Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2014) by Haruki Murakami

Lovely, introspective, hypnotic, addictive. I wasn't surprised.

Even though I've only read one other Murakami novel so far (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles), I knew that this latest offering would be tantalizingly obscure and beautifully written. Murakami wields words like a master craftsman, making his complex creations seem so easy and effortless.

Here, Murakami weaves the haunting music of Liszt into a story of one man's effort to find the purpose of his existence. An engineer and builder of railroad stations, Tsukuru spends much of his time thinking about his own past and the pain and confusion he felt when his four closest friends inexplicably cut him off. He spends his days and nights doing mundane, ordinary things, but the nighttime brings erotic dreams that trouble his waking hours. Only when a woman he starts seeing pushes him to find out why he was cast out of his close-knit group of friends does Tsukuru think more deeply about the incident and about his own potential failures.

The answers that Tsukuru finds underscore his existence as a waystation- a stable, reliable structure that remains still while others constantly pass through on their way elsewhere. Tsukuru thinks about this often, calling himself "colorless" (because "Tsukuru" doesn't refer to any color but to "making" or "building") and empty. And yet, he manages to attract friends and lovers, even if they don't remain with him.

The end of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki suggests that so much more needs to be written about Tsukuru. It's as if this novel could function as the first in a trilogy or tetralogy, allowing Murakami to explore more fully the complexities of memory, friendship, and self.

Nevertheless, I devoured this book, and I highly recommend it.

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