Last month I read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami Haruki (村上春樹). When it comes to books, a bad habit of mine (besides being a total tsundoku) is judging a book by it’s cover (I knowwww, it’s bad!). I saw this one a few years ago at my book store and was completely intrigued by it, so when I stumbled upon it on bookdepository.com I bought it without even reading the synopsis.
The story is about a man in his thirties named Tsukuru Tazaki. He’s an engineer at a railroad company in Tokyo. Through a mutual friend he gets introduced to a woman named Sarah who he starts dating. After a few dates she finds out he has some bagage. Growing up in Nagayo as a teenager he had this extremely tight-knit group of friends. After graduation he is the only one who decides to study somewhere outside Nagayo. He comes back to visit often until one time the group decides to cut him off without a reason. This haunts Tsukuru for years and he never saw or spoke to them afterwards. Sarah tells him he should find out what really happened back then by talking to his old friends, otherwise she won’t be able to date him. And so Tsukuru’s journey starts.
The most prominent theme returning throughout the book is colour. Tsukuru’s friends’ names all contain a colour: Yoshio Oumi (Ao – blue), Yuzuki Shirane (Shiro – white), Kei Akamatsu (Aka – red), Eri Kurono (Kuro – red), making Tsukuru feel as the odd one out. (Knowing this, I have come to like the cover even more). His sole friend throughout college also has a ‘colour name’, reminding him of how he has always felt so colourless. Tsukuru associates this lack of colour to his own feeling of lacking identity or all content. An empty person. As a bildungsroman, you learn a lot how Tsukuru sees himself throughout his life.
I don’t often read these kind of books and to my opinion some parts felt kind of slow. Despite this, I still enjoyed reading it and the eagerness of finding out why his friends cut him off in such an abrupt and weird way was what mainly kept me going.
R A T I N G: 6,5/10