Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is the latest novel by Haruki Murakami. In Japan, when his books are released, fans wait for hours in line to get a copy. I had not read any of Murakami’s novels before, and as soon as I started to read it I understood why he is so popular around the world.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is a story about growing up and finding yourself. When Tsukuru was in high school he was part of a group of five friends who shared a strong bond of friendship. The group is made up of three boys and two girls. Tsukuru always thought of himself as the weakest link in this group of friends. All of the others had some sort of special talent that made each of them unique and interesting.. After going off to college during his freshman year, his friends cut off all contact with him, and say they never want to talk to him again. He goes through years of depression and despair and always wonders what happened? Eventually a new girlfriend convinces him to contact his old friends to find out the truth, so he can live with himself, and release this burden from his past. Tsukuru goes on a pilgrimage to visit his old friends and find out what happened. During this voyage he discovers much about his friends and ultimately about himself.
This is an accessible book that quickly draws you into the character of Tsukuru. The language is simple, almost poetic, and yet very descriptive. It seems like every word was chosen with care. The flow of the language is beautiful and the ideas that are presented about life are universal in nature. This is a book about how people grow and change and become adults, and how hard it is to stay connected to people. It’s also a book about how other people see you is often very different than how you see yourself.
One of the interesting things about the book is that, like in real life, it doesn’t provide all of the answers. You are left with a few mysteries. Making you wonder what will happen next? But life is so often like that.
You can put a hold on the book in the Deerfield Public Library catalog right now. The book is available print (regular and large type), and as an audiobook and downloadable ebook.
This review was previously published by theDeerfield Review.