Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His years of pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His years of pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Japanese Fiction

Original title 色彩を持たない多崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年
Shikisai o motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi

Translator Philip Gabriel

Source – Personnel copy

“Fragments came floating into his mind like bits of wood drifting down a stream, and he fished them out and fitted them together.”

Elizabeth Gray Vining an american writer who taught the Japanese Emperor .Source


As I posted yesterday the first chance I got after it had come out I couldn’t resist getting the new Haruki Murakami novel ,especially as all I had read about this book made me sure it would be one of his I would really enjoy and I did .As my mum who visited last week remind me I have never been one to wait and mull over the pleasures in life ,no I always ate my pack lunches on school trips early ,ate snack at the cinema before the film had start and now I’m similar with books I really want to read so at Half one this morning I finally closed the cover of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of Pilgrimage with a big smile of satisfaction on my face .Now I usually in this opening section mention about the writer as I have reviewed Murakami four times before I feel the need to skip this just mention his books now only need his surname to sell the on the cover and he is one of the few writers in translation that transcends place and nationality like Proust, Tolstoy  ,Camus and Hesse for example where people seem less nervous in trying them out as writers

Something must have happened ,something had taken place while he was away to make them create this distance .Something inapproaite ,and offensive .But what it was – what it could pssibly be – he had no clue

He returns the first summer after college and things have change

Any way on to the book the story is that of Tskuru Tazaki ,he is a 36-year-old salary man ,his job which he loves is visiting and designing stations for the railway system ,which is great for Tsukuru because for as long as he can remember he has always loved train stations .He is single live in a small kondo he inherited and on the whole is and average man just getting through his life .Anyway he meets a women called Sara ,she like him and wants to know more about him and his life anyway we hear the story of the five, so to speak ,this is the story of Tsukuru two boys Akamatsu (red pine ) and Oumi (blue sea ) and two girls Shirane (White root ) and Kurono (Black field ) and of course from the title we know that Tsukuru name isn’t connected to a colour no his means to build which given his job seems very apt .Anyway the five of them are best friends at high school until one day they all say they don’t want to talk or hear from Tsukuru again .This leads Tsukuru to his current lonely life and the move to Tokyo where he can be invisible .Sara listen and sees how this one event set of the following years of his life and his current place in the world and persuades Tsukuru to go back and find this four friends and what had happened to make them cut off all communication all those years ago ! A journey that see him go back to his home town and even to Finland .As he uncovers the past and the lives his former friends have had since the split .

“What exactly do you do in the civil engineering department ? The student asked him .

“I build stations ” Tsukuru replied .

“Station ?”

“Railroad stations .Not tv station or anything .”

“But why railroad stations ?”

“The world needs them ,that’s why “, Tsukuru said ,as it were obvious

Tsukuru had always loved station he sketch and looked at them as a student .

Now I enjoyed Murakami last book but said at the tim e that it felt too Murakami almost as thou he was throwing every trait and trick of his writing into the pot .This has a number of his usual traits but is a lot more straightforward ,the book is really a retelling of a quest novel in the modern age ,Tsukuru is on a quest for the answer to what made his friends so suddenly drop him all those years ago .The other part of the title his years of  pilgrimage refers to a piece of music by Franz Liszt  Années de pèlerinage that one of the girls used to play on the piano ,this tune also is a recurring motif through out the book as we see it crop up in different versions as Tsukuru discovers his past .Another Murakami theme is given a slightly different twist here and that is the love triangle which here becomes a love pentagon ,as there are three boys in the group and two girls and Tsukuru says he has had erotic  dreams about both girls in the past and was attracted to them both for different reasons when they were friends .A return to form for me this book sold a million in its first week in Japan and is very much a book for his target market in Japan the middle-aged Salary worker even the length means it easily can be read on the commutes to work that many salary workers have to make on trains which of course is the last theme of the book ,I’ve heard Murakami talk in the past about his love of trains and railways .I was reminded of Betjamin and his love of Victorian stations and the way that seeped into his poetry ,in this book .

Have you read this or do you intend too ?

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heavenali
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:05:27

    I have never read Murakami which somehow feels like a terrible admission to make. I am very curious about his work and I really like the sound of this novel.


  2. Anokatony
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:10:09

    My favorite Murakami novel is ‘Norwegian Wood’ by far. I haven’t made up my mind if I will read this new one or not yet, because there are a lot of good writers out there. The title is a bit off putting for me.


  3. jacquiwine
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 16:42:11

    Glad you enjoyed this book, Stu. I doubt whether I’ll read this one (not yet anyhow) as I’ve three or four of his others sitting on the shelves. I’m still quite new to Murakami, but I liked Norwegian Wood and loved Sheep Chase.

    Great to see you back on the blog this week.


  4. roughghosts
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 16:42:31

    Your enthusiasm is infectious. I read his work voraciously for years and I am due to check out a more recent offering. I’ll probably wait for paperback though so it can join my collection on the shelf.


  5. A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 18:23:33

    I’ve read nearly all of Murakami’s novels and can’t wait to read this!


  6. Candiss
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 21:00:44

    I’m glad to hear that this is another enjoyable entry for the Murakami shelf. I have a copy and intend to dive in tonight.


  7. Tomcat
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 21:24:58

    I have a love-hate relationship with Murakami. I really liked After Dark and Kafka on the Shore and that autobiography thing about running, but I recently read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and found it to be mostly impenetrable. So I’ve been cautious with his books recently. But you’ve definitely piqued my interest with the trains connection, so yeah, I’ll probably give this one a try. 🙂


  8. WordsAndPeace
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 03:18:51

    starting it tomorrow! can’t wait!


  9. Violet
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 10:49:36

    I deceided not to rush out and buy this one, not after pre-ordering IQ84 and being SO disappointed with it. It sounds as though M is back on form this time, so I’ll probably read it before too long.

    You and I are total opposites. I’m very good at delayed gratification, especially when it comes to books. I always save them for a later, but I’m trying to break the habit.


  10. MarinaSofia
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 12:09:16

    I was just telling myself that I like earlier Murakami better than his most recent ones, but your enthusiastic review has intrigued me, so I am sure I’ll give it a whirl at some point.


  11. Tony
    Aug 16, 2014 @ 10:43:38

    I really enjoyed this, and I think most others will too. There are some weaknesses (and with my education in translated fiction over the past few years, I’ll never be able to read Murakami in quite the same way I used to), but there’s also so much to like here. In stripping back the story, he’s actually gained a lot, I think.

    I’ll be giving this a reread before reviewing it at the start of September – definitely a welcome addition to the collection, though 🙂


  12. Claire 'Word by Word'
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 18:23:21

    Since reading Dance, Dance, Dance I’ve been following Murakami’s books and look forward to this one crossing my path eventually too. am also intrigued to read his short non-fiction work about running and writing What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running.


  13. Trackback: Independent foreign fiction prize longlist 2015 | Winstonsdad's Blog
  14. Trackback: Shadow IFFP shortlist | Winstonsdad's Blog
  15. Trackback: Nobel lit 2017 who will follow Dylan | Winstonsdad's Blog
  16. Trackback: Top 50 books in translation since 2000 | Winstonsdad's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

August 2014


%d bloggers like this: