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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Paperback – May 5, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 927 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Mesmerizing, immersive, hallucinogenic.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Readers wait for [Murakami’s] work the way past generations lined up at record stores for new albums by the Beatles or Bob Dylan. . . . Reveals another side of Murakami, one not so easy to pin down. . . A book for both the new and experienced reader.” —Patti Smith, The New York Times Book Review 

“Hypnotic.” —The Boston Globe
“Brilliant.” —The Miami Herald
“A masterpiece.” —Elle
“Wistful, mysterious, winsome, disturbing, seductive.” —The Atlantic
Remarkable.” — The Washington Post
 “Intoxicating. . . . Full of beauty, strangeness, and color.” —NPR

“[Murakami] is ever alert to minds and hearts, to what it is, precisely, that they feel and see, and to humanity’s abiding and indomitable spirit. . . . A deeply affecting novel, not only for the dark nooks and crannies it explores, but for the magic that seeps into its characters’ subconsciouses, for the lengths to which they will go to protect or damage one another, for the brilliant characterizations it delivers along the way.” —The Washington Post
“More than just a story but rather a meditation. . . . There is a rawness, a vulnerability, to these characters.” —Los Angeles Times
“Tsukuru’s pilgrimage will never end, because he is moving constantly away from his destination, which is his old self. This is a narrow poignancy, but a powerful one, and Murakami is its master. Perhaps that's why he has come to speak not just for his thwarted nation, but for so many of us who love art—since it's only there, alas, in novels such as this one, that we're allowed to live twice.” —Chicago Tribune
“Bold and colorful threads of fiction blur smoothly together to form the muted white of an almost ordinary realism. Like J.M. Coetzee, Murakami smoothly interlaces allegorical meanings with everyday particulars of contemporary social reality. . . . Tsukuru’s situation will resonate with anyone who feels adrift in this age of Google and Facebook.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Colorless Tsukuru spins a weave of . . . vivid images around a great mystery. . . . The story flows along smoothly, wrapping around details like objects in a stream.” —The Boston Globe
 “The premise is simple enough, but in the works of Murakami, nothing is simple. . . . A perfect introduction to Murakami’s world, where questions of guilt and motivation abound, and the future is an open question.” —The Miami Herald
“Beautiful, rich with moving images and lush yet exquisitely controlled language. . . . Fans of elegant, intelligent fiction will welcome this book.” —Tampa Bay Times
“Moving. . . . One of Murakami’s most endearing and enduring traits as a writer is an almost reportorial attention to detail, the combined effect of which gives you a complete picture while still feeling a little ethereal.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Shockingly seductive. . . . Murakami has a knack for swift, seamless storytelling. . . . Don’t be surprised if you devour Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage in the course of a night or two. . . . Charming and unexpected.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Satisfying. . . . Murakami can find mystery in the mundane and conjure it in sparse, Raymond Carveresque prose.” —Financial Times
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki alights in some mysterious places but doesn’t settle there. . . . [It] is replete with emotionally frank, philosophical discussions. . . . Reflective.” —The Dallas Morning News
“A piercing and surprisingly compact story about friendship and loneliness. . . . Murakami skillfully explores the depths of Tsukuru’s isolation and pain.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Truly captivating . . . Calling Murakami a ‘universally respected author’ or even a ‘paragon of literature’ is no longer apt. The man is a cultural force unto himself. . . . [In Colorless Tsukuru] the staples of his work . . . all come together to form a beautiful whole.” —A.V. Club
“Spare and contained. . . . Quiet, with disturbing depths.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“A testament to the mystery, magic, and mastery of this much-revered Japanese writer’s imaginative powers. Murakami’s moxie is characterized by a brilliant detective-story-like blend of intuition, hard-nosed logic, impeccable pacing, and poetic revelations.” —Elle

About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages. The most recent of his many international honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul. Translated by Philip Gabriel.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804170126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804170123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (927 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. E. Stevens VINE VOICE on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a longtime Murakami reader, I fell in love with his novels and short stories from the '80s and '90s, but became increasingly disillusioned as Murakami began experimenting with his style in Kafka on the Shore (which I still found mostly enjoyable), then on to After Dark (which I found completely underwhelming), and 1Q84 (which I honestly struggled to finish). To me, in these newer works, Murakami seemed tentative, off key, and honestly a bit "lost" ... failing to capture the intangible mojo that makes an outstanding Murakami novel better than the sum of its parts. As a result, I approached Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage with a bit of trepidation ... and honestly a bit of resignation--I was willing to give Murakami another shot, but if this book fell short, that might've been the last Murakami book I was willing to read.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki has a compelling mix of the "old" and the "new" Murakami. For the first time since Murakami started to alter his style, the story is told entirely from the perspective of the familiar "Boku" character ... mid-30s, lonely, detached, insecure (in this case, about whether he is "colorless"--this will make sense when you read the book), on an unusual quest to reconcile a past trauma and lost relationships. The book is strikingly free of the "magical realism" present in some of his iconic works such as Wind-Up Bird and Hard-Boiled Wonderland, and tells a much more "realistic" tale more similar in concept to Norwegian Wood, South of the Border, or even his debut novel, Hear the Wind Sing ... but with considerably more maturity and psychological depth, I'd argue. Unlike the "old" Murakami protagonist, however, Tsukuru is not passive ... cool, but not dispassionate.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Since this is Murakami, the book is about a person. This time, the character is Tsukuru Tazaki. We live with him and his thoughts and his actions and his dreams for a significant period of his life.

If a reader is of a self-analytical bent, there will be much to potentially identify with in this book. If not, then this book may start something analytical before the last page is read.

The story line is so basic and the events so focused on it that there is little that can be told without spoiling it all. Discovery while reading is key to the enjoyment of this book. The things Tsukuru does, the people he knows, the work he does, the conversations he has all are entwined within the basic story element.

If you are already a fan of this author, you will find it to be less convoluted than some of his stories, yet deeper than it seems on the surface. If you haven't discovered the pleasure of reading Murakami's books, then this will be an OK place to start. As always, though, with Murakami you never know what will happen next, while you're still busy digesting what has happened already.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sara’s ultimatum sets Tsukuru on his pilgrimage. The plot is a quest, that time-honoured structure familiar from Homer’s Odyssey. He must travel far and wide and overcome many obstacles in his search for the truth. It’s a form that Murakami used masterfully in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in which the protagonist’s emotional trajectory—from sweetly inadequate to semi-mythic—resembles Frodo’s transformation in Tolkien’s epic Lord of The Rings.
Tsukuru visits each of his former friends and talks to them face-to-face. He finds the boys still in Nagoya, and goes as far as Finland for one of the girls. When he finally learns the truth, it is disturbing. The fate of one of the five is as eerie, violent and sad as anything Murakami has ever written, although at a remove. We hear about it rather than witness it, a technique that keeps the attention squarely on Tsukuru.
Colorless continues the author’s fascination with the permeable barrier between reality and imagination, in which temporality and states of consciousness merge and overlap. Tsukuru has erotic dreams involving Shiro (white) and Kuro (black): we wonder if they are unbidden aspects of his unconscious or whether they have more sinister portent.
Murakami is extraordinarily attentive to the feelings of love and hate, injustice, jealousy and guilt that engulf Tsukuru. When a new friend, the handsome boy Haida (the name means “grey field”) appears in one of these sex dreams we know we are in a different reality. Haida’s story-within-a-story further confuses Tsukuru. Haida’s father is offered a “death token” that, among other things, heightens the ability to see colours. Is the story about Haida or his father? Is Haida even real?
Murakami often pushes the outer limits of language, using music where words fail.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a long time reader of Haruki Murakami and have loved everything else I've read. This novel was well written, the characters well developed and interesting and believable, and the story interesting. However it doesn't feel like it was finished. I'm hoping for another volume named something like "the further adventures of Tsukuru and his friend and what happened to Shiro" that ties together all the loose ends and completes the story.

I know the Japanese culture well enough to know that the endings of Japanese stories are often ambiguous compared to western stories, but this is more extreme than I've seen before.
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