Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki (and his Colourful Journey)

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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That day I finished my history exam and decided to go to my university bookstore to calm myself down. I searched but for what exactly, I didn’t know. I looked up titles on how to process your thoughts, how to be able to finish your tasks and so on but they had no appeal. I kept looking around when my eyes landed on Haruki Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I have seen this book a lot around the internet but I didn’t know what was it about. I picked it out of the shelf and turned it around a few times. I read the back of it and I opened and read the summary too which said

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

I was gripped instantly. I was curious as in what happened and why did they leave him. Yet, I was indecisive whether I should buy it or not. So back it went into the shelf. Then I pondered for a few seconds until I thought “what will I lose?”. I went to the counter paid for it and left. I held it in my hand all the way to home. The moment I opened the book, I felt I was looking into a mirror that reflected how I felt. I felt so connected to the book it was unimaginable. Tsukuru was going through a rough patch during his college life because of his friends’ rejection. Not only that, but he underwent a drastic change.

What I loved most about Haruki’s writing is that he portrayed Tsukuru in the most humanly way possible. I did not feel that Tsukuru was completely hopeless nor hopeful, he was in-between, conflicted with both. I loved having to see through his mind and what he was thinking. How his thoughts evolved and kept changing, not eternally stable. How his pain had taken a huge toll on him and that made him never go back to what he once was. Also, Haruki was keeping me on my toes for he didn’t state the reason for the abandonment of Tsukuru’s friends right from the beginning.

To me, this book was an eye opener. I can’t put my finger on it but it kind of taught me how to pick myself from the rubble and go live my life to its fullest. Although, I was quite disappointed with the ending of the book.

Here are some few quotes I like (none are spoilers):

“You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.”

“People whose freedom is taken away always end up hating somebody.”

“Our lives are like a complex musical score. Filled with all sorts of cryptic writing, sixteenth and thirty-second notes and other strange signs. It’s next to impossible to correctly interpret these, and even if you could, and could then transpose them into the correct sounds, there’s no guarantee that people would correctly understand, or appreciate, the meaning therein. No guarantee it would make people happy. Why must the workings of people’s lives be so convoluted?” 

“Never let fear and stupid pride make you lose someone who’s precious to you.”

“Life is long, and sometimes cruel. Sometimes victims are needed. Someone has to take on that role. And human bodies are fragile, easily damaged. Cut them, and they bleed.”

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