COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE – HARUKI MURAKAMI

by Ruby Gege

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Haruki Murakami is my god in literature. And please take it metaphorically. I began reading him in 2011, a novel entitled Norwegian Wood and my life changed forever. I read it and literally felt magic in my soul. Since then, I grew to be an ardent fan and now, an undisputed Murakami fanatic. Jane Austen is the most important writer for me, Orhan Pamuk taught me of love and infatuation, Gabriel Garcia Marquez taught me of loneliness…. but Haruki Murakami feeds my soul!! (overdramatic alert!!)

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My Murakami collection situated at the first-tier of the yellow shelf aka The Royal Shelf

Upon completing IQ84 sometime around last year, I have been waiting and waiting for the English version of Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. I was pretty excited considering how the premise of the novel revolved around friendship and love. Murakami does not do that often – mostly his stories are on surrealism and loneliness. More than often, his lead characters lack the capabilities of having friends. Yet, Tsukuru Tazaki had friends – not just one or two but four. Unlike other Murakami leads, Tsukuru during high school years BELONGED to a group of friends. His high school years was not ridden with isolation. He had memories, he had ambition. 

Tsukuru is different. Friendship possesses an extremely high value in his life. That is something I can relate to. All of a sudden, his friends abandoned him, cutting him off from their lives forever. Tsukuru knew he had no say in it. Thus, he accepted it. Yet, upon the loss of that friendship, he saw death. He believed something in him died. 

Ouh, feeellllsss…

What makes Colorless Tsukuru so enjoyable is also the fact that there is a mystery to be solved. Tsukuru was abandoned by his friends. Sixteen years had passed and he had moved on, at least externally. However, he yearned for an explanation, deep inside. For the youth was the best times of his life, being together with his friends, who were the colours of his life – Red Aka, Blue Ao, White Shiro and the Red Aka. When they disappeared from their lives, the colours left, too.

From left - the Red Aka, Blue Ao, White Shiro, Black Kuro and finally, the Colourless Tsukuru. Beneath the cover was the map of train lines.
From left – the Red Aka, Blue Ao, White Shiro, Black Kuro and finally, the Colourless Tsukuru. Beneath the cover was the map of train lines.

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When people ask me to review Murakami’s writings, I can’t really put it into words. All I can say it – if you enjoy writings that employs a more monologue-like style that explores a lot about your inner emotions, lonelinss, insecurities, mortalities, love, scepticism and the general mood of giving up about life but there-nothing-we-can-do-about-it type of thing, then you are going to enjoy Murakami so much. Read his books and be mindfucked. Read his books and never see the world the same again. Through his writings, I learned how to appreciate loneliness and death. Despite all the seemingly ‘negative’ emotions he writes about in his stories, he never put a negative spin on it. He writes about death but never fear. He writes about loneliness and love at the same time – how one can be in love yet lonely. He broke many of the stereotypes I had – how a certain emotion can help me overcome another emotion. That was untrue. Emotions are never in our control. We may control how we act on them but never how we feel. 

Back to Colorless Tsukuru!! 

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And my favourite pages in the book!!

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Of Death
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Of Unrequited Love
Of the Glorious Youth
Of the Glorious Youth

Cannot wait for his next work!!!!

P/S – Murakami did not win the Nobel Prize for Literature last year and this year. I know he deserves it, with all my heart. I want him to win it. But it’s okay. You won my loyalty for the rest of my life, Mr Murakami. Now please pay a visit to Malaysia and sign my Murakami collection… TT

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