Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

The US cover without jacket, which is how I got it
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami

I must confess that I have not had a ton of luck with Murakami in the past.  I liked After the Quake pretty well, but gave up on IQ84 after about 8 pages.  I wasn't too sure I wanted to read Colorless Tsukuru, but the cover is pretty hard to resist and I thought I'd give it a try and I could always quit if I didn't like it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it quite a bit, and in fact I think I finished it in just one day.

Tsukuru Tazaki has never had a high opinion of himself.  He thinks of himself as lacking personality, "an empty vessel" with nothing much to offer.  In high school, he belonged to a close-knit group of 5 friends, and even then he wasn't sure he was worthy, but then they kicked him out of the group with no explanation; just "we never want to see you again."  At age 35, he looks reasonably successful but he's still drifting.  A new date encourages him to see if he can't heal his past wounds by finding out what happened.

I was really interested and enjoyed most of the book, though it got too graphic for me at times.  This being Murakami, we are left hanging a bit at the end, with less resolution than a more traditional novelist would give.  Good stuff, though.

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