on the new Murakami novel, she said curtly.I was taken aback for a moment, but thought nothingof it I have progressed a little The main character has found a friend that cooks him meals and they listen to music together And he has talked about how he is estranged from his family and especially his father who recently died He then goes on to explain how his father named him But I have just gotten up to one of those flashback chapters that Murakami loves so much You know, they ll be during a war or something and they ll involve a well They are just so distracting that I need to psych myself up to get through with that distraction I kept getting distracted throughout this time by a scratching noise at the door That will be your cat Galileo wanting to come in, offered Moriko But I don t own a cat Are you sure I think I d know if I owned a cat or not Especially if it was named after one of the greatest scientists who ever lived Oh, I am getting you confused with the other Brendon that I am in conversation with about the book Many apologies I will call again tomorrow And she promptly hung up.The next day I was teaching, filing in for a colleague who had gone to a conference, and was not home But I could not shake the image of my telephone ringing endlessly in my empty house I now understand why he considers himself colourless, I stated over the phone the following day Moriko had called at the same time as before, 3 00 pm, and I had found myself unconsciously doing small jobs waiting for the call I see, offered Moriko And would you identify with Mr Tazaki Somewhat, but not hugely We all pin our identities with those around us I have loving people in my life at the moment, however apart from my partner I do not find myself defined by them I guess love for my partner is the only time I have built part of my identity into a relationship I know that things don t generally last forever, and the things that do change Thank you for your time Brendon We will talk again tomorrow I managed to get a quick Goodbye in before the phone hung up How did you find the ending Brendon Moriko asked on the Friday afternoon Well, I did like how the novel left off Incomplete Hang on, how did you know I was finished Let s just call it women s intuition, replied Moriko Right, I said skeptically But I enjoyed how Tsukuru found out about his past and some of the mystery was solved He had presumed the worst all along, but the people that he reconnected with knew the truth and even suspected it He had once again presumed the worst and had little self worth I am glad he had an epiphany about his priorities at the end Even if it doesn t turn out I believe he would be much happier and would be able to deal with rejection in a much healthier way Thank you for your thoughts Brendon I am glad you enjoyed Mr Murakami s latest book Thank you for listening to my thoughts Moriko You are very welcome Brendon And she hung up.I stood for a while next to the phone pondering these strange conversations I had over the previous week with Moriko and had a strange feeling that this was not the last I would hear from her.After all a new Murakami work called The Strange Library was set to come out in a fewmonths Note there s a big spoiler in this review, but I m going to mark it so you should be able to skip it I wanted to like this book I ordered it after reading the description in the German preview, and I could hardly wait The plot sounded intriguing, and this was going to be the first real novel I was going to read in Japanese, and it was by an author whose works I mostly enjoyed until then This was going to be so good And it was, in the beginning Tazaki Tsukuru used to be part of a group o Note there s a big spoiler in this review, but I m going to mark it so you should be able to skip it I wanted to like this book I ordered it after reading the description in the German preview, and I could hardly wait The plot sounded intriguing, and this was going to be the first real novel I was going to read in Japanese, and it was by an author whose works I mostly enjoyed until then This was going to be so good And it was, in the beginning Tazaki Tsukuru used to be part of a group of very close friends in high school, and even after that, but then suddenly they all avoid him and tell him to never contact him again The reason You should know why After that experience, he s plunged into a deep depression and almost killed himself Still, he somehow made it through that time andor less has put it past him, or so he thinks, until 16 years later he starts dating a woman who tells him he should try to find out what exactly happened back then in order to sort himself out The beginning starts out really strong, and I have to say I could relate to both the depression and the experience very well And throughout the novel, whenever women aren t involved, it s a good book Murakami isn t a bad writer, and he s insightful although a lot of the conclusions Tsukuru finally comes to could also be found in a Paulo Coelho book and no that is not a compliment and smart Which makes his treatment of women all theinfuriating I actually don t feel like reiterating all the sickening old man s fantasies right here, or the constant breast fixation which ruined an otherwise really good scene for me And even when he remembers that scene later, it s always her breasts, her breasts, her breasts I am sorry, that is disgusting And if all men do that, it s disgusting What I take the most issue with is the reason his friends cut off all contact with him Now follows the spoiler.SPOILER STARTI hate false rape accusations as a plot point Our culture being as it is, women have a hard enough time being taken seriously when they say they have been raped even without that kind of plot point being perpetuated again and again No matter how good the book and I have yet to read one with a false rape accusation that wasn t bad it s harmful, especially because it suggests it s something that happens a lotoften than it does, considering how often it s used in movies and books and whatnot And in this case it s even worse because it wouldn t even have been necessary, in my opinion, at least considering how the plot develops and the final conclusion Tsukuru comes to concerning Shiro And then there s the giant plot hole of doom how useless must the Japanese police be if, after Shio s murder, Tsukuru doesn t become their main suspect I mean, I ve read enough mysteries and watched enough procedurals to know you look for someone with a motive And you look at the suspect s past Oh, so she was part of a group of five close friends What happened to that circle of friends Why are they not close any Seriously, that pissed me off so much because it s sloppy I don t care about not finding out who really raped Shiro, I don t care about finding out who killed her, I don t even care about what happened to Haida even though the fact that Tsukuru s Kinda Sorta Gay Episode never really gets resolved , but that requires a ridiculous suspension of disbelief that I am apparently not capable of and I read BL novels for a well, not for a living, but I read a lot of them and I am good as suspending my disbelief, is what I m saying.END SPOILERS.All in all the bad parts of this book stand out all thebecause of the good parts, you could say I am incapable of giving it just one star, but at the same time I am incapable of giving itthan two While it is a book I ended up thinking a lot about, I really didn t like it and it s very unlikely I ll ever pick up another book by Murakami because his misogynism is not something I want to engage with again To me, Murakami s books are like ice cream Many people will claim that it s justof the same, and in a way they are right But I am not complaining, because it s justof the same delicious, luscious thing Also, while a too large bowl of ice cream can cause stomach troubles maybe like The Wind Up Bird Chronicles , this time Murakami limits himself to a nice amount of 360 pages.I will not go into much detail on the plot At the age of 20, Tsukuru Tazaki is kicked out of his brotherhoo To me, Murakami s books are like ice cream Many people will claim that it s justof the same, and in a way they are right But I am not complaining, because it s justof the same delicious, luscious thing Also, while a too large bowl of ice cream can cause stomach troubles maybe like The Wind Up Bird Chronicles , this time Murakami limits himself to a nice amount of 360 pages.I will not go into much detail on the plot At the age of 20, Tsukuru Tazaki is kicked out of his brotherhood of five friends, three boys and two girls Each of them has a colorful name Red, Blue, White and Black, except for Tsukuru It s representative for the way he thinks about himself colorless, with nothing valuable to offer the rest of the group or even the world Little does he know that that s not the way the others think about him So, which point of view is the right one The major part of the book is a quest to find out why he was so harshly removed from his circle of friends A quest set to the tones of Le mal du pays , a melancholic melody from Liszt s Ann es de p lerinage a hint towards the title of the book All of this gives the book an atmosphere very similar to Norwegian Wood.I had a hard time deciding whether to give this book four or five stars On the positive side I love the melancholic atmosphere, the story is not too intangible, it has the perfect length, the characters are believable, I almost couldn t put it down On the negative side some readers maybe those not very familiar with Murakami will remain dissatisfied There are several loose ends and some unexplained situations In other words, it sof the same old thing.I love it This is easily one of the saddest books I have ever read I found it extremely difficult to read in places I know what it is to lose friends, to have people randomly walk out of your life as if you never existed it s not a nice feeling after years of friendship.For Tsukuru its four friends and they all exit at once He gets a phone call from one of them informing him that the group have unanimously decided that he is no longer part of it The shock is something that he carries with him for his This is easily one of the saddest books I have ever read I found it extremely difficult to read in places I know what it is to lose friends, to have people randomly walk out of your life as if you never existed it s not a nice feeling after years of friendship.For Tsukuru its four friends and they all exit at once He gets a phone call from one of them informing him that the group have unanimously decided that he is no longer part of it The shock is something that he carries with him for his entire life He loved his four friends and their departure has left him with an undying fear, a fear of ever getting close to anyone ever againIt s as if he was sleepwalking through life, as if he had already died but not yet noticed it Before him lay a huge, dark abyss that ran straight through to the earth s core All he could see was a thick cloud of nothingness swirling around him all he could hear was a profound silence squeezing his eardrums He had no idea why it happened and it has haunted him ever since It made him question his own identity and his purpose in life, ultimately turning him into a cynic He never expected to find joy again or any sense of happiness He trudges through life, colourless and utterly dead inside On the surface he is successful but inside he is a wreck, existing though not living After sixteen years he decides to face his past and re connect with those that abandoned him so mercilessly He goes back to find the reason that almost destroyed him Murakami captures the intensity of emotions to such powerful effect through exploring such a history Few writers can get such feeling into their writing We are all waiting for something or longing for something I wonder how many people are truly happy in life Not many When we find our shot at happiness we fly straight towards it and do everything we can to ensure that it never leaves us And if it does leave us, well, the aftermath is worse than death When Tsukuru s friends abandon him, he no longer is the same person It s as simple as that He must find himself onceto carry on livingThe human heart is like a night bird Silently waiting for something, and when the time comes, it flies straight toward itColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is an absolutely fantastic novel, and, as with Norwegian Wood, reading it may hurt This is a novel to learn from More Murakami for me in the future Facebook Twitter Insta Academia Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki MurakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the thirteenth n novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami Published on 12 April 2013 in Japan, it sold one million copies in one month Tsukuru Tazaki is a 36 year old man whose defining features are his love of train stations and the fact his four best friends all ceased to speak to him during his second year at university Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, Tsukuru Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki MurakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the thirteenth n novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami Published on 12 April 2013 in Japan, it sold one million copies in one month Tsukuru Tazaki is a 36 year old man whose defining features are his love of train stations and the fact his four best friends all ceased to speak to him during his second year at university Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, Tsukuru had fallen into the bowels of death, one untold day after another, lost in a dark, stagnant void He now lives in Tokyo and has started seeing a new girlfriend, Sara Kimoto, who works at a travel agency As he explains to her over dinner, back in Nagoya his high school friends were called Ao, Aka, Shiro, and Kuro Japanese for Mr Blue, Mr Red, Ms White, and Ms Black , nicknamed after a color in their surname, unlike his colorless one They used to do everything together like the five digits of a hand, until that single phone call one day, when they announced that they did not want to see him, or talk with him, ever again It was a sudden, decisive declaration, with no room for compromise They gave no explanation, not a word, for this harsh pronouncement And Tsukuru didn t dare ask 2015 1393 302 9786002294340 21 1393 312 9786009481606 1393 298 9786007642016 1394 324 9786001198250 1394 304 97860075671281995 2011 From Young Adult to MatureMany of Murakami s novels deal with the transition from adolescence to adulthood This probably accounts for their amazing popularity, especially with young Japanese readers However, you have to wonder whether Murakami can continually plough the fields of this subject matter at his age, without losing his youthful audience As at the date of publication of this novel, he is aged 65, which in some countries is the traditional mandatory retirement age.I suspect thatCol From Young Adult to MatureMany of Murakami s novels deal with the transition from adolescence to adulthood This probably accounts for their amazing popularity, especially with young Japanese readers However, you have to wonder whether Murakami can continually plough the fields of this subject matter at his age, without losing his youthful audience As at the date of publication of this novel, he is aged 65, which in some countries is the traditional mandatory retirement age.I suspect thatColorless Tsukuruis a strategic move that anticipates how he will write and what he will write about in the future It might even enhance his reputation with older readers.Adolescence in RetrospectThe eponymous protagonist is 36 at the time most of the novel is set It is sixteen years since Tsukuru and his four colorful friends turned 20 years of age and in a sense made the transition to adulthood.Although the novel is still loosely about this transition, it is told from the perspective of somebody much older, if still affected by it.In a way, Tsukuru s pilgrimage returns him, not to some source of religious belief, but to his adolescence The pilgrimage is a necessary journey to the source of an understanding of his current self However, temporally, he must eventually return to the present, when he is 36 Inevitably, his pilgrimage will help him understand his immediate past the last 16 years and his present, but also his future.My copy IOn Being BlueAt the age of 20, Tsukuru s tight knit community comprised of four other school friends whose names all contain the Japanese words for colors red, blue, black and white suddenly dissociated themselves from him without giving him a reason From his point of view, there was no reason, and therefore every reason He started to think of himself as colorless, an absence, a nothing, a zero His life consisted of nothingness He genuinely and quite understandably lived in an abyss, on a precipice, inside a void, surrounded by darkness Initially, he was tempted to commit suicide However, even this act requires some positive deliberation, and eventually he can t even collect himself together enough to take the step of jumping off the precipice He continues to live, not because he has decided in favour of life or against death, but he simply can t be bothered to make any decision at all.Tsukuru assumes that the relationship with each of his friends would have continued through adulthood, but for his friends abandonment of him He assumes that it has continued between his four former friends As a result, Tsukuru clings to what he has lost, in the belief that it still exists In a way, he holds onto something from his adolescence well into adulthood Doing so prevents him growing up and havingadult relationships, getting married and becoming a parent.Happy TogetherAs the title indicates, the narrative of the novel consists of a pilgrimage which forces him to confront his situation.The immediate trigger is 38 year old Sara, who is keen to have a serious relationship with him, but questions whether he is ready She senses that Tsukuru is trapped by an emotional and spiritual blockage The only way to deal with it is to locate his four friends and find out why they abandoned him He can t simply pretend it didn t happen and move on He has to find out and deal with it, no matter how bad their reasons might be.Sara realises that what happened to Tsukuru was so traumatic that it not only destroyed his vitality, it destroyed his desire, his appetite, his longing.She sets him off on the pilgrimage, not believing that he will automatically be happy, but confident that when he returns, he will be able to deal with life s challengeseffectively She doesn t anticipate some fairy tale ending in which everybody lives happily ever after She simply believes in the ability of two loving adults to sort out their problems Together.Colorless, but ConstructiveTsukuru was always disappointed that his name didn t represent a color, like his friends However,importantly, it means to create, to make, to build.At work, he is an engineer who build railways stations that are at the hub of the transportation and communications network Ultimately, he has to learn to recreate, remake, rebuild himself, just as he would refurbish an existing railway station His station is not ready to be demolished, it just needs a little renovation.Tokyo Metro Subway MapDifferent TransitionsTsukuru learns much from and about his friends during his pilgrimage I won t spoil it for you Suffice it to say that they have moved away from each other in their adult lives The community that Tsukuru assumed had persisted without him doesn t exist He has missed little as a result of his abandonment.Instead, each of his friends has encountered their own challenges and problems making the transition to adulthood.The causes are different for each of his friends However, Murakami s message seems to be that we aren t so much challenged by external forces, like fate or evil What prevents us from succeeding or being happy is our own fear of failure In love matters, we often don t express our love for another, because of a fear of non reciprocation.Don t Let the Bad Elves Get YouMurakami implies that we miss out on a lot of life experience and happiness, just because we lack the courage to try.Our confidence shines its own light It shows us the way, but it also attracts others In contrast, our lack of confidence is a form of darkness that obscures our vision and frustrates our happiness.This insight connects with Murakami s increasing interest in the role of the subconscious While we have grown used to the magical realism in Murakami s novels, he is increasingly moving in a direction that suggests that the real darkness and unknown in within us, within our sub conscious.As with psychoanalysis, part of growing up is about translating the unknown into the known, and the unconscious into the conscious.One of Tsukuru s friends farewells him with the words,Don t let the bad elves get you It s good advice, but it emerges from a discussion about the inner demons that plagued one of their other friends In her case, the bad elves resided within.So, not only do we have to keep a watch out for ourselves, we have to keep an eye on ourselves, our own demons Perhaps, the real message is that we shouldn t let our bad selves get us.We Can Be HappyUltimately, Tsukuru s pilgrimage takes him to the source of the subconscious forces that drove him towards anomie, depression, anxiety and potential suicide.There is a sense in which this subject matter might still be intended for young adults However, I don t think there is any preconceived limit to the audience for Murakami s fiction In contemporary Western society, if not Japanese and Eastern society as well, adults are just as much plagued by anxiety as adolescents In fact, if adults were a lot happier, perhaps their children might be happier Happiness isn t necessarily comprised of material wealth I think that Murakami is trying to help generate a spiritual wealth, whether or not it is theistic.The Hero s JourneyJoseph Campbell believed that the story arc of most literature and film is a hero s journey, and that the hero has a thousand faces view spoiler Campbell was a big influence on George Lucas method of story telling His filmStar Warsis mentioned in this novel hide spoiler One of Murakami s aims seems to be to persuade us that, in our own lives, one of those faces should be our own.His fiction has increasingly become an attempt to combat the inauthentic prescriptions of cults and self help groups.Murakami s latest novel might be constructed around a hero s journey.I suspect that the following Wiki description of Joseph Campbell s concept of the monomyth might even describe many of his earlier novelsA hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man Colorless Tsukurudiffers from this definition and Murakami s earlier works in that Tsukuru returns in order to deal with his problems, believing it s not adequate to escape them in some fantasist world.It s arguable that there is no neat ending to the novel However, you could infer that when Tsukuru returns, he will be capable of longing and he will find someone who is prepared to help him build something new And isn t that what we all want from life, whether we re an adolescent or an adult or both My copy IIEXTRAS Mister GrayGray is a mixture.Find gradations of darkness,Not just black and white.Colorless GrayAll through secondary school, my four best friends had names similar to mine But not similar enough for my liking Our surnames were all based on colours White, Blue, Greene, Browne And me My name was Ian Gray then Notice that my name had no e on the end I desperately wanted that e , so that I could be like them I did some research in the library and discovered I couldn t change it by deed poll until I turned 18 By the time we were all 17, we were in our last year of school I had already decided that I wanted to go to university in Canberra The other four wanted to remain in Brisbane notice the omnipresent e Each year, I would return home, and it was just like I hadn t been away We were the colourful five While away, in another world, I had forgotten about changing my name by deed poll Then one holiday when I was just about to return to Canberra to complete my last year, Blue came around to my home It was just the two of us Nobody else was home, not even my family I was shocked by what he told me He said that the four of them had decided they wanted to discontinue contact with me I asked whether it was because of the missing e He just laughed, as if he had never thought of the possibility I can t tell you why, he said You ll have to work it out for yourself He rose from the sofa and left without saying another word He didn t even shake my hand when I offered it I returned to Canberra, finished my degree and eventually came home at the end of the academic year I wrote many letters to my friends that year, but they answered none of them I cried when I arrived home and my parents greeted me Even though I had seen them every year, I still remembered them as they had been when I lived at home and went to school They looked frail and ill One after the other, they died over the next 18 months I had no siblings Nobody objected or cared when I finally changed my name to Ian Graye I wrote to my friends again on the off chance that they might renew our friendship, but all four of my letters came back, marked return to sender I was back home, alone, lonely, friendless As I remain today But with an e.Yuko Shimizu s illustration on the cover of the New York Times Book ReviewYuko Shimizu Yuko Shimizu explains the process by which she illustrated the review of Haruki Murakami s novel on the cover of the New York Times Book Review Jam Thick as Thieves Happy Together Zappa and the Mothers of Invention featuring Flo Eddie Live at the Fill in 1971 Happy Together Images I Could Be Happy Who I m Free from the rock opera Tommy Who I m Free Live Tom Taillights Fade Presley Don t Be Cruel Presley Viva Las Vegas Carlos Jobim Wave Carlos Jobim meets Herbie Hancock Wave for three hands in two mindsThelonious Monk Round Midnight Solo Live in 1969 Monk Round Midnight Group Version in 1958 Monk Round Midnight Group Version in 1947 Coltrane Blue Train Live in 1961 to BirdBrian for letting me know that the Blue Train was coming into the station.Robert Schumann Tr umerei, Kinderszenen N 7 Scenes from Childhood Played by Vladimir Horowitz Liszt Le mal du pays Played by Lazar Berman Liszt Years of Pilgrimage Ann es de p lerinage Played by Lazar Berman Complete Liszt Years of Pilgrimage Ann es de p lerinage Goethe, Liszt, Murakami view spoiler Professor GooglewikiAnn es de p lerinage Years of Pilgrimage S.160, S.161, S.163 is a set of three suites for solo piano by Franz Liszt Much of it derives from his earlier work, Album d un voyageur, his first major published piano cycle, which was composed between 1835 and 1838 and published in 1842.Ann es de p lerinage is widely considered a masterwork and summation of Liszt s musical style The third volume is notable as an example of his later style Composed well after the first two volumes, it displays less showy virtuosity andharmonic experimentation.The title Ann es de p lerinage refers to Goethe s famous novel of self realization, Wilhelm Meister s Apprenticeship Liszt clearly places the work in line with the Romantic literature of his time, prefacing most pieces with a literary passage from writers such as Schiller, Byron or Senancour, and, in an introduction to the entire work, writing Having recently travelled to many new countries, through different settings and places consecrated by history and poetry having felt that the phenomena of nature and their attendant sights did not pass before my eyes as pointless images but stirred deep emotions in my soul, and that between us a vague but immediate relationship had established itself, an undefined but real rapport, an inexplicable but undeniable communication, I have tried to portray in music a few of my strongest sensations and most lively impressions http en.wikipedia.org wiki Ann%C3 hokengtitikchokeng..Liszt s caption forLes cloches de Gen ve Nocturne The Bells of Geneva Nocturneis from Byron sChilde Harold s Pilgrimage I live not in myself, but I become Portion of that around mehide spoiler Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards S ren KierkegaardIt is a shame that we cannot relive the past, only merely recreate it We bear the scars of events we can only comprehend in retrospect, but must rely on flawed memory and biased examinations of what truly came to pass Internationally acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami s 2014 novel,Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage a title that screams of pure Murakami whimsy and flair , is a novel ab Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards S ren KierkegaardIt is a shame that we cannot relive the past, only merely recreate it We bear the scars of events we can only comprehend in retrospect, but must rely on flawed memory and biased examinations of what truly came to pass Internationally acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami s 2014 novel,Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage a title that screams of pure Murakami whimsy and flair , is a novel about looking back down the tracks of life from the speeding train of time hurling us towards unknown horizons This quiet, introspective novel follows Tsukuru Tazaki as he sleuths through his past, reexamining his mysterious expulsion from a high school group of peers that were a perfect combination, the five of us Like five fingers While it is a sleek novel both engaging and easy to read, it opens up a deep cavern of thought where the reader must themselves bridge the opposite sides of the narratorial chasms, drawing their own conclusions much like Tsukuru must from the retrospective ruminations of his former friends Murakami succeeds with this ponderous novel about the uncertainties of identity, identity formed and forged internally but highly persuaded by the external elements and how we see ourselves in the mirrors of our peers interactions with us.With Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, Murakami achieves a wonderfully delicate balance of his authorial duality both his coming of age realist narratives and thefantastical and playful style full of parallel universes and magic crafting a melancholy, introspective investigation of self with an eerie sense of mythicality looming in the peripherals of the page As with most Murakami there are parallel narratives of time instead of parallel universes in this novel that are deftly weaved together to keep the plot compelling and extract the most from each plotline at precisely the correctly controlled moment Much of the novel goes unanswered, with Tsukuru and the reader only able to speculate the truth and fear that the realm of dreams may impose upon the world of waking reality This is much of the novels charm and acts authentically as true reality where we have no concrete finality and must compose an identity based on incomplete experimentations and inferences The questions that truly matter in life are not simple or able to be explained through clear, concise language but through fluid explanations that are always seemingly just at the tip of reason it is only through abstraction and faith in our own logic that we can come to terms with the mystery of the world around us The novel itself is much like Haida s description of the Liszt piece The piece seems simple technically, but it s hard to get the expression right Play it just as it s written on the score and it winds up pretty boring But go the opposite route and interpret it too intensely, and it sounds cheap The intricacies of the novel would fall flat if inked by lesser authors, yet Murakami applies the lightest touch and allows each moment to sing with grace One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss This is what lies at the root of true harmony The problem that serves as the sparse plot s impetus is Tsukuru s feeling of colorlessness in life, spurred by an unfortunate disassociation from his close knit group of high school friends all with names denoting a color except for Tsukuru s for reasons undisclosed to him After being banned from association, Tsukuru falls into a period of intense, suicidal grief and after getting back on his feet has formed a self identity that assumes himself as colorless and empty He continues this way until his girlfriend during his thirties sends him on a quest to reconnect and unearth the truth of his past Among the mysteries that he encounters, Tsukuru learns that he has a flawed sense of self amalgamated by the expulsion and lack of peer interaction, learning that among the group he was in fact thought of as the most self assured, most attractive and most successful The constant bemoaning and low self esteem of Tsukuru may grate on some readers, however, Murakami does well to create an authentic psychological profile to account for why an intensely attractive male with a line of women eager to sleep with him would believe himself to be so inconsequentialYou can hide memories, but you can t erase the history that produced them, Tsukuru thinks, and regardless of how hard he tries to continue on with his life, the past has issued profound wounds on his ego that refuse to fade with time Color, or the lack thereof, figures prominently in the novel The characters with colorful names seem to have pre made, nearly stereotypical identities, which would seem enviable to someone without a sense of self, especially someone who is thrown from their pedestal into the pit of everyday life without a life line of friendly support However, Tsukuru s name means to build , and that is exactly what he must do Like the train stations he builds and restores, he must build a sense of self then gut it and restore it to improve upon the flaws that fail to accommodate the reality he resides in The character Haida, who temporarily assuages Tsukuru s loneliness and peerlessness before a mysterious disappearance, has a name associated with the color grey The two female figures of his childhood peers bore the names of White and Black, and Haida seems to be a balance of the two in Tsukuru s life, complete with a sexual awakening and awkwardness born only in dream but feared to have a residual effect in his waking life The essence of colors extents beyond that of characters names, such as the way colors found in the natural world also fall into a matrix of meaning Green, it would seem, is a color that provides solace to Tsukuru, such as the Green Line trains that he watches come and go from a train station to relax and calm his mind, or the green eyes of his girlfriend s Finnish counterpart that immediately wrap him in a feeling of trust and comfort.The interactions, with particular regard to dialogue and the sexual encounters described between Tsukuru and the women in his life, have a tendency to feel stilted and quite clinical to borrow a term used in the insights of a dear friend when discussing the novel There is nearly no passion in the sex scenes, merely anatomical commingling as if from a textbook, and the dialogue is often overly flat and direct, with characters speaking with a mannerism removed from emotion and natural cadence While this is not in keeping with the natural poetry of Murakami s narration, or with the style of his other novels, it leads the reader to infer that these clinical interactions are as colorless as Tsukuru believes himself to be, yet it is not him that is colorless but the world and the lesser people around him It is the friendships, the love, the striving for success and betterment that provides color in this world Murakami profits by keeping the tone and description within the boundaries implied by character, keeping true to what best fits the novel at a given moment and not what best suits a display of authorial his ego, and he should be applauded for it However, the novel does feel simile heavy with poetic observations seemingly tacked on at the end of sentences where the use of a metaphor instead would have reduced the staccato bursts of the poetic and aided in crafting a fluidly flowing river of prose as opposed to creating prose like a fluid, flowing river.One minor detail that could be also accounted for as an expression of character though leaves a bitter taste in the mouth is a vague sense of sexism prevailing throughout the novel The female characters tend to exist primarily as an extension of Tsukuru s ego either as a boost or deterrent of and have little to offer outside the realm of sexuality Take for example his girlfriend who provides little information about herself, sidestepping any character exposition by stating that it isn t very interesting whenever conversation steers towards a position where generally one would reveal a bit about themselves and instead keeps the topic of conversation constantly orbiting Tsukuru s emotional state It would seem that Tsukuru s world is also populated by shallow, unfaithful women who exist primarily as sexual objects and want to do nothing besides talk about Tsukuru Also disquieting is when discussing the view spoiler murder of Shiro, Tsukuru constantly sexualizes her through the frequent reflection of the death giving grip around her slender, white throat hide spoiler Tsukuru even generalizes women in a particular passage as Their hair is always nicely curled They major in French literature at expensive private women s colleges, and after graduation find jobs as receptionists or secretaries They work for a few years, visit Paris for shopping once a year with their girlfriends They finally catch the eye of a promising young man in the company, or else are formally introduced to one, and quit work to get married They then devote themselves to getting their children into famous private schools Passages such as this are sure to raise a few eyebrows.Despite a few cumbersome moments, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is a delicate and breathless achievement of beauty that plays all the right notes on themes of identity and alienation The novel breezes along at a fast pace through the introspective reflections and discussions, with wonderful story within a story asides such as the tale of Haida s father that highlight the expertise of Murakami as a storyteller regardless of the thematic canvases of his tales Murakami accrues a wide collection of universal problems to ponder that are sure to dazzle any reader, just don t expect a cut and dry solution This was a problem that had nothing to do with language, Tsukuru reflects, and the answers are best discovered in the creativity of the readers own mind and not sitting static upon a page.3.5 5 Our lives are like a complex musical score, filled with all sorts of cryptic writing, sixteenth and thirty second notes and other strange signs It s next to impossible to correctly interpret these, and even if you could, and then could transpose them into the correct sounds, there s no guarantee that people would correctly understand, or appreciate, the meaning therein The title also is a playful homage to the musical piece Le Mal du Pays by Franz Liszt which figures as a motif in the novel The Liszt piece was commonly played on piano by Tsukuru former friend and is presented here performed by Lazar Berman the preferred version of the character Haida Murakami often inserts a subdued soundtrack of classical music into his novels, such as the Thieving Magpie in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, using musical motifs to harmonize with the interior themes There are several allusions to Jean Sibeliuswhen Tsukuru visits Sibelius birthtown of H meenlinna to meet with his former friend Eri or, Kuru Among Sibelius most notable works is The Swan of Tuonela which tells the story of a sacred swan and a hunter who is killed, and later reborn, while attempting to hunt the swan This tale seems a mythical metaphor to Tsukuru own story Did the others really need him, Tsukuru wonders after his friends reject him However, balance plays a key role, and without Tsukuru the group of friends could no longer function as a single unit It is as if he were a thumb, a key element of the hands function There is a lengthy discussion about a medical condition causing people to be born with six fingers, which apparently causes an imbalance in the hand that must be corrected, primarily though for aesthetic purposes Perhaps the trimming of Tsukuru, for what is revealed to be a shallow, saving face aesthetic like purpose considering the actual disbelief of his friends, is much like this operation However, Tsukuru was not an extraneous digit of the friendship but highly integral to its success Also revealed in the medical discussion is that many famous artists and creators were afflicted with the condition, and the creator nature of Tsukuru may also be abstractly associated with this trimming of the sixth finger You can hide memories, but you can t erase the history that produced themHaruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru TazakiA slow soak in a bath of music, color, friends, loneliness, philosophy, creation and death Murakami is a genius at writing with emotions swirling beneath the text He gets the importance of the notes AND the silence of prose of the unsaid, dreamy place that is both recognized and strange.This isn t his most exciting work, but it is clearly not a throw away either It brings aYou can hide memories, but you can t erase the history that produced themHaruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru TazakiA slow soak in a bath of music, color, friends, loneliness, philosophy, creation and death Murakami is a genius at writing with emotions swirling beneath the text He gets the importance of the notes AND the silence of prose of the unsaid, dreamy place that is both recognized and strange.This isn t his most exciting work, but it is clearly not a throw away either It brings all the usual suspects to the Murakami table Murakami writes best when he makes the reader feel like they are just near the surface of wakefulness He bends the reader into a zone where it feels like a strange contractive tendency of the surface between sleep and wakefulness between musical, lucid dreams and surreal, philosophical nightmares.It feels like you are balancing blind on the edge of a train platform you feel the sound of the train and feel the compression of his words, but don t know if the Murakami train is going to hit you from the left or the right A New York Times and Washington Post notable book, and one of the Financial Times, St Louis Post Dispatch, Slate, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, and BookPage s best books of the yearAn instantNew York Times Bestseller, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present Here Haruki Murakami one of the most revered voices in literature today gives us a story of love, friend ship, and heartbreak for the ages Tsukuru Tazaki s life looks like it s going well, but he s emotionally stuck He s located the place in the past where this has happened, a time when close friends inexplicably banish him from their group, but 16 years later he still doesn t know why What follows is a compelling idiosyncratic odyssey in search of answers and identity Murakami s novel is a meditation on moving forward and coming to terms with a past which will always be outside our reach, always incomprehensible I look forward Tsukuru Tazaki s life looks like it s going well, but he s emotionally stuck He s located the place in the past where this has happened, a time when close friends inexplicably banish him from their group, but 16 years later he still doesn t know why What follows is a compelling idiosyncratic odyssey in search of answers and identity Murakami s novel is a meditation on moving forward and coming to terms with a past which will always be outside our reach, always incomprehensible I look forward to readingHaruki Murakami

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