Sunday, 25 October 2020

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Book Review!


Hi Readers! I have finished another Murakami book & I was so glad that I liked this one. Usually, people either like all his books or hate all his books. But, for me, I like some while dislike the others.

Check out all the Murakami books I have read so far:

A Wild Sheep Chase

Norwegian Wood

Kafka on the Shore

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

After Dark

And finally, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage which I have rated at 3.5/5!!


~~GOODREADS DESCRIPTION~~

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. Here Haruki Murakami—one of the most revered voices in literature today—gives us a story of love, friend­ship, and heartbreak for the ages.

 

~~CHARACTERS~~

TSUKURU TAZAKI is the protagonist of the story. We see Tsukuru’s personality when he was 20 years old in high school as a part of a sacred group of 5 friends. And later on, we see his personality when he is 36 years old forming a new relationship with Sara, doing a job he loves but with no friends in his life. We see many emotional forms go through Tsukuru in this period. I saw his kindness, his ability to cope a shock, his depression, his loneliness, his hope & his trust issues.

Some of the other characters are his 4 other friends from high school - AO, AKA, SHIRO & KURO. There’s also another friend named HAIDA who Tsukuru meets in college. And then, we have SARA who pushes him to find himself.


~~OVERALL THOUGHTS~~

~~STRUCTURE OF THE STORY~~

I have a good experience of reading Murakami’s books. This being my 6TH BOOK, I now know what to expect. In most of his books, I have found the parts about magical realism consuming most of the story. However, in this book, the real story takes most of the credit, which is why I found a strong structure to the novel. There were actual events happening which were quite relatable & I could foresee something normal happening as well. This part stood out the most for me. While the foundation of the story was basic, in a Murakami world it became something more than that. The basic story was how Tsukuru’s 4 friends banned him from their group & then after 16 years, he wanted to know the reason behind it. If any average author had written this, it would have turned out something I’d never have read because it sounds so simplistic. But, with the Murakami touch, it becomes a lot better!


~~MAGICAL REALISM~~

Now, I know I mentioned above that I liked the structure of the story, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t MISS ON THE MAGICAL REALISM ASPECTS in his usual books. Especially in this one, there was a lot of scope for that. There were a few pieces which were focused on this area, but they felt a bit forced into the story. Such as the story Haida tells Tsukuru Midorikawa’s death story up in the hills. Also the stations master’s story about people with 6 fingers.

In context to the Tsukuru’s life, I had a feeling that Tsukuru might have raped Shiro in his dream & it being a Murakami universe, I thought Shiro would've realised what he did. I suppose something like this happened in ‘Norwegian Wood’. So yes, I would have loved a bit more fantasy!


~~COMMON THEMES~~

There is always an underlying common theme in all the books by Murakami. Firstly, there is a lot of sexism with respect to the bodies of all the female characters. There is one kind of writing which is romantic when two people are being intimate, and then there’s the other thing that Murakami does. I have become immune to this, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me. And, all the female characters are always attracted to the protagonist in some time frame or other, which is another level of sexism.

Secondly, we always have an empty vessel of a male protagonist leading a dull & routine life. But still he is the babe magnet. I’m getting a bit tired of this. This aspect is common in a LOT of his books & I have started to outright HATE IT.


~~MENTAL HEALTH~~

Unlike any other Murakami book, in this one we actually see important topics being unearthed. We see how Kuro, Ao & Aka side with Shiro because of her mental illness. But they don’t realise that by doing this they are only pushing Tsukuru further into a corner because of which he goes badly into depression. There was this link between the two which I thought was very thought-provoking.

Also, probably for the first time, we had the existence of gender identity mentioned in his books. Usually there are only straight people in the story, but not in this one, which is important.


~~CHAIN REACTION~~

I think this is what stuck with me for the longest time. Though the story is a simple one, it has A LOT OF LAYERS to it. There are a lot of things happening which make the reader think about their own life. I think the importance of a chain reaction or a sequence of things is very well explored in this novel.

Tsukuru’s life changed completely because a decision was made for him by others. If this wouldn’t have happened, his whole life would have turned out differently. One decision can change your entire life, which is why we need to dig deeper & ask ourselves the right questions. We need to ask ourselves…

Why did I decide this 5 years ago?

What made me chose option A over option B?

How will my life be different if I chose Career A over Career B?

What will be the consequences of my decision for me & others around me?

Am I making this decision or is it being made for me?

Is this going to bring me happiness?

 

Along with all the decisions we make, it is also important to take responsibility for our decisions. If our decision leads us to the wrong path or an unhappy life, then we need to accept that & try to move on from that. One wrong decision is not the end of the world. We are not dull empty vessels in a novel, but real human beings with so many colors to ourselves. We need to find the colours of our life. Just because our names aren’t synonymous to colours, doesn’t mean we are colorless. All the emotions we feel bring out different colours within us & that is what we need to embrace!



Until next time,



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