Book Review—Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki By Haruki Murakami

So I finally finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki By Haruki Murakami last night. It took me a couple of weeks to wrap it up largely because I was reading three review books around it, two of which were absolute monsters in size.

Basically, here’s the premise of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: Tsukuru Tazaki’s 510iAdsKYdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_four high school best friends dump him a year after they all start college, the loss devastates him, and then he spends the next decade living a fairly hollow and lonely existence, at least until his girlfriend, Sara, encourages him to confront his friends and find out why they told him to hit the bricks. Which he does, and this, basically, is the entire novel.

Seriously, if I mention any greater detail, I’ll spoil the entire book.

I won’t say I hated Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. In fact, I found it very calming and meditative. But—and here’s my biggest beef with the novel— nothing really happens. Once Tazaki discovers why his friends ditched him all those years ago, the novel is pretty much done, and the big reveal happens midway through the book, so for almost 200 pages, you basically have Tazaki complaining about what a boring and awful person he thinks he is. (By the way, he’s not. He’s boring like the rest of us are boring.) There’s no real emotional pay off, either. Life simply moves on and Tsukuru Tazaki keeps being Tsukuru Tazaki.

If you’ve never read Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is not going to be the best place for you to start off. In fact, despite the hoopla surrounding the release of the novel in both Japan and the United States, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is very much a minor novel in an otherwise impressive canon of great novels.

Alright, so next up in my tour of Murakami is After Dark, which is already starting out pretty strongly.

Book Notes: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage By Haruki Murakami

“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. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”

– Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

 

I’ve decided to spend the remainder of 2015 reading the novels of Haruki Murakami that I haven’t gotten 14713111178_fbea0cbd3c_baround to reading yet. I’ve only read the entire bodies of work of a few novelists including Nabokov, Joyce (And, man, that was a struggle. Finnegans Wake ended up taking me 4 years to finish, and even then I needed to buy a readers guide to comprehend the bulk of it.), Dick, Kafka, Vonnegut, and Ellroy. So I thought Murakami would be a worthwhile addition to this very short list.

Despite how much I enjoy Murakami’s books, there’s surprisingly quite a few of them that I haven’t gotten around to, so I imagine I’ll be slogging through them right up until the end of the year.

I’m starting off with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, which I’ve been sitting on since December of 2014. The premise is fairly simple: Tsukuru Tazaki’s four high school best friends dump him a year after they all start college, the loss devastates him, and then he spends the next decade living a fairly hollow and lonely existence, at least until he sets out to find out why his friends ditched him.

I’m 144 pages in and its pretty good so far. I’ll post a review once I’m done.