K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
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bookshelves: drama, japanese, sad, philosophical
Recommended to K.D. by: Emir Never

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.
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Reading Progress

August 21, 2014 – Started Reading
August 21, 2014 – Shelved
August 21, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
August 21, 2014 –
page 2
0.52% "I saw this in the bookstore being sold for P800+ I had a bad time reading his last 4 or 5 novels but this one promises (according to the blurb) something different and the book is hardbound and the design of the cover is simly irresistible. So, why not? Food for the soul. Spending money on books is always right. Haha."
August 23, 2014 –
page 94
24.35% "No matter how quiet and conformist a person's life seems, there's always a time in the past when they reach an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives. Relate lol."
August 25, 2014 –
page 212
54.92% "Hard to put down. Easy to read. Few lines per page. I also would like to know why Shiro was killed and who killed her."
August 29, 2014 – Shelved as: drama
August 29, 2014 – Shelved as: japanese
August 29, 2014 – Shelved as: sad
August 29, 2014 – Shelved as: philosophical
August 29, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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Bong Find the answer. Who killed Shiro. :D


message 2: by K.D. (last edited Aug 29, 2014 04:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Johan Patrick wrote: "Find the answer. Who killed Shiro. :D"

No, I will not answer. Spoiler hahaha

BTW, we have the same rating for this book.


K.D. Absolutely Emir Never wrote: "Shiro casualty."

Poor Shiro.


message 4: by Bong (last edited Aug 30, 2014 03:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bong Although there are Murakami signatures here I find it different from his previous works. Just like what you've said no talking cats etc etc. I find simplicity yet those words of Murakami are still remarkable. I think im going to use those highlighted quotations then Ill send group messages or even posting it on social networking sites. Hahaha This is a good flashback story.

Btw. I like your re-cap telling the story of your ex-girlfriend. Hehe Nice review KD and Im happy we both liked The Wind-Up Bird. Thumbs up for those 3stars.


Maria Ella Okay I am considering this book because there is no magic realism in it... but rather, there are tons of Introspections that would make me stare into space and "feel the nothingness". If this is like Norwegian wood, then I might consider this book. *wish-list


K.D. Absolutely Emir Never wrote: "I initially wanted to rate this three stars, then I reread portions I thought needed further inspection. Finally I gave it 3.5 stars, but there's no such rating in GR.

I like this better than Norw..."


Luckily, she is not haunting me hehe! Oh, God bless her soul.


message 7: by K.D. (last edited Aug 30, 2014 04:44PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Johan Patrick wrote: "Although there are Murakami signatures here I find it different from his previous works. Just like what you've said no talking cats etc etc. I find simplicity yet those words of Murakami are still ..."

Oh yes, Patrick. There is something different here. It took me quite a bit of time to figure that out. It is simpler in terms of plot but the conflict, the larger drama, is internal to Tsukuru. The demon is inside his mind. The pain of losing friends that used to have tight-knit relationship with you. Friends who suddenly abandon you and you have no clue why.

I did not know that abandoning a friend could have that impact. Oh so I am awakened!


message 8: by K.D. (last edited Aug 30, 2014 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Maria Ella wrote: "Okay I am considering this book because there is no magic realism in it... but rather, there are tons of Introspections that would make me stare into space and "feel the nothingness". If this is li..."

Go for this book, Ella. I think you will like it.

I also think that this could be a good introductory book to Murakami's works. (I did not and cannot say that for 1Q84).

I also like the cover of the hardbound edition. I like the look and feel of the recent Murakamis. They look so appetizing! When 1Q84 came out, it just attracted my attention because of the cover design. Kakaiba. This one too!


message 9: by Teresa (last edited Aug 30, 2014 04:44PM) (new)

Teresa "Norwegian Wood" was my least favorite Murakami, so I'll probably skip this, though I hope to read "After Dark" one day -- it's the only one of the 3 you like the most I haven't read yet. Thanks for the review, K.D.


message 10: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Very nice review, K.D. I was touched by your story of your first girlfriend, thanks for tellling it.
I did not care much for Norwegian Wood, so if you say this is a similar book, I will not go through the trouble. I just loved Kafka on the Shore, that's the Murakami sort of book I like.


message 11: by K.D. (last edited Aug 30, 2014 04:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Teresa wrote: ""Norwegian Wood" was my least favorite Murakami, so I'll probably skip this, though I hope to read "After Dark" one day -- it's the only one of the 3 you like the most I haven't read yet. Thanks fo..."

Thanks, T.

"After Dark" is for me short and "sweet" (Murakami-wise).


message 12: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Hanneke wrote: "Very nice review, K.D. I was touched by your story of your first girlfriend, thanks for tellling it.
I did not care much for Norwegian Wood, so if you say this is a similar book, I will not go thro..."


Thanks, Hanneke. Knowing your taste on books, yes, skip this. :)


message 13: by Teresa (new)

Teresa K.D. wrote: ""After Dark" is for me short and "sweet.""

I wonder if it's similar to South of the Border, West of the Sun ...


message 14: by K.D. (last edited Aug 30, 2014 04:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely T, I had to click the link and browse my review for few seconds.

Hmmm, yes, similar. But the lady love of the guy in "South" is still alive and is doing the Murakami-disappearing (now you see her, now you don't) act. The lady love of Tsukuru here or the object of his lust (a bit of spoiler here) is dead.


message 15: by Teresa (new)

Teresa K.D. wrote: "T, I had to click the link and browse my review for few seconds.

Hmmm, yes, similar. But the lady love of the guy in "South" is still alive and is doing the Murakami-disappearing (now you see her,..."


Thanks, K.D. It sounds intriguing.


message 16: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Teresa wrote: "K.D. wrote: "T, I had to click the link and browse my review for few seconds.

Hmmm, yes, similar. But the lady love of the guy in "South" is still alive and is doing the Murakami-disappearing (now..."


Yes, it is, T. The other similar books of him "Norwegian" and "South" are more outward looking. This one is more inward. The "battle" is all happening in Tsukuru's head.


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I love your review! I guess it is true that Murakami uses the "same ingredients when he cooks" (lol, I love that!) but I just love those ingredients! It's like me and cheese: put it on everything, please! Ha! :)


message 18: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Lisa wrote: "I love your review! I guess it is true that Murakami uses the "same ingredients when he cooks" (lol, I love that!) but I just love those ingredients! It's like me and cheese: put it on everything, ..."

Oh yes, same here. Who could forget Colonel Sanders and Cutty Sark talking? lol!


message 19: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Lisa wrote: "... It's like me and cheese: put it on everything, ..."

And for Murakami, it's spaghetti. ;)


message 20: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Teresa wrote: "Lisa wrote: "... It's like me and cheese: put it on everything, ..."

And for Murakami, it's spaghetti. ;)"


Parmesan cheese, Lisa! Lots of it!!!


Maria Ella I guess this book is full of cheese. Cue rolling cheeseballs ahahahah


message 22: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Maria Ella wrote: "I guess this book is full of cheese. Cue rolling cheeseballs ahahahah"

Ella, I miss you! Let's have dinner!


message 23: by Bong (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bong K.D. wrote: "Johan Patrick wrote: "Although there are Murakami signatures here I find it different from his previous works. Just like what you've said no talking cats etc etc. I find simplicity yet those words ..."

Exactly! It's hard to move forward if you can't settle your past. Eventhough you erase it in your memory still it haunts you like hell. Leaving someone without explanation hurts most. *ramdam na ramdam ko hahahaha*

I think the reason for Tazaki being colorless is because of transparency. He can jive with different colors unlike a specific color different hues can be made but not all colors can blend with it. Colorless doesnt mean youre different, it means you can deal with different combinations. :)


message 24: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Johan Patrick wrote: "K.D. wrote: "Johan Patrick wrote: "Although there are Murakami signatures here I find it different from his previous works. Just like what you've said no talking cats etc etc. I find simplicity yet..."

Colorless means colorful in fact all the colors are there. It's like white. They say white is a strong color.


message 25: by Bong (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bong In terms of light KD. If we're going to deal with science i agree with you because white light consists of different colors which we can see in a rainbow form. If you're going to disperse white light then ther result is roygbiv. If in terms of colors if you'll combine all the colors the resulting color will be black. Hehe

Ill agree with you that light is a strong color not striking but strong. Hehe


message 26: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Johan Patrick wrote: "In terms of light KD. If we're going to deal with science i agree with you because white light consists of different colors which we can see in a rainbow form. If you're going to disperse white lig..."

Thanks, Patrick. Wow. That's a lot of new info.


Hertzan Chimera K.D. I'm a big Murakami fan, and eventually I had to TWO STAR this book. It just... meh, nothing achieved, except another 80,000 translated words. No big story, that's the message of this novel, for me.


message 28: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Mike wrote: "K.D. I'm a big Murakami fan, and eventually I had to TWO STAR this book. It just... meh, nothing achieved, except another 80,000 translated words. No big story, that's the message of this novel, fo..."

I understand, Mike. Thanks for the like.


message 29: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Ang Kawangki wrote: "Sir KD pede mahiram?"

Sure, Kawangki. I'll bring it on Jan 10th.


☺Trish "You can hide the memories, but you can't erase the history that produced them." I agree with your review. What occurs in our youth, the life experiences and the relationships, can have a profound effect on our development and sense of "self".


Anastazia Hamilton After reading your review I honestly not sure I want to pick up Norwegian Wood anymore. lol. Are the repitions really that strong with Murakami throughout his books? I still want to read 1Q48 though.


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