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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage Audible – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 894 customer reviews

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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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