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Comments for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: 02/13/15
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami is about a man who designs railway stations and his long standing belief that his life is boring because he has no color in his name. Tsukuru was the fifth wheel in a group of friends, the others who all had a color as part of the their name: Black and White were were the girls and Blue and Red were the boys. And then there was plain old Tsukuru.
Now in his late thirties and in a relationship that might be going somewhere if he's just willing to take the initiative is put on hold when the girlfriend realizes he's still too hung up on his old friends. They left him one summer without explanation, cut him free as it were, and he's been spending his creative energy on imagining all sorts of amazing lives for them.
So Tsukuru is given an ultimatum: find out what happened to them, go meet them as adults, and then get on with his own life. This impromptu reunion becomes his final pilgrimage. Along the way we are filled in with their life stories, for better or worse. And we get to see Tsukuru grow by what he learns.
Many Murakami books have a bit of magical realism. Here, there's a lingering promise of such a twist. It's wrapped up in a story about the amputation of an extra finger, the turning the extraordinary into the ordinary and the consequences of doing so.
In previous books I've read Murakami would have gone with the obvious extension of that story and give Tsukuru a long lost twin, either one that was adopted away, or a dead one, or a metaphysical one. Not this time. Tsukuru is an ordinary salaryman and he longs to be part of something more extraordinary. But sometimes that's just not possible and that ultimately is the crux of the book.