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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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A mesmerising mystery story about friendship from the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and 1Q84

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.

386 pages, Hardcover

First published April 12, 2013

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About the author

Haruki Murakami

621 books111k followers
Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened the coffeehouse 'Peter Cat' which was a jazz bar in the evening in Kokubunji, Tokyo with his wife.

Many of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: The Thieving Magpie (after Rossini's opera), Bird as Prophet (after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as The Prophet Bird), and The Bird-Catcher (a character in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute). Some of his novels take their titles from songs: Dance, Dance, Dance (after The Dells' song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune), Norwegian Wood (after The Beatles' song) and South of the Border, West of the Sun (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,317 reviews
Profile Image for Xandra.
296 reviews230 followers
April 12, 2017
I wish I could tell you this book is about gregarious men, women who are more than their boobs and their stupid advice, disdain for train stations, vivacious characters, solvable mysteries. Hell, I wish I could tell you it’s about unicorns, shoguns and samurai clans, aliens, post-apocalyptic Japan, killer penguins or the Russian tundra. Anything other than the old Murakami tropes again.

Surprising no one, the book deals with lost friendship and the exasperating whining that derives from that. To be more specific, the story follows a typical Murakami-esque dude whose group of friends suddenly gives him the cold shoulder and, sixteen years later, he’s finally determined by his girlfriend to visit them one by one and clear things up. A more puerile premise has never been thought of.

I’ve clearly reached a point where the more Murakami I read, the more it becomes apparent that he’s a one trick pony. You might rightly assert that most authors are, but he takes it to another level. It’s more than his voice and his writing style; it’s, well… everything. He recreates the same main character – the insular, self-deprecating man, who women always find special and jump at the opportunity to dictate the course of his life - each time more or less successfully, with the same relationship dynamics between him and the women in his life and the same themes ranging from the more general theme of alienation to something more specific like a passion for train stations or people watching. It’s become so repetitive that the plot development is often not a surprise anymore and you know when certain elements are cue for a flashback, an observation regarding a woman’s looks, an erection, not an erection, bad sex or weird shit. Sadly, the repetition isn’t limited to the reiteration of themes in different books; it’s noticeable within the same work too. This book, for instance, would have made a decent short story if it weren’t for about 150 pages of sheer redundancy. Cut down one or two friends, go easier on the relationship drama, stop describing every step of the way, give the guy a pair of balls for fuck’s sake and you’d actually have a chance to not bore your audience.

One reviewer describes the book as full of oneiric, poetic and metaphoric elements. Is Tsukuru’s story oneiric? If you’re referring to his many erotic dreams about threesomes, then hell yeah. Poetic and metaphoric? Sure. Then again, with Murakami’s reputation of being cryptic, he could say virtually anything and someone would consider it “poetic and metaphoric”. Just ask most literary critics. They see poetry and metaphors in everything.

Then there’s the obligatory magical stuff. Not too much of it here, the book is pretty logical and straightforward. Still, he can’t help but include a ludicrous story about a man who claims he has one month to live because an “ordinary person” told him so and who could avoid death only by meeting someone who’s willing to die in his stead (no signed papers needed, he informs) and, as a compensation for his imminent death, he’s invested with the gift of seeing people’s colors, which are like halos around their head. Pretty cringe worthy, huh? Which is not to say I’m not tempted to paint those pages on my ceiling so I can start the rest of my days with a big laugh. I bet it never gets old.

And let’s not forget the “Oh joy! Here he starts with the parallel realities again!” moment. When crazy shit happens, Tsukuru predictably jumps to the logical conclusion that time bifurcated and created another reality. Not even once does he think: “Well, maybe I’m a bit bonkers. Going on and on (and on and on…) about how my high school group kicked me out of their midst, how we were brought together by some sort of divine intervention, how I’ve become suicidal and suffered for almost two freaking decades. Guess it’s time for some therapy.” Funny as it is, how many times can Murakami pull the alternate reality card before it becomes irksome? Give me a break with this magic-for-the-sake-of-it crap already!

In the second half, the redundancy becomes more and more evident and makes way for some very amateurish writing. It’s insulting to the readers to have the main character offer to talk to one of his old friends about his girlfriend and have him repeat what we already know thanks to not sleeping when the first hundred pages happened. And don’t you think it qualifies as oversharing to mention to a woman you haven't seen in sixteen years and who’s the constant object of your erotic dreams that you weren’t able to “penetrate” your girlfriend the last time you saw her? Sincerity, you say? Well, I guess. Big-tits Eri, eager to fulfill the trope, is happy to offer ludicrous relationship advice and put up with Tsukuru’s whining. “I have no personality, no defined color. I have nothing to offer to others. This has always been my problem. I feel like an empty vessel.” Well, boo hoo. It’s the fiftieth time you lament about this. Also, news flash: you have a personality and it’s a very annoying one.

I feel I’m a bit unfair with this book because there was a good part of the first hundred pages that I enjoyed despite the simplistic writing and the formulaic plot. I didn’t get much out of it though. For a guy who prides himself in being mysterious, Murakami unforgivably lacks subtlety and his books feel like copies of one another. I could advise you to forget about Tsukuru Tazaki and choose Hard-Boiled Wonderland... instead, but, if my history of reading Murakami is any indication, I’m a bad reader of his work and my often incongruous opinion counts for nothing.
Profile Image for B Schrodinger.
305 reviews659 followers
January 6, 2015
The phone rang as I was slicing potatoes for a massuman curry one afternoon whist listening to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I didn’t particularly want to answer the phone as it was likely to be a telemarketer, but it could be someone phoning about possible work.
“So how is it so far?” asked a woman’s voice on the other end.
Our phone line is terrible, but I still did not recognize the voice.
“Excuse me? I think you may have the wrong number.”
“No, I have the correct number. How are you finding Murakami’s new novel?” the woman asked.
I was slightly taken aback. How could this caller know that I started Murakami’s new novel that morning, the first morning of my newly found unemployment?
“Are you from Kinokuniya?” I asked. I had purchased the book in the city on Saturday. Maybe they could identify me from my loyalty card and were doing some marketing research.
“In a way, yes.” She replied. “My name is Moriko. It means child of the forest. So what are your initial thoughts on the novel?”
“Well I haven’t much time to get into the novel yet. But from what I have read it seems to be a very standard Murakami novel with similar themes as his other works. His main character is an everyday man, who is single an unmarried and who has a troubled past that he would like to put behind him. He also designs train stations. That’s kinda weird and cool.”
“Very good, very good. I shall call tomorrow.” And she abruptly hung up.

The next day the phone call came at around the same time. I had just finished up sweeping leaves in the garden and had sat down to prepare for the lesson I was giving that night. I had resigned from my full-time day job, but I was still teaching Chemistry at the local university three nights a week.
“Hello Brendon. Would you like to share more of your thoughts on Murakami’s new novel?”
“Hello Moriko,” I said enthusiastically. “How are you this afternoon?”
“I am well thank you Brendon. But I would like to hear your thoughts on the new Murakami novel,” she said curtly.
I was taken aback for a moment, but thought nothing more of it.
“I have progressed a little. The main character has found a friend that cooks him meals and they listen to music together. And he has talked about how he is estranged from his family and especially his father who recently died. He then goes on to explain how his father named him… But I have just gotten up to one of those flashback chapters that Murakami loves so much… You know, they’ll be during a war or something and they’ll involve a well. They are just so distracting that I need to psych myself up to get through with that distraction.”
I kept getting distracted throughout this time by a scratching noise at the door.
“That will be your cat Galileo wanting to come in, “offered Moriko.
“But I don’t own a cat.”
“Are you sure?”
“I think I’d know if I owned a cat or not. Especially if it was named after one of the greatest scientists who ever lived.”
“Oh, I am getting you confused with the other Brendon that I am in conversation with about the book. Many apologies. I will call again tomorrow.”
And she promptly hung up.

The next day I was teaching, filing in for a colleague who had gone to a conference, and was not home. But I could not shake the image of my telephone ringing endlessly in my empty house.

“I now understand why he considers himself colourless,” I stated over the phone the following day. Moriko had called at the same time as before, 3:00 pm, and I had found myself unconsciously doing small jobs waiting for the call.
“I see,” offered Moriko. “And would you identify with Mr. Tazaki?”
“Somewhat, but not hugely. We all pin our identities with those around us. I have loving people in my life at the moment, however apart from my partner I do not find myself defined by them. I guess love for my partner is the only time I have built part of my identity into a relationship. I know that things don’t generally last forever, and the things that do change.”
“Thank you for your time Brendon. We will talk again tomorrow.”
I managed to get a quick “Goodbye” in before the phone hung up.

“How did you find the ending Brendon?” Moriko asked on the Friday afternoon.
“Well, I did like how the novel left off. Incomplete. Hang on, how did you know I was finished?”
“Let’s just call it women’s intuition,” replied Moriko.
“Right,” I said skeptically. “But I enjoyed how Tsukuru found out about his past and some of the mystery was solved. He had presumed the worst all along, but the people that he reconnected with knew the truth and even suspected it. He had once again presumed the worst and had little self-worth. I am glad he had an epiphany about his priorities at the end. Even if it doesn't turn out I believe he would be much happier and would be able to deal with rejection in a much healthier way.”
“Thank you for your thoughts Brendon. I am glad you enjoyed Mr. Murakami’s latest book.”
“Thank you for listening to my thoughts Moriko.”
“You are very welcome Brendon.”
And she hung up.
I stood for a while next to the phone pondering these strange conversations I had over the previous week with Moriko and had a strange feeling that this was not the last I would hear from her.

After all a new Murakami work called 'The Strange Library' was set to come out in a few more months.
Profile Image for Koen Eeckhout.
Author 2 books56 followers
January 21, 2014
To me, Murakami's books are like ice cream. Many people will claim that it's just more of the same, and in a way they are right. But I am not complaining, because it's just more of the same delicious, luscious thing. Also, while a too large bowl of ice cream can cause stomach troubles (maybe like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles), this time Murakami limits himself to a nice amount of 360 pages.

I will not go into much detail on the plot. At the age of 20, Tsukuru Tazaki is kicked out of his brotherhood of five friends, three boys and two girls. Each of them has a colorful name: Red, Blue, White and Black, except for Tsukuru. It's representative for the way he thinks about himself: colorless, with nothing valuable to offer the rest of the group - or even the world. Little does he know that that's not the way the others think about him. So, which point of view is the right one?

The major part of the book is a quest to find out why he was so harshly removed from his circle of friends. A quest set to the tones of 'Le mal du pays', a melancholic melody from Liszt's 'Années de pèlerinage' (a hint towards the title of the book). All of this gives the book an atmosphere very similar to Norwegian Wood.

I had a hard time deciding whether to give this book four or five stars. On the positive side: I love the melancholic atmosphere, the story is not too intangible, it has the perfect length, the characters are believable, I - almost - couldn't put it down. On the negative side: some readers (maybe those not very familiar with Murakami) will remain dissatisfied. There are several loose ends and some unexplained situations. In other words, it's more of the same old thing.

I love it.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
April 16, 2020
This is easily one of the saddest books I have ever read. I found it extremely difficult to read in places. I know what it is to lose friends, to have people randomly walk out of your life as if you never existed: it’s not a nice feeling after years of friendship.

For Tsukuru its four friends and they all exit at once. He gets a phone call from one of them informing him that the group have unanimously decided that he is no longer part of it. The shock is something that he carries with him for his entire life. He loved his four friends and their departure has left him with an undying fear, a fear of ever getting close to anyone ever again.

“It’s as if he was sleepwalking through life, as if he had already died but not yet noticed it."

"Before him lay a huge, dark abyss that ran straight through to the earth’s core. All he could see was a thick cloud of nothingness swirling around him; all he could hear was a profound silence squeezing his eardrums.”

He had no idea why it happened and it has haunted him ever since. It made him question his own identity and his purpose in life, ultimately turning him into a cynic. He never expected to find joy again or any sense of happiness. He trudges through life, colourless and utterly dead inside. On the surface he is successful but inside he is a wreck, existing though not living. After sixteen years he decides to face his past and re-connect with those that abandoned him so mercilessly. He goes back to find the reason that almost destroyed him.

Murakami captures the intensity of emotions to such powerful effect through exploring such a history. Few writers can get such feeling into their writing. We are all waiting for something or longing for something. I wonder how many people are truly happy in life? Not many.

When we find our shot at happiness we fly straight towards it and do everything we can to ensure that it never leaves us. And if it does leave us, well, the aftermath is worse than death. When Tsukuru’s friends abandon him, he no longer is the same person. It’s as simple as that. He must find himself once more to carry on living.

“The human heart is like a night bird. Silently waiting for something, and when the time comes, it flies straight toward it.”

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is an absolutely fantastic novel, and, as with Norwegian Wood, reading it may hurt. This is a novel to learn from.

More Murakami for me in the future!

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Profile Image for Sophie.
2,481 reviews104 followers
August 25, 2014
(Note: there's a big spoiler in this review, but I'm going to mark it so you should be able to skip it.)

I wanted to like this book.

I ordered it after reading the description in the German preview, and I could hardly wait. The plot sounded intriguing, and this was going to be the first "real" novel I was going to read in Japanese, and it was by an author whose works I mostly enjoyed until then. This was going to be so good!

And it was, in the beginning. Tazaki Tsukuru used to be part of a group of very close friends in high school, and even after that, but then suddenly they all avoid him and tell him to never contact him again. The reason? "You should know why." After that experience, he's plunged into a deep depression and almost killed himself. Still, he somehow made it through that time and more or less has put it past him, or so he thinks, until 16 years later he starts dating a woman who tells him he should try to find out what exactly happened back then in order to sort himself out.

The beginning starts out really strong, and I have to say I could relate to both the depression and the experience very well. And throughout the novel, whenever women aren't involved, it's a good book - Murakami isn't a bad writer, and he's insightful (although a lot of the conclusions Tsukuru finally comes to could also be found in a Paulo Coelho book and no that is not a compliment) and smart. Which makes his treatment of women all the more infuriating.

I actually don't feel like reiterating all the sickening old-man's fantasies right here, or the constant breast-fixation which ruined an otherwise really good scene for me. (And even when he remembers that scene later, it's always "her breasts, her breasts, her breasts". I am sorry, that is disgusting. And if all men do that, it's disgusting.)

What I take the most issue with is the reason his friends cut off all contact with him. Now follows the spoiler.


I hate false rape accusations as a plot point. Our culture being as it is, women have a hard enough time being taken seriously when they say they have been raped even without that kind of plot point being perpetuated again and again. No matter how good the book - and I have yet to read one with a false rape accusation that wasn't bad - it's harmful, especially because it suggests it's something that happens a lot more often than it does, considering how often it's used in movies and books and whatnot. And in this case it's even worse because it wouldn't even have been necessary, in my opinion, at least considering how the plot develops and the final conclusion Tsukuru comes to concerning Shiro.

And then there's the giant plot hole of doom: how useless must the Japanese police be if, after Shio's murder, Tsukuru doesn't become their main suspect? I mean, I've read enough mysteries and watched enough procedurals to know you look for someone with a motive. And you look at the suspect's past. "Oh, so she was part of a group of five close friends? What happened to that circle of friends? Why are they not close anymore?" Seriously, that pissed me off so much because it's sloppy. I don't care about not finding out who really raped Shiro, I don't care about finding out who killed her, I don't even care about what happened to Haida [even though the fact that Tsukuru's Kinda Sorta Gay Episode never really gets resolved], but that requires a ridiculous suspension of disbelief that I am apparently not capable of (and I read BL novels for a - well, not for a living, but I read a lot of them and I am good as suspending my disbelief, is what I'm saying).


All in all the bad parts of this book stand out all the more because of the good parts, you could say. I am incapable of giving it just one star, but at the same time I am incapable of giving it more than two. While it is a book I ended up thinking a lot about, I really didn't like it and it's very unlikely I'll ever pick up another book by Murakami because his misogynism is not something I want to engage with again.
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
853 reviews5,848 followers
July 14, 2022
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
-Søren Kierkegaard

It is a shame that we cannot relive the past, only merely recreate it. We bear the scars of events we can only comprehend in retrospect, but must rely on flawed memory and biased examinations of what truly came to pass. Internationally acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami’s 2014 novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage—a title that screams of pure Murakami whimsy and flair¹, is a novel about looking back down the tracks of life from the speeding train of time hurling us towards unknown horizons. This quiet, introspective novel follows Tsukuru Tazaki as he sleuths through his past, reexamining his mysterious expulsion from a high school group of peers that ‘were a perfect combination, the five of us. Like five fingers.’ While it is a sleek novel both engaging and easy to read, it opens up a deep cavern of thought where the reader must themselves bridge the opposite sides of the narratorial chasms, drawing their own conclusions much like Tsukuru must from the retrospective ruminations of his former friends. Murakami succeeds with this ponderous novel about the uncertainties of identity, identity formed and forged internally but highly persuaded by the external elements and how we see ourselves in the mirrors of our peers interactions with us.

With Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, Murakami achieves a wonderfully delicate balance of his authorial duality—both his coming-of-age realist narratives and the more fantastical and playful style full of parallel universes and magic—crafting a melancholy, introspective investigation of self with an eerie sense of mythicality looming in the peripherals of the page. As with most Murakami there are parallel narratives (of time instead of parallel universes in this novel) that are deftly weaved together to keep the plot compelling and extract the most from each plotline at precisely the correctly controlled moment. Much of the novel goes unanswered, with Tsukuru and the reader only able to speculate the truth and fear that the realm of dreams may impose upon the world of waking reality. This is much of the novels charm and acts authentically as true reality where we have no concrete finality and must compose an identity based on incomplete experimentations and inferences. The questions that truly matter in life are not simple or able to be explained through clear, concise language but through fluid explanations that are always seemingly just at the tip of reason; it is only through abstraction and faith in our own logic that we can come to terms with the mystery of the world around us. The novel itself is much like Haida’s description of the Liszt piece.
The piece seems simple technically, but it’s hard to get the expression right. Play it just as it’s written on the score and it winds up pretty boring. But go the opposite route and interpret it too intensely, and it sounds cheap.
The intricacies of the novel would fall flat if inked by lesser authors, yet Murakami applies the lightest touch and allows each moment to sing with grace.

One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. This is what lies at the root of true harmony

The problem that serves as the sparse plot’s impetus is Tsukuru’s feeling of colorlessness in life, spurred by an unfortunate disassociation from his close-knit group of high school friends—all with names denoting a color except for Tsukuru’s—for reasons undisclosed to him. After being banned from association, Tsukuru falls into a period of intense, suicidal grief and after getting back on his feet has formed a self-identity that assumes himself as colorless and empty. He continues this way until his girlfriend during his thirties sends him on a quest to reconnect and unearth the truth of his past. Among the mysteries that he encounters, Tsukuru learns that he has a flawed sense of self amalgamated by the expulsion and lack of peer interaction, learning that among the group he was in fact thought of as the most self-assured, most attractive and most successful². The constant bemoaning and low-self esteem of Tsukuru may grate on some readers, however, Murakami does well to create an authentic psychological profile to account for why an intensely attractive male with a line of women eager to sleep with him would believe himself to be so inconsequential. ‘ You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them,’ Tsukuru thinks, and regardless of how hard he tries to continue on with his life, the past has issued profound wounds on his ego that refuse to fade with time.

Color, or the lack thereof, figures prominently in the novel. The characters with colorful names seem to have pre-made, nearly stereotypical identities, which would seem enviable to someone without a sense of self, especially someone who is thrown from their pedestal into the pit of everyday life without a life-line of friendly support. However, Tsukuru’s name means ‘to build’, and that is exactly what he must do. Like the train stations he builds and restores, he must build a sense of self then gut it and restore it to improve upon the flaws that fail to accommodate the reality he resides in. The character Haida, who temporarily assuages Tsukuru’s loneliness and peerlessness before a mysterious disappearance, has a name associated with the color grey. The two female figures of his childhood peers bore the names of White and Black, and Haida seems to be a balance of the two in Tsukuru’s life, complete with a sexual awakening and awkwardness born only in dream but feared to have a residual effect in his waking life. The essence of colors extents beyond that of characters names, such as the way colors found in the natural world also fall into a matrix of meaning. Green, it would seem, is a color that provides solace to Tsukuru, such as the Green Line trains that he watches come and go from a train station to relax and calm his mind, or the green eyes of his girlfriend’s Finnish counterpart that immediately wrap him in a feeling of trust and comfort.

The interactions, with particular regard to dialogue and the sexual encounters described between Tsukuru and the women in his life, have a tendency to feel stilted and quite clinical (to borrow a term used in the insights of a dear friend when discussing the novel). There is nearly no passion in the sex scenes, merely anatomical commingling as if from a textbook, and the dialogue is often overly flat and direct, with characters speaking with a mannerism removed from emotion and natural cadence. While this is not in keeping with the natural poetry of Murakami’s narration, or with the style of his other novels, it leads the reader to infer that these clinical interactions are as ‘colorless’ as Tsukuru believes himself to be, yet it is not him that is colorless but the world and the lesser people around him. It is the friendships, the love, the striving for success and betterment that provides color in this world. Murakami profits by keeping the tone and description within the boundaries implied by character, keeping true to what best fits the novel at a given moment and not what best suits a display of authorial ego, and he should be applauded for it. However, the novel does feel simile heavy with poetic observations seemingly tacked on at the end of sentences where the use of a metaphor instead would have reduced the staccato bursts of the poetic and aided in crafting a fluidly flowing river of prose (as opposed to creating prose like a fluid, flowing river).

One minor detail that could be also accounted for as an expression of character though leaves a bitter taste in the mouth is a strong sense of misogyny prevailing throughout the novel. The female characters tend to exist primarily as an extension of Tsukuru’s ego—either as a boost or deterrent of—and have little to offer outside the realm of sexuality. Take for example his girlfriend who provides little information about herself, sidestepping any character exposition by stating that ‘it isn’t very interesting’ whenever conversation steers towards a position where generally one would reveal a bit about themselves and instead keeps the topic of conversation constantly orbiting Tsukuru’s emotional state. It would seem that Tsukuru’s world is also populated by what he'd consider shallow, unfaithful women who exist primarily as sexual objects and want to do nothing besides talk about Tsukuru (which is problematic in many Murakami works). Also disturbing and irritating is when discussing the . Tsukuru even generalizes women in a particular passage as
Their hair is always nicely curled. They major in French literature at expensive private women’s colleges, and after graduation find jobs as receptionists or secretaries. They work for a few years, visit Paris for shopping once a year with their girlfriends. They finally catch the eye of a promising young man in the company, or else are formally introduced to one, and quit work to get married. They then devote themselves to getting their children into famous private schools.
Passages such as this are sure to raise a few eyebrows and dismisses the agency and interior worlds of women as well as ignores the social issues that create massive equity barriers for women to exist in the workplace. For a really good look at these issues check out the novel Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982.

Despite a few cumbersome moments, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is a delicate and breathless achievement of beauty that plays all the right notes on themes of identity and alienation. The novel breezes along at a fast pace through the introspective reflections and discussions, with wonderful story-within-a-story asides such as the tale of Haida’s father that highlight the expertise of Murakami as a storyteller regardless of the thematic canvases of his tales. Murakami accrues a wide collection of universal problems to ponder that are sure to dazzle any reader, just don’t expect a cut and dry solution. ‘This was a problem that had nothing to do with language,’ Tsukuru reflects, and the answers are best discovered in the creativity of the readers own mind and not sitting static upon a page.

Our lives are like a complex musical score, filled with all sorts of cryptic writing, sixteenth and thirty-second notes and other strange signs. It's next to impossible to correctly interpret these, and even if you could, and then could transpose them into the correct sounds, there's no guarantee that people would correctly understand, or appreciate, the meaning therein.

¹ The title also is a playful homage to the musical piece Le Mal du Pays by Franz Liszt which figures as a motif in the novel. The Liszt piece was commonly played on piano by Tsukuru former friend and is presented here performed by Lazar Berman —the preferred version of the character Haida. Murakami often inserts a subdued soundtrack of classical music into his novels, such as the Thieving Magpie in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, using musical motifs to harmonize with the interior themes. There are several allusions to Jean Sibeliuswhen Tsukuru visits Sibelius’ birthtown of Hämeenlinna to meet with his former friend Eri (or, Kuru). Among Sibelius’ most notable works is The Swan of Tuonela which tells the story of a sacred swan and a hunter who is killed, and later reborn, while attempting to hunt the swan. This tale seems a mythical metaphor to Tsukuru own story.

²‘Did the others really need him,’ Tsukuru wonders after his friends reject him. However, balance plays a key role, and without Tsukuru the group of friends could no longer function as a single unit. It is as if he were a thumb, a key element of the ‘hands’ function. There is a lengthy discussion about a medical condition causing people to be born with six fingers, which apparently causes an imbalance in the hand that must be corrected, primarily though for aesthetic purposes. Perhaps the trimming of Tsukuru, for what is revealed to be a shallow, ‘saving-face’ aesthetic-like purpose considering the actual disbelief of his friends, is much like this operation. However, Tsukuru was not an extraneous digit of the friendship but highly integral to its success. Also revealed in the medical discussion is that many famous artists and creators were afflicted with the condition, and the creator nature of Tsukuru may also be abstractly associated with this trimming of the sixth finger.
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
860 reviews2,179 followers
September 8, 2014
From Young Adult to Mature

Many of Murakami's novels deal with the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This probably accounts for their amazing popularity, especially with young Japanese readers.

However, you have to wonder whether Murakami can continually plough the fields of this subject matter at his age, without losing his youthful audience.

As at the date of publication of this novel, he is aged 65, which in some countries is the traditional mandatory retirement age.

I suspect that "Colorless Tsukuru" is a strategic move that anticipates how he will write and what he will write about in the future. It might even enhance his reputation with older readers.

Adolescence in Retrospect

The eponymous protagonist is 36 at the time most of the novel is set. It is sixteen years since Tsukuru and his four colorful friends turned 20 years of age and in a sense made the transition to adulthood.

Although the novel is still loosely about this transition, it is told from the perspective of somebody much older, if still affected by it.

In a way, Tsukuru's pilgrimage returns him, not to some source of religious belief, but to his adolescence.

The pilgrimage is a necessary journey to the source of an understanding of his current self. However, temporally, he must eventually return to the present, when he is 36.

Inevitably, his pilgrimage will help him understand his immediate past (the last 16 years) and his present, but also his future.


My copy I

On Being Blue

At the age of 20, Tsukuru's tight-knit community comprised of four other school friends (whose names all contain the Japanese words for colors - red, blue, black and white) suddenly dissociated themselves from him without giving him a reason. From his point of view, there was no reason, and therefore every reason.

He started to think of himself as colorless, an absence, a nothing, a zero. His life consisted of nothingness. He genuinely and quite understandably lived in an abyss, on a precipice, inside a void, surrounded by darkness.

Initially, he was tempted to commit suicide. However, even this act requires some positive deliberation, and eventually he can't even collect himself together enough to take the step of jumping off the precipice.

He continues to live, not because he has decided in favour of life or against death, but he simply can't be bothered to make any decision at all.

Tsukuru assumes that the relationship with each of his friends would have continued through adulthood, but for his friends' abandonment of him. He assumes that it has continued between his four former friends.

As a result, Tsukuru clings to what he has lost, in the belief that it still exists. In a way, he holds onto something from his adolescence well into adulthood.

Doing so prevents him "growing up" and having "more adult" relationships, getting married and becoming a parent.

Happy Together

As the title indicates, the narrative of the novel consists of a pilgrimage which forces him to confront his situation.

The immediate trigger is 38 year old Sara, who is keen to have a serious relationship with him, but questions whether he is ready.

She senses that Tsukuru is trapped by an emotional and spiritual blockage. The only way to deal with it is to locate his four friends and find out why they abandoned him.

He can't simply pretend it didn't happen and move on. He has to find out and deal with it, no matter how bad their reasons might be.

Sara realises that what happened to Tsukuru was so traumatic that it not only destroyed his vitality, it destroyed his desire, his appetite, his longing.

She sets him off on the pilgrimage, not believing that he will automatically be happy, but confident that when he returns, he will be able to deal with life's challenges more effectively.

She doesn't anticipate some fairy tale ending in which everybody lives happily ever after. She simply believes in the ability of two loving adults to sort out their problems. Together.

Colorless, but Constructive

Tsukuru was always disappointed that his name didn't represent a color, like his friends. However, more importantly, it means "to create, to make, to build".

At work, he is an engineer who build railways stations that are at the hub of the transportation and communications network.

Ultimately, he has to learn to recreate, remake, rebuild himself, just as he would refurbish an existing railway station.

His station is not ready to be demolished, it just needs a little renovation.


Tokyo Metro Subway Map

Different Transitions

Tsukuru learns much from and about his friends during his pilgrimage. I won't spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that they have moved away from each other in their adult lives. The community that Tsukuru assumed had persisted without him doesn't exist. He has missed little as a result of his abandonment.

Instead, each of his friends has encountered their own challenges and problems making the transition to adulthood.

The causes are different for each of his friends. However, Murakami's message seems to be that we aren't so much challenged by external forces, like fate or evil.

What prevents us from succeeding or being happy is our own fear of failure. In love matters, we often don't express our love for another, because of a fear of non-reciprocation.

Don't Let the Bad Elves Get You

Murakami implies that we miss out on a lot of life experience and happiness, just because we lack the courage to try.

Our confidence shines its own light. It shows us the way, but it also attracts others.

In contrast, our lack of confidence is a form of darkness that obscures our vision and frustrates our happiness.

This insight connects with Murakami's increasing interest in the role of the subconscious.

While we have grown used to the magical realism in Murakami's novels, he is increasingly moving in a direction that suggests that the real darkness and unknown in within us, within our sub-conscious.

As with psychoanalysis, part of growing up is about translating the unknown into the known, and the unconscious into the conscious.

One of Tsukuru's friends farewells him with the words, "Don't let the bad elves get you!"

It's good advice, but it emerges from a discussion about the inner demons that plagued one of their other friends. In her case, the bad elves resided within.

So, not only do we have to keep a watch out for ourselves, we have to keep an eye on ourselves, our own demons. Perhaps, the real message is that we shouldn't let our bad selves get us.

We Can Be Happy

Ultimately, Tsukuru's pilgrimage takes him to the source of the subconscious forces that drove him towards anomie, depression, anxiety and potential suicide.

There is a sense in which this subject matter might still be intended for young adults. However, I don't think there is any preconceived limit to the audience for Murakami's fiction.

In contemporary Western society, if not Japanese and Eastern society as well, adults are just as much plagued by anxiety as adolescents. In fact, if adults were a lot happier, perhaps their children might be happier.

Happiness isn't necessarily comprised of material wealth. I think that Murakami is trying to help generate a spiritual wealth, whether or not it is theistic.


The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell believed that the story arc of most literature and film is a hero's journey, and that the hero has a thousand faces.

One of Murakami's aims seems to be to persuade us that, in our own lives, one of those faces should be our own.

His fiction has increasingly become an attempt to combat the inauthentic prescriptions of cults and self-help groups.

Murakami's latest novel might be constructed around a hero's journey.

I suspect that the following Wiki description of Joseph Campbell's concept of the "monomyth" might even describe many of his earlier novels:

"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

"Colorless Tsukuru" differs from this definition and Murakami's earlier works in that Tsukuru returns in order to deal with his problems, believing it's not adequate to escape them in some fantasist world.

It's arguable that there is no neat ending to the novel. However, you could infer that when Tsukuru returns, he will be capable of longing and he will find someone who is prepared to help him build something new. And isn't that what we all want from life, whether we're an adolescent or an adult or both?


My copy II


Mister Gray

Gray is a mixture.
Find gradations of darkness,
Not just black and white.

Colorless Gray

All through secondary school, my four best friends had names similar to mine. But not similar enough for my liking. Our surnames were all based on colours: White, Blue, Greene, Browne. And me. My name was Ian Gray then. Notice that my name had no "e" on the end. I desperately wanted that "e", so that I could be like them. I did some research in the library and discovered I couldn't change it by deed poll until I turned 18. By the time we were all 17, we were in our last year of school. I had already decided that I wanted to go to university in Canberra. The other four wanted to remain in Brisbane (notice the omnipresent "e"). Each year, I would return home, and it was just like I hadn't been away. We were the colourful five. While away, in another world, I had forgotten about changing my name by deed poll. Then one holiday when I was just about to return to Canberra to complete my last year, Blue came around to my home. It was just the two of us. Nobody else was home, not even my family. I was shocked by what he told me. He said that the four of them had decided they wanted to discontinue contact with me. I asked whether it was because of the missing "e". He just laughed, as if he had never thought of the possibility. "I can't tell you why," he said. "You'll have to work it out for yourself." He rose from the sofa and left without saying another word. He didn't even shake my hand when I offered it. I returned to Canberra, finished my degree and eventually came home at the end of the academic year. I wrote many letters to my friends that year, but they answered none of them. I cried when I arrived home and my parents greeted me. Even though I had seen them every year, I still remembered them as they had been when I lived at home and went to school. They looked frail and ill. One after the other, they died over the next 18 months. I had no siblings. Nobody objected or cared when I finally changed my name to Ian Graye. I wrote to my friends again on the off chance that they might renew our friendship, but all four of my letters came back, marked "return to sender". I was back home, alone, lonely, friendless. As I remain today. But with an "e".


Yuko Shimizu's illustration on the cover of the New York Times Book Review

Yuko Shimizu:

Yuko Shimizu explains the process by which she illustrated the review of Haruki Murakami’s novel on the cover of the New York Times Book Review:



The Jam - "Thick as Thieves"


Turtles - "Happy Together"


Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (featuring Flo & Eddie) (Live at the Fillmore in 1971) - "Happy Together"



Altered Images - "I Could Be Happy"


The Who - "I'm Free" [from the rock opera "Tommy"]


The Who - "I'm Free" [Live]


Buffalo Tom - "Taillights Fade"


Elvis Presley - "Don't Be Cruel"


Elvis Presley - "Viva Las Vegas"


Antonio Carlos Jobim - "Wave"


Antonio Carlos Jobim meets Herbie Hancock - "Wave"


Piano for three hands in two minds

Thelonious Monk - "'Round Midnight" [Solo Live in 1969]


Thelonious Monk - "'Round Midnight" [Group Version in 1958]


Thelonious Monk - "'Round Midnight" [Group Version in 1947]


John Coltrane - "Blue Train" [Live in 1961]


Thanks to BirdBrian for letting me know that the Blue Train was coming into the station.

Robert Schumann - "Träumerei, "Kinderszenen" Nº 7 (Scenes from Childhood)" (Played by Vladimir Horowitz)


Franz Liszt - "Le mal du pays" (Played by Lazar Berman)


Franz Liszt - "Years of Pilgrimage" ("Années de pèlerinage")(Played by Lazar Berman)(Complete)


Franz Liszt - "Years of Pilgrimage" ("Années de pèlerinage")

Goethe, Liszt, Murakami...

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
October 25, 2021
色彩を持たない多崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年 [Shikisai o motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, kare no junrei no toshi] = Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the thirteenth[n novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Published on 12 April 2013 in Japan, it sold one million copies in one month.

Tsukuru Tazaki is a 36-year-old man whose defining features are his love of train stations and the fact his four best friends all ceased to speak to him during his second year at university: "Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, Tsukuru had fallen into the bowels of death, one untold day after another, lost in a dark, stagnant void."

He now lives in Tokyo and has started seeing a new girlfriend, Sara Kimoto, who works at a travel agency. As he explains to her over dinner, back in Nagoya his high-school friends were called Ao, Aka, Shiro, and Kuro (Japanese for: Mr. Blue, Mr. Red, Ms. White, and Ms. Black), nicknamed after a color in their surname, unlike his "colorless" one.

They used to do everything together like the five digits of a hand, until that single phone call one day, when they "announced that they did not want to see him, or talk with him, ever again. It was a sudden, decisive declaration, with no room for compromise. They gave no explanation, not a word, for this harsh pronouncement. And Tsukuru didn't dare ask."

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و سال‌های زیارتش»؛ «سوکورو تازاکی بی رنگ و سال های سفر معنوی اش»؛ نویسنده هاروکی موراکامی؛ انتشاراتیها (نشر چشمه، نشر میانه، کوله پشتی، نشر قطره، نشر نیکا»، تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و دوم ماه آگوست سال2015میلادی

عنوان: سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و سال‌های زیارتش؛ نویسنده هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم امیرمهدی حقیقت؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، سال1393، در302ص؛ شماره شابک9786002294340؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپن - سده 21م

عنوان: سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و سال‌های زیارتش؛ نویسنده هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم میثم فرجی؛ تهران، نشر میانه، سال1393، در312ص؛ شماره شابک9786009481606؛

عنوان: سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و سال‌های زیارتش؛ هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم مارال زال زر؛ تهران، کوله پشتی، سال1393، در298ص؛ شماره شابک9786007642016؛

عنوان: سوکورو تازاکی بی رنگ و سال های سفر معنوی اش؛ نویسنده هاروکی موراکامی، مترجم مونا حسینی؛ تهران، قطره، سال1394؛ در324ص؛ شابک9786001198250؛

عنوان: سوکورو تازاکی بی رنگ و سال های سفر معنوی اش؛ نویسنده هاروکی موراکامی، مترجم مهدی غبرائی (غبرایی)؛ تهران، نشر نیکا، سال1394؛ در304ص؛ شابک9786007567128؛

سال‌های زیارت؛ عنوان قطعه پیانویی کوتاه، از «فرانتس لیست»، آهنگساز و نوازنده ی مجارستانی است؛ رمان حکایت سفر درونی جوانی است، که چهار دوست صمیمیش، رشته‌ ی دوستی خود را با او بریده‌ اند؛ داستان درباره ی مرگ و تنهایی در عصر مدرن است؛ شخصیت اصلی کتاب سوکورو تازاکی نام دارد؛ در سال 1995میلادی، دوستان نزدیک «سوکورو»، که هم‌کلاسی‌های دبیرستانیش بودند، ناگهان بدون هیچ توضیحی، تماس خود را با او بریده‌ اند، و این رخداد بر روحیه ی «سوکورو»، تاثیر بسیار بر جای بگذاشته است؛ شانزده سال پس از آن رخداد، در سال 2011میلادی، «سوکورو» به پیشنهاد دوست‌ دخترش، برای آگاهی و دانستن ماجرا، دوباره با دوستان پیشین خویش دیدار می‌کند.؛ و ...؛

نقل از متن: (تو زندگی بعضی چیزها اونقدر پیچیده هستند، که گفتنشون به هر زبونی سخته.؛ سوکورو جرعه ‌ای از نوشیدنی را فرو داد، و به این فکر کرد که حق با «اُلگا»ست؛ نه فقط برای توضیح دادن به دیگران، بلکه برای خودت هم نمی‌توانی توضیح دهی.؛ سعی می‌کنی توضیح بدهی، و دست آخر یک مشت دروغ تحویل بقیه می‌دهی.؛ به ‌هرحال، او می‌دانست احتمالا فردا، متوجه خیلی چیزها خواهد شد.؛ باید صبر می‌کرد.؛ اگر هم چیزی دستگیرش نمی‌شد، باز اشکالی نداشت.؛ کا��ی از دستش برنمی‌آمد.؛ «سوکورو تازاکی» بی‌رنگ، به زندگی بی‌رنگ خود ادامه می‌داد.؛ بدون آزار رساندن به کسی.؛)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 02/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews867 followers
February 22, 2021
“No matter how honestly you open up to someone, there are still things you cannot reveal.”

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage - InDaily

Tsukuru Tazaki’s life looks like it’s going well, but he’s emotionally stuck. He’s located the place in the past where this has happened, a time when close friends inexplicably banish him from their group, but 16 years later he still doesn’t know why. What follows is a compelling idiosyncratic odyssey in search of answers and identity. Murakami’s novel is a meditation on moving forward and coming to terms with a past which will always be outside our reach, always incomprehensible. I look forward to reading more Haruki Murakami. 4.25 stars

“One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,084 reviews7,003 followers
May 26, 2023
I'll call our main character TT, after his name in the title. TT has a wonderful group of high school friends, three boys and two girls, who form a clique in which they are a world unto themselves. They are indeed a pentagram of best friends forever. The group does everything together and they deliberately avoid any romantic attachments to each other, knowing that this will break up their group.



TT is the only guy who leaves their hometown of Nagoya and goes off to college in Tokyo. But he returns in the summers and on holidays and the friendship continues. Then one time when he comes home for the holidays none of the other four will return his calls. Finally he gets one of them to call him back and the young man says, in effect, ‘We don't want anything more to do with you. Stop calling us. You know what you did.' CLICK.

TT is devastated. He has no idea what he did. His life remains ‘colorless’ – an old joke among the five-some that he was the only one who didn’t have a Japanese name that had some reference to a color in it.

To an extent, TT is indeed a bit colorless. He has a bit of that (incorrect) stereotype about engineers that he’s a math guy and lacks social graces. His conversation certainly is colorless. He’s slow on repartee. The other person always makes the witty remark and TT thinks an hour later or a day later of what he could have said to keep the conversation going. “He thought he should say something, but no words came.”

TT’s idea of a good time is sitting in a railroad station watching the trains come and go. He has a good job but we won’t see TT anytime soon on a list of top 100 hot Tokyo bachelors.


Fast forward 16 years. TT is falling in love with a woman. She’s interested in something long-term too but she recognizes that he’s ‘not there’ when they make love. Something’s bugging him, so he tells her his story of the five friends.

She insists that he has to go see all of them and find out what happened. TT doesn’t even know where they are. She’s a social media whiz (TT of course knows nothing about Facebook, etc.) so she tracks them down. TT goes off to visit all of them, including one who now lives in Finland. And we get shocked as much as TT does by the various things he finds out.

The tension in the last third of the book is: will this cure TT of his malaise? And if it does will the woman now commit to the relationship?

In this process we see how people change when you haven’t seen them for 16 years. Some of the four look and act just like they did years ago; others seem to have had a change not only in appearance but in personality. This range of change seems very true to me from my experiences in meeting people again years later.

The author is known for mixing into his stories fantasy and magical realism. We do get that a bit in a couple of stories-within-the-story. Tales told by fathers of friends about passing dead people in the fog and ‘death tokens’ that you can pass on to someone else. But TT’s story is mostly devoid of fantasy except in his dreams.

One other thing: music. The author tells us a lot about classical Western music; not just symphonies and composers but even about which artist's or orchestra’s performance of a piece he prefers. So I added this book to my music shelf.

I liked the story and the writing, although it was straightforward writing, not too literary or special in any way. I liked TT, the main character - he grew on me. I empathized with him, but I thought it was a bit of a stretch that TT could go for 16 years without trying to find out what it was that made his friends turn against him. So that knocked it down a notch in realism for me.


Colorless TT is Murakami’s fifth most popular book by ratings and reviews on GR. First is Norwegian Wood, then Kafka, Wind-Up Bird and 1Q84. It’s a bit lower-rated than the others, but still high - a 3.9 compared to 4.0 or 4.1 for the ratings of the others.

Top photo of Nagoya street scene from youtube.com
Tokyo subway map from bento.com
The author (1949-) from andersen-award.org

[Edited 4/27/23]
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
750 reviews2,899 followers
May 16, 2023
تسوكورو تازاكي عديم اللون وسنوات حجه ..الكتاب الذي قرأت نصفه منذ سنة و وجدته مؤخرا كاملاً ومترجم لأعيد قراءته مرة أخري بحماس شديد عشان أخيراً حقرأ رواية طويلة لموراكامي بعد الإنتهاء من قراءة معظم أعماله..

بداية كدة،ما معني هذا العنوان الغريب؟
تسوكورو تازاكي هو اسم بطل الرواية .. عديم اللون تأتي كونه كان ضمن مجموعة من الأصدقاء كل معاني أسماءهم فيها ألوان باستثناء اسمه هو ...أما سنوات حجه فهي مقطوعة موسيقية كان يستمع إليها كثيراً في الرواية..

الرواية بتتكلم عن مجموعة من الأصدقاء كانوا مقربين جداً من بعض وفجأة بدون أي أسباب واضحة قرروا قطع علاقتهم مع تسوكورو مما أثر عليه تأثير قوي لدرجة إنه كان يفكر في الإنتحار..
بعد مرور أكثر من ١٦ عاماً علي هذه القطيعة ومحاولاته المستمرة للعيش بصورة طبيعية ،أدرك في النهاية إنه لا يستطيع تجاوز مقاطعة أصدقاءه له بهذا الشكل وقرر أن يبحث عنهم ليفهم منهم حقيقة ما حدث...

إسلوب السرد كان ممتع ...شخصية تسوكورو كانت مرسومة بعناية وجاءت الأحداث في هذه الرواية عادية و ليست غرائبية أو مجنونة كعادة موراكامي..
ولكن..يوجد شئ ما ينقص هذا الكاتب ..تفاصيل مش موجودة ...أحداث مش مفهومة أوي..النهاية كمان مش أحسن حاجة بجانب إني حسيت إن الترجمة غير موفقة في أحياناً كثيرة..

بس كل دة مش مهم..دي شكليات مش حنهتم بيها:)
المهم هنا إن مازال قلم هذا الرجل ممتع لأقصي درجة..مشوق و بيخليك تعيش معاه جوة الرواية أثناء القراءة وبيخليك كمان تفكر فيها وإنت مش بتقراها..
مش أول مرة يا موراكامي تخطفني و متأكدة إنها مش حتكون أخر مرة 😍وياريت كتاب جديد بقي عشان شكلنا كدة حنقعد نعيد في القديم:)
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,688 followers
December 11, 2018
“You can hide memories, but you can't erase the history that produced them.”
― Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki


A slow soak in a bath of music, color, friends, loneliness, philosophy, creation and death. Murakami is a genius at writing with emotions swirling beneath the text. He gets the importance of the notes AND the silence of prose; of the unsaid, dreamy place that is both recognized and strange.

This isn't his most exciting work, but it is clearly not a throw-away either. It brings all the usual suspects to the Murakami table. Murakami writes best when he makes the reader feel like they are just near the surface of wakefulness. He bends the reader into a zone where it feels like a strange contractive tendency of the surface between sleep and wakefulness between musical, lucid dreams and surreal, philosophical nightmares.

It feels like you are balancing blind on the edge of a train platform; you feel the sound of the train and feel the compression of his words, but don't know if the Murakami train is going to hit you from the left or the right.
Profile Image for Matt Quann.
628 reviews382 followers
October 3, 2016
Haruki Murakami and I are breaking up, and it’s him, not me.

I was at first enchanted by 1Q84’s mystery, unique, easy-to-read style and peculiar dialogue. I was less impressed by my second dip into the Murakami pool in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, though I realize a lot of people love that novel. So, this was it, Murakami’s last chance. Would he wow me with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, or leave me out in the cold.

Dear reader, the star-rating is at the top, so you already know what I thought of this steaming mess.

My problems with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are present here again in Colorless. Murakami’s simplistic language just seems uninspired, and the occasional odd word choice just seems like poor translation rather than a cool stylistic trick. Also, while I was swept away by the ethereal feel of 1Q84 (really, I’d read nothing like it before), it just seems that Murakami likes all of his writing to be filled with oppressive vagueness. In Colorless, Murakami populates the story with dialogue that feel flippant, passages that are extraneous under the guise of profundity, and some of the worst literary device use the world has ever seen.

But you don’t believe me? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

”The original purpose, like I said, was to help out at an after school program. This was where we all met and we all felt strongly about it—it remained an important collective goal. But as time passed, simply becoming a community ourselves became a goal too.”
“You mean maintaining the group itself, and keeping it going, became one of your aims?”
“I guess so.”
Sara narrowed her eyes in a tight line. “Just like the universe.”

Me once I realized that 362 pages of this type of mess were to follow.

JUST LIKE THE UNIVERSE? That has to be the weakest attempt at a serious thought I’ve read in a long time. I can’t think of anything that would fit so well with just about ANY OTHER CONCEPT as the universe. It is, as they say, universal.

But you don’t believe me? Don’t worry, I’ve written my own version of the passage.

”I had a particularly malodorous bowel movement the other day. Once I had finished with my regular habits, I flushed the offensive matter down the drain. But as time passed, the scent continued to linger.”
“You mean maintaining the smell, became the aim of the feces?”
“I guess so.”
Sara narrowed her eyes in a tight line. “Just like the universe.”

Ah, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, Low blow, Matthew. Toilet humor to try and get your point across? Have some decency. But that’s another of my axes to grind with Murakami, he writes passages that are just straight up gross. I mean, do you really want to read a book that uses “copious semen” multiple times in a single chapter? Do you enjoy the rape-y ghost erotica that Murakami writes? I for one, have expended my tolerance for the subject in Murakami’s hands after initially processing 1Q84’s sexual deviance as a novel type of story. Instead, this is seemingly Murakami’s modus operandi.

I can’t say that any other book has had the ability to travel back in time and make me question what I ever had enjoyed in the author’s work to begin with. In that respect, I suppose he has impressed me. Was he always painting this ill-defined subject? Am I able to appreciate 1Q84’s nebulous ending now that I know that this is just what Murakami seems to do with all of his stories? The answer is mixed. A bit of a yes and a no. My enjoyment of 1Q84 when I first read it is not robbed by Colorless’s mediocrity, it just spoils my view of his writing.

Oh yeah! How about that story? Tsukuru Tazaki’s four friends abandoned him without an explanation 16 years ago. Since then, he’s been down in the dumps and has never quite recovered from this desertion, but boy, does Tsukuru ever like the subway! So, he meets a new woman who suggests that Tsukuru has some unresolved feelings about his past, and he needs to reconcile them in order to move forward with their relationship.

So, a slightly compelling premise: why did his friends cut ties with him? SPOILERS: it doesn’t matter, because they all decide in the end that they couldn’t have believed what he was accused of if they’d really thought about it, so, SORRY FOR BEING DICKS, TSUKURU, PEACE OUT. It is a pain to get through, and I felt the character underwent no development, the words he and others spoke were empty, and that

Murakami, I can only assume, plotting to rob my weekend of a good read

I’m sure a lot of readers out there are going to tell me I missed the point, or I don’t understand the culture, or that my review has been unnecessarily angry. You know, that’s a fair point. Maybe I did miss the point, or there’s some deeper meaning here that flies over my head because of a lack of cultural understanding.

But, here’s the thing: there’s so many great books out there and I foolishly took my weekend to read this novel. I have a stack of 20+ novels that I’ve been waiting to get into, and instead I spent my time reading this book. This book that offered me no reward for my time spent, and instead penalized me for picking it up. True, I could have just abandoned the book at its outset, but that’s just not my style.

A single positive thing I have to say about the book: the cover and binding on this North American hardcover edition is quite beautiful. A stylized subway map of Japan overlaid with stripes of colour, wrapped in a semi-translucent dust-jacket. The feel of the hardcover binding is obviously high quality and has a fantastically smooth feeling in your hands. So, props to Bond Street Books for nailing this design: it really makes for a pretty book.

But, truly, you’d be remiss to think that this book’s cover makes up for the suffering I experience between its pages. I recommend a hard pass.
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
April 25, 2020
Depressing Haruki Murakami facsimile of the most amateurish kind--yet it is an authentic Murakami no doubt. It's evocative, transcendent, but solely in a topically-curt, almost embarrassingly-superficial way. The easy prose by now has entered a very comical dimension.

This is farce. It is all simplicity, nuance; it's all pretty... empty. LAAAME

Is this (the beginning of) the downfall of our very beloved Japanese contemporary literary master?
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,184 followers
April 3, 2021
"“I have no sense of self. I have no personality, no brilliant color. I have nothing to offer. That’s always been my problem. I feel like an empty vessel. I have a shape, I guess, as a container, but there’s nothing inside."

This is the most heart-wrenching of Murakami's books, at least of the ones I've read. Wow. I wasn't expecting that. 

This is the story of Tsukuru Tazaki. As a teen, he belonged to a close-knit group of friends all of whom had a color for a name. Tsukuru alone does not have a color; his name means to build, to create. But it doesn't matter, as long as he is within this group, surrounded by his friends, he does not lack color. His life has meaning and depth.

After he moves to Tokyo for university, his friends stop speaking to him. Tsukuru feels as though his life is now without color, without context. His adult life is shaped by the loss of his colorful friends. He is an empty shell, bereft. 

Did I say this was heart-wrenching? If books made me cry, this would have been a full-box-of-Kleenex read. The writing is exquisite and emotional and intense. I was submerged and didn't want to come up for air. 

It's typical Murakami in that there were dreams that might not be dreams and reality is slightly blurred. There were fingers in jars and a man who was given the gift of seeing auras in exchange for an early death. 

Did these have anything to do with the story or were they just filler? It doesn't matter. This is Murakami and you just gotta accept that some things you might never understand. Maybe there's a meaning and someday you'll get it. Maybe there's a meaning and you'll never get it. Maybe there's no meaning at all.

With any other author that would drive me crazy. With Murakami, it's just part of the ride. 
Profile Image for Gypsy.
399 reviews508 followers
January 13, 2019
خورد توی ذوقم!

بابا من کارهای موراکامی رو دوست دارم. ولی تکلیفش با خودش مشخص نیست. توی کافکا در کرانه دیوانه‌ت می‌کنه و اینجا با چیزهای دم‌دستی و عامه‌پسند و زرد! به‌معنای واقعی کلمه طرف می‌شی. البته قرار نیست موراکامی یا هر نویسندۀ خوب دیگه‌ای هرچی می‌نویسه شاهکار باشه خب. برای یه نویسندۀ درجه‌یک هم داستان‌هاش سطح‌بندی دارن به‌نظرم. بعضی نویسنده‌ها فقط یک کارشون شاهکاره. بعضیا دو سه تا. بقیه کارها متوسطن.

خیلی‌ها موراکامی رو دوست ندارن؛ به‌خصوص اگه با داستان‌کوتاهاش شروع کرده باشن. من خیلی‌ها رو می‌شناسم می‌گن عه اینکه چیزی نداشت! اینکه داستان نبود! اینم که من می‌تونم بنویسم! خیلی‌ها عقیده دارن موراکامی با دو سه تا کارش معروف شد و بعد کارهای دیگه‌ش زیر سایۀ اونا بودن. اینا همه درسته، همون‌طور که یکی هم می‌تونه بگه نه من هرچی از موراکامی می‌خونم دوست دارم. همین هفتۀ پیش توی یه جمعی بودم که یکی از اعضا وقتی دید دارم این کتابو می‌خونم، گفت آقامون موراکامی هرچی بنویسه خوبه! سلیقه‌ست به‌هرحال.

من موراکامی رو دوست دارم، چیزهایی که از آدما می‌بینه و نحوۀ معرفی و پرداخت و روانکاوی‌شون رو خیلی خیلی دوست دارم، به‌طرز حسادت‌برانگیزی دوست دارم. ولی سوکورو تازاکی برام یه کار زرد و عامه‌پسند بود. منتها خب زرد و عامه‌پسندی که موراکامی بنویسه هم مثل باقی کارهای هم‌ردیفش نیست. منسجمه، چفت‌وبست داره، هرچند که پایانش خیلی ایرانی بود. بابا من اصلاً پایانشو دوست نداشتم. یه سری ابهامات باقی مونده‌ن، شخصیت اول با حدس و گمانه‌زنی ماجرای شیرو رو برا خودش تموم کرد که خب این اصلاً برام پذیرفتنی نیست؛ انگار به یه درماندگی رسیده بود. به یه سری پاسخ‌ها رسید و بقیه رو گفت خب ولش کن. درنهایت هم که فهمید وای باید سروسامون بگیرم و نذارم سارا از دستم بره. آه من دوستت دارم و می‌خوامت و {اینجا سارا} بم وقت بده فکر کنم بین تو و طرف کی رو انتخاب کنم!

با ورود یه رقیب عشقی هم برا سارا دیگه پذیرفتم رگِ شرقیِ موراکامی غلبه کرد بهش. توی کل داستان هیچ نشونه‌ای نمی‌ده، بعد تهش می‌فهمه سارا یه نفر دیگه رو هم توی زندگیش داره. بعدم فضا خیلی رمانتیک تموم می‌شه. خدایی؟ اگه می‌دونستم تهش اینطوری می‌شه شاید نمی‌خوندم حتی. البته می‌تونیمم بگیم اوایل داستان براش رابطه‌ش با سارا جدی نبوده که به این جزییات توجه نکرده. با سیری که طی
کرده، فهمیده دوستش داره و یه رابطۀ باری‌به‌هرجهت نیست و باید نگهش داره و اینا. این چیزیه که به‌نظرم نویسنده می‌خواسته نشون بده. سیر شخصیت رو. تأثیر سال‌های زیارتش رو.

نکته اینه که با یه شروع عالی و ملموس و درگیرکننده پیش می‌ره و بعد چنان افت می‌کنه که دیگه نمی‌خوام بدونم سر شیرو چی اومده و تهش چی می‌شه. حتی دلم نمی‌خواست تمومش کنم. سی صفحه‌ش یک روز مونده بود و بارها با خودم این ور اون ورش بردم ولی ذره‌ذره می‌خوندمش. نمی‌خواستم باور کنم داره تموم می‌شه. نه نباید این‌قد آبکی باشه. موراکامیِ بد. :(

می‌خواستم بگم توی صد و پنجاه صفحه نهایت دویست صفحه می‌تونست جمعش کنه ولی الان یه نگاه به عنوان کتاب انداختم و گفتم نه، خیلی این اسم برازنده‌ست. بهتره بیشتر ازینا باشه. همین‌قدری که هست.

+ نمرۀ واقعی دو و نیم. الانم بین سه و دو مونده‌م. دو کم به‌نظر میاد ولی به‌قول گودریدز، ایت واز اوکی واقعاً.
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
685 reviews3,641 followers
March 15, 2017
As a fan of Haruki Murakami's, this book thrilled me! That's because this novel combines an intriguing and puzzling plot with a beautiful and simple way of looking at life. I was fascinated with the protagonist's way of thinking and dealing reasonably with life, and furthermore it was a pleasure to once again read a story set in Japan because it inevitably intertwines with Japanese culture.
Regrettably, this book didn't come with a lot of magical realism which is, however, a common trait of Murakami's. I didn't miss any, though, because the story worked so well on its own, and I think that if you kind of like Murakami but don't agree with magical realism, this would be just the book for you.
A story about loss, a story about identity and a story about finding the answers to your questions and fill out the holes inside of you. This was magnificent, and needless to say I flew through it in less than a day.
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
August 29, 2014
My 13th Murakami book. I am torn between 2 and 3 stars but since there are no talking cats, flying leeches or Colonel Sanders in this book, I am giving this a 3. I liked this book. I mean, I loved "Wind-Up Bird" but it was one of my first Murakami books, I was a lot younger then and I still did not know that Murakami recycles the same ingredients when he cooks.

This book is almost like a rehash of "Norwegian Wood." Tsukuru Tazaki in this book is 36 and Toru Watanabe in Norwegian is 37 and they look back to the events that happen in their past particularly during their adolescent period. Both gentlemen had friends during that time and what happened with them affected their mental framework that they now have to sort things out and they probably just need to go to the shrink, lie down on the couch and pour out what's in the minds. It would save them a lot as Tazari would not need to Finland to hunt Kuro who says that she now prefers to be called Eri and I hate people doing that. If you are Kuro to me when we were younger, you will always be Kuro even if you are old as the name brings back our memories and they better be happy because if not, then I will probably not talk or even see you anymore.

What I am trying to say is that the characters in this book are self-absorbed. Tsukuru says that he is colorless because his name has not word that denotes color in Japanese (ehem, my surname is Oliveros and I know that olive is a color) and he has nothing to give and he has nowhere to go. Then later in the story, when, after 16 years, his friends tell him that he is the most handsome and in fact probably 3 (2 girls and 1 gay) of the four had hots on him. He is also the son of a wealthy businessman who owns a condo unit in Tokyo and he has nothing to give? Oh come on, in the Philippines, we call this person maarte or emotero.

The saving grace of this book though, it is ability to make you look back at your past especially those that influence your personality: those events that made you who you are now. Last month, my first girlfriend died of heart attack. She was still single at 51. I was told that she did not have a boyfriend other than me and in fact we did not have a formal breakup. We were in that island (my hometown) in the Pacific and we were in third year high school (15/16 years old) when we fell in love with each other and our relationship stayed up to the following year. However, her family had no money to send her to college. So, when I left to go to the city, I did not say goodbye thinking that we would still be communicating. But things just got to busy for me in college: no time to write letters because I had to help running the boarding house of my grandmother when I was not in school or sleeping or studying my lessons. No money even for stamps as my parents had tuition and food money but not for anything else including sometimes, decent clothes. So, our relationship just fizzled like that and no time or effort to have a closure. We just did not chase each other. I was busy and fell in love with a couple of other girls before marrying my wife ten years after the last time I left the island.

What I am trying to say here is that I felt pain when I heard the news that morning. The pain of losing a part of me. I loved her when I was 15 till 16 years old but still she was part of who I am now. As the book says something like: "You can forget about the past but you cannot erase the history of it." (I tried looking for the exact words as I forgot to dogear the page haha).

Not the best Murakami. I'd still go for "Kafka on the Shore" or "After Dark" or "Wind Up Bird." Those all got 4 stars from me. But this brought back Murakami for me. I liked the book that I could not put it down while reading but in the final analysis the three other books are a lot better.
Profile Image for Lea.
441 reviews78 followers
November 4, 2014
My first Murakami, and probably my last.

After all the raves for Murakami, I expected this to blow me away.

Even as I found my enthusiasm waning, I still thought there would come a point where the author would pull all the pieces together and I would have this sudden a-ha moment -- I was really looking forward to that.

Even when I reached the point of literally forcing myself to continue -- come on, you can do it, only three more chapters! -- I STILL thought there would be SOMETHING to make the whole endeavor worthwhile . . .


I'm actually left wondering if Murakami is more akin to "The Emperor's New Clothes", where everyone says how deep and amazing he is in order to hide the fact that they really don't get what all the fuss is about either.

There was absolutely nothing I liked about this book -- the plot was dry, so so dry, and the characters not even remotely likable. What I assume is some kind of symbolism -- the swimming, the piano piece, the never ending discussions about railway stations -- just never add up to anything.

Except boredom. And let me tell you, I am NEVER bored. I'm one of those people who doesn't even understand the concept of boredom -- much to the dismay of my children -- yet this book completely broke me.

If I could give this less than one star, I absolutely would.

DO NOT recommend.
Profile Image for Chia.
41 reviews72 followers
September 6, 2018
می شود روی خاطره ها سرپوش گذاشت ولی تاریخ را نمی شود قایم کرد
سوکورو تازاکی یک آدم فوق العاده رنگ دار است

سوکورو در طول رمان و اتفاقاتش به خودشناسی می‌رسه
سوکورو تازاکی بی رنگ و سال های زیارتش بر خلاف کافکا در کرانه آنچنان جادویی و سوررئال نیست
خط روایی داستان ساده و خطی است با فلش بک هایی به گذشته که به تدریج به زمان حال می رسه
چیزی که بیش‌تر از هر چیزی برام لذت بخشه هنگام خوندن موراکامی، حضور موسیقی کلاسیک در کاراش هست
در کل از خوندنش پشیمون نیستم و از شنیدن قطعه ی “له مل دو پی” لذت بردم و خوشحالم که با فرانتس لیست بیش‌تر آشنا شدم
Profile Image for Maria.
35 reviews215 followers
September 5, 2014
“You can hide memories, but you can't erase the history that produced them.”

This is barely my second Murakami reading. Having "Kafka on the Shore" in my mind, read just a couple of months ago, I thought I would also find that bizarre, transcendental and almost phantasmagorical similar experience. "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" is written under a complete different ambiance, yet it possesses certain Murakami essentials I begin to recognize in his style and probably every other Murakami fan is already completely familiar with: The jazz, the symbolic dreams, the sexual fantasies, those metaphysical experiences, a voyage to the subconscious mind of the character.

Tsukuru Tasaki (whose name means "To build") belongs to a symbiotic group of five friends. Each one of their names represent a color as well as each one possess a certain quality or talent except Tsukuru, at least that's how he constantly feels. After a sudden and unexpected event, Tsukuru is simply cut down from this quintessential group. Deeply affected by this and without receiving or asking for an explanation he decides to leave to Tokyo, where he becomes an engineer and works for a company that builds train stations. Tsukuru does not only leaves Nagoya to try to overcome this dark episode of his life, he also becomes unavailable to make new friends out of fear of experiencing rejection again in his life.

"Because I have no sense of self. I have no personality, no brilliant color. I have nothing to offer. That's always been my problem. I feel like an empty vessel. I have a shape, I guess, as a container, but there's nothing inside...."

Have you ever had that feeling, of not belonging? No matter how hard you try, you're just not made to fit like the rest of your group. Are YOU just as colorless as the main character of this story? If you have ever had those feelings then you'll probably understand Tsukuru emotional struggle. This story appears as a simple one but is not at all, the brilliance of this books relies not in a complex plot or an elaborated use of language, but more in giving the reader the ability to experience the solitude, the loneliness of the character. For me, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" more than a reading was like enjoying a soft melody, not over-thinking or analyzing it, just relaxing and letting myself experience Tsukuru's mixture of feelings and thoughts. The book is exactly like the piano musical piece that Murakami offers us in this occasion: "Years of Pilgrimage", the narrative follows a very relaxing and smooth flow of lyricism that simply captivates you.

"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" is not only about loneliness, a depressive story behind this young man, is also about friendship. In the middle of such emptiness, Tsukuru finds Sara, that unique friend we are fortunate to find in our lives that help us confront our fears, our pains and become a wonderful guide, someone who holds our hand through a long journey to rediscover ourselves and give us a second chance to perhaps love once again.

"It was a wonderful thing to be able to truly want someone like this-- the feeling was so real, so overpowering. He hadn't felt this way in ages. Maybe he never had before. Not that everything about it was wonderful: his chest ached, he found it hard to breathe, and a fear, a dark oscillation, had hold of him. But now even that kind of ache had become an important part of the affection he felt. He didn't want to let that feeling slip from his grasp. Once lost, he might never happen across that warmth again. If he had to lose it, he would rather lose himself."

Do you have someone in your life, from your past, you need to confront, to forgive and maybe let go a heavy burden you've been carrying all along during your entire life?

I do.

Maybe I don't know what color would I represent in this world of Murakami, but what I do know, is that life consists of a continuous search of dreams, experiences, and those daily details that make our ephemeral life full of brilliant colors.

"Don't let the bad elves get you!"

To listen "Le mal du pays" by Lazar Berman --> http://youtu.be/FDWUvc5wv7U
Profile Image for Parastoo Khalili.
158 reviews330 followers
May 17, 2020
خب باز هم سلام!
من از موراکامی فقط ۲تا کتاب از داستان های کوتاهش رو خونده بودم و این کتاب اولین داستان کامل بود!
برای کسایی که کتاب رو نخوندن بگم که این کتاب پایان باز داره :) من زیاد با داستان هایی که پایان باز دارن حال نمی‌کنم و شاید اگه می‌دونستم سمتش نمی‌رفتم.

خلاصه ی کوتاهی درباره ی ماجرای کتاب:
ماجرا درباره ی سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و دوستان رنگ‌و وارنگش بود.
راوی کتاب از دوران دبیرستان سوکورو شروع به تعریف زندگی سوکورو میکنه و اینکه چی‌شد وقتی به سنی رسید می‌خواست خودش رو بکشه!!

نظر من درباره ی این کتاب:
خب این کتاب مجبورم کرد به شلف های گودریدز یه شلف جدید اضافه کنم به نام «داستان های عجیب غریب»!
این داستان واقعا عجیب بود!!!
یه متنی توی کتاب بود که می‌گفت: “انگار شب روی عرشه ی کشتی باشم و یکهو پرتاب شدم وسط اقاینوس. تنهای تنها.”
راستش من هم وقتی خوندن رو شروع کردم همین حس فرق شدن و تنهایی عجیب غریب رو داشتم.
خیلی عجیب بود و من هنوز حس گنگی به داستان این کتاب دارم:|

حس گنگ اول بخاطر پایان باز کتاب!

حس گنگ دوم بخاطر دوست های رنگی تازاکی.
چرا بعد از اینکه تصمیم گرفتن همچین کاری با تازاکی بکنن، تازاکی همچین واکنشی نشون داد؟
چرا اون موضوع ناراحتش کرد؟چرا؟ ینی در این حد دوستی براش مهم بود؟
همه ی انسان ها توی زندگی‌هاشون، افرادی که براشون مهم بود رو ازدست دادن ولی خیلی ها اینقدر تحت تاثیر قرار نگرفتن!
چرا تازاکی انقدر تحت تاثیر قرار گرفت؟ تازه تازاکی هم خیلی با دوستانش صمیمی نبود. توی داستان جایی نبود که راوی بگه، تازاکی همچین رازی رو با فلانی درمیون گذاشت. یا می‌خواست فلان کار رو کنه از یکی از دوستاش نظر خواست!!!! حتی وقتی که دبیرستانش تموم شد، دوستاش تازه فهمیده بودن که تازاکی به کدوم دانشگاه درخواست داده!!!

حس گنگ سوم:
یه شخصیت عجیب بی‌رنگ!
یه زن قشنگ که سفر زیاد میکنه!
چرا برای همچین شخصی گذشته ی تازاکی مهم بود؟ چرا اون رو وادار کرد با دوستاش حرف بزنه؟ چرا تازاکی بهش نگفت به‌توچه؟:|

حس گنگ چهارم:
بازهم دوستای رنگی‌رنگی تازاکی!
اولاً راوی داستان تازاکی نبود، پس چرا هروقت می‌خواست از دوستای تازاکی حرف بزنه همش از خوبیاشون میگفت؟
مثلا فلانی ورزشکاره، فلانی پ��انیسته، فلانی درس‌خونه، فلانی مهربونه. ولی وقتی به خودش می‌رسید شروع میکرد به نالیدن؛ که آی من زشتم، من ساکتم، من حرفی ندارم برای گفتن، من هیچ استعدادی ندارم، من بی‌رنگم و از این حرفا!!!!!!
و اینکه همه ی دوست‌های رنگی‌رنگی تازاکی بعذ از دبیرستان تغیر اساسی کردن و از اون شخصیت های خوب و دوست داشتنی‌شون زمین تا آسمون فاصله گرفته بودن!
جوری که صددرصد تازاکی هم نمی‌خواست بعد از مدت‌ها دیگه ببیندشون:)

حس گنگ چهارم:
وقتی بهش فکر میکنم مغزم جوابی نداره:|
و خیلی دارم سعی میکنم اسپویل نکنم:)
حس گنگ چهارم افتضاح من رو درگیر خودش کرده. شاید بعدا بتونم چیزی اضافه کنم ولی الان نه:(

این کتاب، داستان عجیبی داشت؛ نمیدونم الان چه حسی دارم، فک کنم بیشتر عصبی هستم بخاطر پایان باز کتاب، بخاطر زندگی بی‌رنگ سوکورو! تقریبا گنگ هم هستم بخاطر دوستای عجیب سوکورو. بخاطر عوض شدن یهوویی آدم ها. تازه هیجان زده هم هستم، چون این کتاب عجیب ترین داستانی داشت که من تاحالا خونده بودم!!

من نمیدونم از این کتاب خوشم اومد یا ازش متنفر شدم.
نمیدونم به هاروکی فحش بدم یا عاشقش باشم!
الان فقط یک «نمیدونم» گنده توی مغزم پیچ‌پیچ میخوره:)))

پ.ن:اولین ریویوی طولانی من. در تاریخ ۲۶اردی‌بهشت۹۹
Profile Image for Praveen.
231 reviews63 followers
January 12, 2015
My book with all decorations:

There are two divisions in people who read Haruki Murakami’s books.

First one being, those who are addicted to his universe; a different sphere of reality, where at a special time and place imagination had been set free. Once you are in, you never want to come to reality like a person who had his first gulp of his drink, feels a gust of wind swooping inside his skull and feels as if his brain is floating with a sparkling smile on the corner of his lips.

And latter one, the fans of Norwegian woods (no harm) at times they won’t be able to accept books like 1Q84.

This book is for everyone.

This is an invitation to Murakami’s own jazz bar The Peter Cat.

Complete Narration of this moves forward with Franz Liszt - Years of pilgrimage "Le mal du pays" Played by Lazar Berman (Really recommend to listen this piece of music before you start Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, if you are unfamiliar with this piece of music, it really creates the mood of this book like in Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) performed by The Beatles on the album Rubber Soul.)

This is books is really a huge collection of music records.

Beyond music we get everything we look forward in Murakami’s books ; death , life , darkness, loneliness etc but you don’t see “Parallel world” , “Cats” , “Sardin”, “Unicorn Skull”. But you see “Dreams”, “Weird Sex” and a little of

I don’t want to discuss much about the plot. It’s all about friendship and nostalgic memorise and journey to recover the lost friendship in Murakami’s universe. Masterstroke in all in Murakami’s books is the mysteries which keep the plot moving, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is no exception and it’s fast moving really an inverse to 1Q84.

Parallel world

There is no “Parallel world” in this book but still we can see a small door which is getting opening towards alternate reality (which is very much real), through the story narrated by Jr.Haida about Midorikawa “The Jazz Pianist” about the token of death and mysterious bag which kept of the top of piano.

Murder of one of the four friends and answer for who committed the murder. And Tsukuru Tazaki erotic dreams and dreams slipping outside to his consciousness. All are classic forms of Parallel world.

In most of the Murakami’s books there are “n” numbers of question which are left unanswered, here also we find the same thing but as always we all we have to end up with our own hypothesis (this is the most important aspect which i like about Murakami’s books) like the conversation between Sr. Haida with Midorikawa.

Even if a murder happens you should not expect answer for who committed it ...

As always there are loose ends.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage mainly discuss about life , rejection and hope to move forward. It’s simple. If there’s no station, no trains will stop there.

Life is long, and sometimes cruel. Sometimes victims are needed. Someone has to take on that role.

There are so many things which can be discussed about Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

For the time being I am concluding humming Elvis Presley - Girl Of My Best Friend , from the time I read about Elvis Presley- Don't be cruel in one of the final chapters I am humming Girl Of My Best Friend (My favourite).
Profile Image for Miss Ravi.
Author 1 book993 followers
February 14, 2016
در نبوغ ذاتی هاروکی موراکامی که نمی‌شود شک کرد اما قرار نیست همه‌ی کتاب‌هایش به یک اندازه عالی باشند، ممکن است یکی خیلی عالی باشد و یکی کم عالی باشد. راستش را بخواهید من سه بار کافکا در کرانه را خوانده‌ام و به‌تان قول می‌دهم در آینده اگر زنده باشم باز هم آن را بخوانم چون در خلال صفحاتش تجربه‌ی شخصی من و الگوهای نمادین کتاب پیوند زیبایی برقرار می‌کنند.

سوکورو تازاکی بی‌رنگ و سال‌های زیارتش با آستانه‌ای به شدت پرکشش شروع می‌شود اما بعد در دو سوم انتهایی چنان افت می‌کند که فرقی ندارد کدام جمله، جمله‌ی آخر کتاب باشد. درباره‌ی جزئیاتش تنها می‌خواهم به بهره‌گیری نویسنده از نماد رنگ‌ها در شخصیت‌پردازی اشاره کنم و این‌که لابد شیرو (به معنی سفید) واقعا تحمل تاریکی را نداشته _چه تاریکی خودش و چه تاریکیِ آمیخته با سوکورو را- که به چنان عاقبتی می‌رسد. ولی وقتی گره‌ی اصلی و محوری رمان باز می‌شود انرژی اندکی در داستان باقی می‌ماند تا خواننده را با خودش همراه کند.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,051 reviews577 followers
November 2, 2022
I love much of Murakami's work, but I confess I was somewhat disappointed with this one. I just don't think the story is particularly strong; it didn't really draw to any identifiable conclusion and just rather petered out at the end. Unusually for this writer, I failed to take anything significant from it.

On the positive side, even on a bad day I do like the rhythm of Murakami's stories. Often nothing much happens for long periods - some could argue that sometimes nothing happens at all - but there's always the promise of something weird and occasionally something wonderful.

This offering didn't produce either the weird or the wonderful but I did like the premise used of five people who are very close as students but who suddenly and inexplicably ostracise one member of the group. Many years later the excluded member, who has never asked why this happened, is persuaded to track to down his former friends and seek an explanation. So far so good, but the book never really lives up to the promise of the first half - yes, there is a shock revelation which explains his friends actions (well, to some degree at least) but beyond this point the story seems to lose momentum and, in my view, fails to achieve a conclusion that is either satisfying or even thought provoking.

There are always loose ends with Murakami so no surprise to find them here too, but I'm feeling that there was an opportunity lost - either that or it's all here and I'm just failed to 'get it'. Either way, for me this doesn't rank amongst his best work. But it's Murakami, and it's not impenetrable in the way I found Rat series to be, so has to be worth taking a look.
Profile Image for Melanie.
Author 6 books1,202 followers
September 5, 2014
Here's a review I'm not looking forward to write... So I will leave the preamble to Robert J. Wiersema’s thoughts in The National Post, which sadly echoed my sentiments exactly.

"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is a stirring novel of loss and conciliation, of unanswerable mysteries, fragile hope. There are passages of considerable beauty and insight, and moments of magic and a sense of the sublime which we have come to expect from Murakami. At its most basic level, it will satisfy most Murakami readers.

Unfortunately, it likely won’t do much more than satisfy; it’s a problematic novel, on a number of levels.

Crucially, it seems uncertain and tentative. Where Murakami is typically at ease in describing such things as talking cats and sheep-men, here he seems to falter with the very basics of human interaction. The dialogue is stilted and stagy (beyond even what can be explained away through the process of being translated from the Japanese), and the narrative shudders unevenly.

While its important that Tsukuru’s character be something of an empty vessel (his nickname comes from the fact that his four high school friends all had names which referred to colours and he did not; his colourlessness was an in-joke that became a character trait), Murakami takes it too far, and Tsukuru vacillates between extreme emotionalism and a complete lack of affect that is disconcerting and unconvincing.

Even the construction of the novel feels uncertain: There is so much recapping and summarizing (including in the final chapter), one might be forgiven for thinking that the novel was originally published in instalments, necessitating that sort of summary.

Make no mistake: Even a flawed Murakami novel is worth reading, and better than most of the other options on the shelf. One wishes, though, that it were better. Coming as it does in the wake of 1Q84, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage was always going to be a smaller Murakami novel. Unfortunately, it turns out it’s a minor novel, as well."

The reviewer put his fingers on all the elements that were missing for me in this novel that I was very much looking forward to reading, like the rest of the planet. The main character's complete lack of affect was its main undoing for me. I could not bring myself to care enough for his plight, when the entire novel's emotional foundation depends on the reader's empathy.

The explanations behind some of the puzzles at the heart of the story seemed random and forced, without any real basis or meaning. The entire novel felt like a long, erratic walk going nowhere, along which Murakami's usual suspects (a piece of classical music, a recurring dream, an unexplained obsession, etc) did not gather the momentum that they usually do. The lingering taste being one of blandness and aimlessness.

Some scenes towards the end were vivid and memorable but all in all I kept thinking about how much I missed the sanguinity, rawness and audacity of "1Q84".

Profile Image for Leslie Ray.
175 reviews95 followers
January 21, 2019
Quite a melancholy book that centers around Tsukuru Tazaki, whose name means "colorless". His pilgrimage is a journey to find out why he was abruptly rejected outright by his four closest friends from school. For anyone who has faced rejection, without knowing why and who questions their place in the scheme of things, this will be a journey for you too. When he finds out why, he will realize that it wasn't about him at all. When he finds that the world does not revolve around him and is able to forgive the un justness of it all, he is able to move forward in his relationships. I wish the book could have gone on as I did not want this one to end.
Profile Image for Katayoon.
129 reviews53 followers
April 10, 2022
چقددددددر فضایی رو که موراکامی در این کتاب خلق کرده، دوست داشتم. چقدر باعث شد به گذشته‌ام فکر کنم. به تمام اتفاقاتی که افتاده و در ظاهر فراموش شده، ولی در اعماق وجودم هنوز آتش زیر خاکستره... همیشه از رفتن به سراغ زخم‌هام واهمه دارم. شاید وقتشه زیر و رو کرد همه چیز رو
Profile Image for Michael.
1,094 reviews1,509 followers
February 18, 2015
Now several weeks after reading this, the man who seeks his color still sticks in my mind in a sad and sweet way. You have to relinquish your expectations based on what you may love in Murikami’s other writing, his wild rides of personal discovery with comic overlays of head-scratching mystery and magic realism. No cats or Colonel Sanders. Instead, we get a story of a man frozen in his development due to an abandonment by a special circle of friends from school. The persistent dwelling by Tazaki on his loss and his steps in his 30’s to unscrew its inscrutability of this emotional impasse has an overall flavor of reflective minimalism. Voila, a Japanese novel.

We start with Tazaki in the throes of contemplating suicide, with all color in his life drained away.
The reason why death had such a hold on Tsukuru Tazaki was clear. One day his four closest friends, te friends he’d known for a long time, annlounced that tey did not want to see him, ever again. It was a sudden, decisive declaration, not a word, for this harsh pronouncement. And Tsukuru didn’t dare ask.

He recounts what was so wonderful about his circle with four friends in high school in Nagoya, all involved with him in volunteer projects in the community. Each seems so special, so colorful in their personalities and capabilities, which strangely enough aligns with the fact that each has a color in their names. Tazaki has no such attribute of name or personality, but he feels wanted and believes he complements somehow the perfection of this group. He chooses to go away to Tokyo for college where he will study engineering and fulfill his ambition to build train stations and come home for holidays and summers to thrive in his group. But the sudden message to break off all contact throws him for a loop. He enters a path of solitude and dogged persistence over the next decade, avoiding returns to Nagoya as much as possible. Only when his relationships with women fail to come to fruitition does he get the gumption to demand answers. No relationship can ever achieve the spiritual love he felt for the two boys and girls of the circle he had.

A big challenge for the reader is why Tazaki didn’t push hard for answers early on. Can anyone be that meek? The only analogy I can think of is some of my own reactions to the sundering of divorce. My mind sought reasons tings fell apart, and the answers were elusive. Was there something illusory in the bonds from the beginning or did one of us change so much that their meanings changed too much? Or were the bonds good and true, but blundering mistakes stretched them too far to recover? The kind that makes you want to rewrite history and erase those mistakes?

Tazaki searches his soul for what might be missing in himself that makes him unloveable. At times his actions in his dreams about his friends makes him wonder if he did something awful that he has somehow forgotten. At times the dark erotic content of his dreams make us wonder if Tazaki has a screw loose somewhere and really did commit some egregious act. These uncertainties kept me quite engaged in the story. Why is Tazaki’s later effort to unravel the mystery likened to a pilgrimage? Accompanying us on the journey is a piece of Listz music, Le mal du pays, that one of the women in the circle used to play, a tune that translates roughly as “homesickness”. It makes for a wonderful overlay to the story.

The satisfaction I got from this novel resembles somewhat the pleasures of reading David Mitchell’s relatively conventional coming-of-age story “Black Swan Green.” It also resonates with the unreliable memories of past transgressions in Julian Barnes “A Sense of an Ending” and to some extent the long impact of calumny in Ian McEwan’s “Atonement.” The book impels me to try to find my color now before it’s too late.
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