Unremarkable protagonist? Check. Weird sex scenes? Check. Mysterious beautiful woman? Check. I could go on.
I just finished reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami Haruki and while I like it, it wasn’t his best. People say that there are two camps to Murakami fans. The ones who are absorbed in his world and we have the ones who have read Norwegian Wood. That may be true to some extent but for me, I see it as categorizing his books in certain categories. The fantastical which features alternate realities, dream-like states, and basically you’re left with – did that happen? Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? So books like 1Q84, Wind-up Bird, Kafka on the Shore to name a few. Oh, you can’t forget the trilogy of the Rat. Then you’ve got those books that are fairly “normal” (if you could call them normal) – books like Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki would fall in the latter category.
It’s set in Tokyo and we have this humdrum guy (who even repeats over and over again that he is very unremarkable) named Tsukuru. He builds train stations which is great cause his name literally means to make. So he’s at a bar recounting to his “girlfriend” how he was in a friend group of 5 in high school. They all had colours in their names except himself. For some reason, in University, his friends just cut him out of their lives and basically ended his ‘life’. He lived life just passing the time but never fully living it as he did then. His “girlfriend” insists that if he wants to be serious with her, he must confront these four friends to find out why as she feels that he’s detached and harbors issues due to that incident. So the book follows the journey interlaced with flashbacks to other friends that have come and gone.
I won’t ruin the book by telling you why they exiled him nor will I say what happens with this “girlfriend”. In quotations because she was seen with another man.
Does that make you intrigued?
Well, the book, in true Murakami form, is open-ended in a way. The true point of the story (read the title again) is about Tsukuru’s journey to obtain closure of this incident and he can finally move on with his life. BUT I feel like there was too much build up on this conclusion with the “girlfriend” that I, myself, didn’t get closure!
Also, it got pretty repetitive when Tsukuru kept saying he was just a vessel, he wasn’t anyone remarkable (true enough) but like shut up already. He reminds me of those girls who are “blind” to their beauty and are just full of humility. Please. Get over yourself.
3.5/5. Like all Murakami books, they just suck you in his world but it was all too familiar of a place (not necessarily bad but repetitive) and the ending fell a little short for me.