COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE by Haruki Murakami
Kirkus Star

COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE

by , translated by

KIRKUS REVIEW

Murakami (IQ84, 2011, etc.) turns in a trademark story that blends the commonplace with the nightmarish in a Japan full of hollow men.

Poor achromatic Tsukuru. For some inexplicable reason, his four best friends, two males, two females, have cut him off without a word. Perhaps, he reckons between thoughts of suicide, it’s because they can pair off more easily without a fifth wheel; perhaps it’s because his name means “builder,” while all theirs have to do with colors: red pine, blue sea, white root, black field. Alas for Tsukuru, he “lacked a striking personality, or any qualities that made him stand out”—though, for all that, he’s different. Fast-forward two decades, and Tsukuru, true to both his name and his one great passion in life, designs train stations. He’s still wounded by the banishment, still mystified at his friends’ behavior. Helpfully, his girlfriend suggests that he make contact with the foursome to find out what he’d done and why he’d deserved their silence. Naturally, this being a Murakami story, the possibilities are hallucinogenic, Kafkaesque, and otherwise unsettling and ominous: “Gray is a mixture of white and black. Change its shade, and it can easily melt into various gradations of darkness.” That old saying about not asking questions if you don’t want to know the answers—well, there’s the rub, and there’s Tsukuru’s problem. He finds that his friends' lives aren’t so golden (the most promising of them now hawks Lexuses and knowingly owns up to it: “I bet I sound like a car salesman?”); his life by comparison isn't so bad. Or is it? It’s left to the reader to judge. Murakami writes with the same murky sense of time that characterized 1Q84, but this book, short and haunting, is really of a piece with older work such as Norwegian Wood and, yes, Kafka on the Shore. The reader will enjoy watching Murakami play with color symbolism down to the very last line of the story, even as Tsukuru sinks deeper into a dangerous enigma.

Another tour de force from Japan’s greatest living novelist.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-385-35210-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2014




THE MOST ANTICIPATED NOVELS OF THE FALL:

FictionTHE BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell
by David Mitchell
FictionTHE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters
by Sarah Waters
FictionCONSUMED by David Cronenberg
by David Cronenberg
FictionSOME LUCK by Jane Smiley
by Jane Smiley

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for H IS FOR HAWK
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for THE DUFF
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for IT'S WHAT I DO
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY HARUKI MURAKAMI

FictionTHE STRANGE LIBRARY by Haruki Murakami
by Haruki Murakami
Fiction1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
by Haruki Murakami
NonfictionWHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING by Haruki Murakami
by Haruki Murakami

MORE BY PHILIP GABRIEL

FictionGENOCIDE OF ONE by Kazuaki Takano
by Kazuaki Takano
FictionPARADE by Shuichi Yoshida
by Shuichi Yoshida
Fiction1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
by Haruki Murakami
NonfictionWHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING by Haruki Murakami
by Haruki Murakami

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionIF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER by Italo Calvino
by Italo Calvino
FictionVERTIGO by W.G. Sebald
by W.G. Sebald
FictionTHE LAKE by Banana Yoshimoto
by Banana Yoshimoto