Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years ofPilgrimage (Haruki Murakami)

This one made me feel apathetically heartbroken (?)


Title: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage (orginal title: Shikisai o Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi)
Author: Haruki Murakami (Translator: Philip Gabriel)
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
First published: 2013 (in Japanese)
Edition: paperback published in 2014 by Pinguin Random House

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago. 


This was my first novel by this very well known Japanese author. It is not one of his most famous books, but I hope it was a decent introduction to his writing.

The themes of this book were pretty heartbreaking. There is a lot of loss, apathy and self deprevation, but I thinks these are also themes that a lot of readers will recognise within themselves. We have all had relationships, whether friendships or romantic ones, that have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another and which may have affected the course of our lives.

For the most part I really liked the writing. There were a few passages that annoyed me a little and pulled me out of the story. Somehow the writing suddenly felt different and it caused a little bit of friction withing my brain, but I am the first to admit my brain is odd. Overall, the writing did work for me and the story, although a quiet one in many ways, never grew boring. The ending was a bit unsatisfying for me, but actually I did not mind it.

I don’t think this novel is particularly memorable, but as I did enjoy the writing I will definitely seek out some of Murakami’s more praised works in the near future.

5 out of 7 stars

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