A Colorless Life

Haruki Murakami has done it once again with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. The title is a mouthful, but it was a mystical story nonetheless. While it’s just topping the charts in America, it was published in April 2013. In Japanese. I waited the grueling 17 months until it was translated and published in America. In preparation, I read reviews praising the story I couldn’t read (unless I could teach myself Japanese in the 17 months it took to translate).

So I preordered a copy months ago and devoured it the moment it arrived in the mail.

murakami-usIn high school, Tsukuru Tazaki had a a tight group of friends. A group of 5 people: three boys and two girls. But when he left for college, his friends kicked him out of the group. No explanation. No reason. And suddenly he was alone.

Sixteen years later, Tsukuru is still dealing with that loss.

While this story isn’t filled with Murakami’s typical magical realism, the book presents a lot of important questions. Tsukuru feels colorless, an empty vessel. And he lost something else when his friends rejected him.

By rediscovering his past, will Tsukuru fill himself? Murakami questions the meaning of life. We grow old, get a full time job. And then what?

I’m at the time in my life when I’m transitioning into adulthood. I have my first full-time job, 8 hours a day Monday thru Friday. And it feels anticlimactic. I come into work, put everything into what I’m doing, go home, sleep, and start over the next day.

Tsukuru struggles to find meaning in his life, and I struggle alongside him.

I went along with Tsukuru on his journey of self discovery, not sure what to expect. I don’t know how he changed from beginning to end. I don’t know how I changed after reading his story. But I did sit back for a moment, breathe a sigh of relief, and knew there was color on the horizon.

(Maybe now it’s time to finally finish reading 1Q84…)


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