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Nolan Garcia
Nolan Garcia

The Benefits and Challenges of Reading Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage in EPUB 20 Format


Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A Review




If you are a fan of Haruki Murakami, you probably know that he is one of the most popular and acclaimed contemporary writers in Japan and around the world. His novels are known for their surrealistic and magical elements, their complex and mysterious plots, their quirky and memorable characters, and their exploration of themes such as loneliness, identity, dreams, music, and cats.




haruki murakami colorless tsukuru tazaki epub 20



One of his latest novels, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, is no exception. It is a captivating and emotional story that follows the journey of a man who tries to overcome a traumatic event from his past that shattered his sense of self and his relationships with others.


In this article, I will give you a brief summary of the novel, an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, and a personal opinion on whether you should read it or not. I will also provide some background information on the author, Haruki Murakami, his style and influences, his themes and motifs, and the format of the novel, EPUB 20.


Summary




The novel begins with a flashback to Tsukuru Tazaki's high school days in Nagoya. He was part of a close-knit group of five friends who shared everything with each other. They were all named after colors except for Tsukuru, who felt like he was colorless and empty compared to them. The other four were Akamatsu (red pine), Oumi (blue sea), Shirane (white root), and Kurono (black field).


One day, when Tsukuru was in college in Tokyo, he received a phone call from one of his friends, who told him that they didn't want to see him or talk to him ever again. They gave no explanation and cut off all contact with him. Tsukuru was devastated and felt like he had been rejected and erased from their lives. He became depressed and suicidal, and lost interest in everything.


Years later, Tsukuru is a successful engineer who designs train stations. He meets a woman named Sara, who becomes his girlfriend. She notices that he is still haunted by his past and encourages him to find out what happened to his old friends and why they abandoned him. She believes that this will help him heal and move on with his life.


Tsukuru decides to follow her advice and embarks on a pilgrimage to reconnect with his former friends. He travels to Nagoya, Tokyo, Finland, and other places, where he learns the truth about their fate and the reason for their betrayal. He also discovers some secrets about himself and his own identity that he had repressed or forgotten.


The novel ends with a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next to Tsukuru and Sara, and whether Tsukuru will be able to find peace and happiness.


Analysis




The novel has many strengths and weaknesses that make it a compelling and controversial work of literature. Here are some of them:


Strengths





  • The novel is well-written and engaging. Murakami's prose is simple yet elegant, and his descriptions are vivid and atmospheric. He creates a sense of realism and fantasy that draws the reader into the story and makes them feel like they are part of it.



  • The novel is rich in symbolism and imagery. Murakami uses various elements such as colors, water, dreams, scars, and death to convey deeper meanings and emotions. He also references classical music, especially Franz Liszt's piano suite Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), which mirrors Tsukuru's journey and mood.



  • The novel is thought-provoking and philosophical. Murakami explores themes such as friendship, betrayal, identity, self-discovery, love, and forgiveness. He raises questions about the nature of human relationships, the role of memory and imagination, the impact of trauma and loss, and the possibility of redemption and healing.



Weaknesses





  • The novel is slow-paced and repetitive. Murakami spends a lot of time on details and dialogues that do not advance the plot or develop the characters. He also repeats some information and scenes that have already been established or shown before.



  • The novel is ambiguous and unresolved. Murakami leaves many questions unanswered and many loose ends untied. He does not provide a clear explanation for some of the events and motives that occur in the story. He also does not give a definitive conclusion for the main conflict and the main characters' fate.



  • The novel is sexist and stereotypical. Murakami portrays women as objects of desire or mystery, who exist only to serve or inspire men. He also relies on clichés and tropes to depict his characters, such as the manic pixie dream girl, the femme fatale, the gay best friend, the wise old man, etc.



Conclusion




In conclusion, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is a novel that has both merits and flaws. It is a captivating and emotional story that deals with themes such as loneliness, identity, dreams, music, and cats. It is also a well-written and symbolic work that references classical music, especially Franz Liszt's piano suite Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage). However, it is also a slow-paced and repetitive work that leaves many questions unanswered and many loose ends untied. It is also a sexist and stereotypical work that portrays women as objects of desire or mystery, who exist only to serve or inspire men.


Personally, I enjoyed reading this novel because I like Murakami's style and imagination. I found the story intriguing and touching, and I related to some of the characters' struggles and feelings. I also appreciated the references to music, which added another layer of meaning and emotion to the story.


The Author: Haruki Murakami




Haruki Murakami is one of the most popular and acclaimed contemporary writers in Japan and around the world. He has written more than 20 novels and dozens of short stories, essays, and non-fiction books. He has also translated many works of American and British literature into Japanese.


Biography




Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and Ashiya, where he was exposed to Western culture and music. He studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. He opened a jazz bar called Peter Cat in Tokyo, where he worked as a manager and owner for seven years.


Murakami began writing at the age of 29, after having a sudden inspiration while watching a baseball game. His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, was published in 1979 and won a literary prize for new writers. His second novel, Pinball, 1973, was published in 1980. His third novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, was published in 1982 and established him as a major writer in Japan.


Murakami gained international fame with his novel Norwegian Wood, which was published in 1987 and sold millions of copies worldwide. He then moved to Europe and America, where he lived for several years and wrote some of his most acclaimed works, such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and 1Q84.


Murakami has also been involved in various social and political issues, such as the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack of 1995, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. He has written about these events and their impact on Japanese society and culture in his books Underground, After the Quake, and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.


Murakami has received many awards and honors for his works, such as the Yomiuri Literary Prize, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Jerusalem Prize, and the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award. He has also been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Style and Influences




Murakami's style is distinctive and unique. He combines realism and fantasy, humor and tragedy, mystery and romance, history and culture. He creates surrealistic and magical scenarios that challenge the boundaries of logic and reality. He also uses elements of postmodernism, such as metafiction, intertextuality, parody, and pastiche.


Murakami's influences are diverse and eclectic. He is influenced by Western writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Franz Kafka, and George Orwell. He is also influenced by Japanese writers such as Natsume Soseki, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yasunari Kawabata, and Kenzaburo Oe. He is also influenced by music, especially jazz, rock, and classical music. He often references songs, albums, artists, and composers in his works.


Themes and Motifs




Murakami's themes and motifs are recurring and consistent. He explores themes such as loneliness, identity, dreams, music, and cats. He uses motifs such as wells, trains, phones, ears, and libraries. Some of his themes and motifs are explained below:



  • Loneliness: Murakami's characters are often isolated, alienated, or disconnected from others. They struggle to find meaning and purpose in their lives. They seek companionship and intimacy but are afraid of commitment and rejection. They sometimes find solace in animals, books, or music.



  • Identity: Murakami's characters are often uncertain or confused about their identity. They have multiple or contradictory selves that they switch or hide depending on the situation. They sometimes lose or forget their identity due to trauma or amnesia. They sometimes discover or create a new identity through self-discovery or self-invention.



  • Dreams: Murakami's characters often experience vivid and bizarre dreams that blur the line between reality and fantasy. They sometimes enter or exit dream worlds through portals or devices. They sometimes communicate or interact with other characters or entities through dreams. They sometimes learn or reveal secrets or truths through dreams.



  • Music: Murakami's characters often listen to or play music that reflects their mood or personality. They sometimes use music as a form of expression or communication. They sometimes find inspiration or comfort in music. They sometimes encounter music as a source of magic or mystery.



  • Cats: Murakami's characters often encounter cats that have special or supernatural qualities. They sometimes have a bond or affinity with cats. They sometimes communicate or understand cats. They sometimes transform or possess cats.



The Novel: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage




Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is one of Murakami's latest novels. It was published in Japan in 2013 and in English in 2014. It sold more than a million copies in the first week of its release in Japan. It received mixed reviews from critics and readers, who praised its realism and emotion, but criticized its ambiguity and sexism.


Background




The novel has a historical and cultural context that influences its meaning and interpretation. Some of the aspects of this context are explained below:



  • Title: The title of the novel is derived from the names of the main characters and the music that they listen to. The protagonist, Tsukuru Tazaki, is the only one among his friends who does not have a color in his name. He feels like he is colorless and empty compared to them. The subtitle, His Years of Pilgrimage, refers to the piano suite by Franz Liszt that Tsukuru and his friends listen to. The suite consists of three parts, each named after a year of Liszt's travels in Europe. The first part, Suisse (Switzerland), is the one that Tsukuru likes the most and that inspires him to travel to Finland in search of his friend.



  • Music: The music that Tsukuru and his friends listen to is an important element in the novel. It represents their bond, their mood, their personality, and their journey. The piano suite by Franz Liszt, Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), is the most significant piece of music in the novel. It is composed of three parts, each containing several pieces that depict Liszt's impressions and experiences during his travels in Europe. The first part, Suisse (Switzerland), contains nine pieces, such as Au lac de Wallenstadt (At Lake Wallenstadt), Vallée d'Obermann (Obermann's Valley), and Les cloches de Genève (The Bells of Geneva). The second part, Italie (Italy), contains seven pieces, such as Sposalizio (Marriage), Il penseroso (The Thinker), and Après une lecture du Dante (After Reading Dante). The third part, Troisième année (Third Year), contains seven pieces, such as Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este I: Thrénodie (To the Cypresses of the Villa d'Este I: Threnody), Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este (The Fountains of the Villa d'Este), and Sursum corda (Lift Up Your Hearts).



  • Trains: The trains that Tsukuru designs and rides are another important element in the novel. They represent his passion, his profession, his escape, and his connection. Tsukuru works as an engineer who designs train stations. He is fascinated by trains since he was a child. He likes to ride trains to different places and observe the scenery and the people. He also uses trains as a metaphor for his life and his relationships.



Characters




The novel has a cast of characters that are complex and intriguing. They have distinctive names, personalities, relationships, and development throughout the novel. Some of the main characters are described below:



  • Tsukuru Tazaki: He is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is a 36-year-old engineer who designs train stations. He is introverted, quiet, rational, and meticulous. He has a low self-esteem and a lack of identity. He suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts after being rejected by his friends in college. He tries to overcome his past trauma by reconnecting with his old friends and finding out why they abandoned him. He also tries to find love and happiness with Sara, his girlfriend.



the leader of the group and the one who initiates the friendship with Tsukuru. He plays rugby and guitar. He studies architecture in college and becomes a successful architect. He is married and has a daughter. He is the first one who Tsukuru contacts after 16 years of silence.


  • Oumi: He is one of Tsukuru's friends from high school. His name means "blue sea". He is smart, calm, kind, and loyal. He is the peacemaker of the group and the one who supports Tsukuru the most. He plays piano and chess. He studies law in college and becomes a lawyer. He is married and has a son. He is the second one who Tsukuru contacts after 16 years of silence.



  • Shirane: She is one of Tsukuru's friends from high school. Her name means "white root". She is beautiful, elegant, graceful, and mysterious. She is the most feminine and artistic of the group. She plays violin and paints. She studies fine arts in college and becomes a painter. She is single and lives alone. She is the third one who Tsukuru contacts after 16 years of silence.



  • Kurono: She is one of Tsukuru's friends from high school. Her name means "black field". She is attractive, sexy, bold, and rebellious. She is the most masculine and aggressive of the group. She sings and dances. She studies business in college and becomes a corporate executive. She is divorced and has no children. She is the fourth one who Tsukuru contacts after 16 years of silence.



  • Sara: She is Tsukuru's girlfriend in the present time. She is a 38-year-old travel agent who arranges trips for wealthy clients. She is independent, adventurous, practical, and assertive. She has a lot of experience in love and sex. She encourages Tsukuru to find out what happened to his old friends and why they rejected him. She also helps him to find them and to arrange meetings with them.



  • Haida: He is Tsukuru's friend from college. His name means "gray field". He is intelligent, curious, mysterious, and enigmatic. He shares a dorm room with Tsukuru for a semester. He introduces Tsukuru to Liszt's piano suite Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage). He tells Tsukuru a strange story about his father and a man named Midorikawa, who claimed to have a special ability to see people's death marks. He also gives Tsukuru a riddle about death that he never solves. He disappears without a trace after leaving a record of Liszt's piano suite for Tsukuru.



  • Eri: She is Haida's girlfriend from college. She is pretty, cheerful, friendly, and outgoing. She likes to play tennis and to watch movies. She meets Tsukuru through Haida and becomes his friend. She invites him to join her and Haida for dinner and movies several times.



  • Kuro: She is Shirane's nickname that she uses in Finland, where she lives and works as a potter. It means "black" in Finnish. She changes her name after she moves to Finland to escape from her past trauma in Japan.



  • Shiro: She is Kurono's nickname that she uses in Tokyo, where she lives and works as a corporate executive. It means "white" in Japanese. She changes her name after she graduates from college to reinvent herself as a successful woman.



Symbolism




The novel has a lot of symbolism that adds depth and meaning to the story. Murakami uses various elements such as colors, water, dreams, scars, and death to convey deeper meanings and emotions. Some of these elements are explained below:



loyalty, and sadness; white represents beauty, elegance, grace, and mystery; black represents attractiveness, sexiness, boldness, and rebellion; gray represents intelligence, curiosity, mystery, and enigma. The absence of color represents emptiness, loneliness, depression, and identity crisis.


  • Water: The water in the novel represents life, death, change, and purification. Tsukuru often swims in pools or lakes to relax and to clear his mind. He also has a recurring dream of being submerged in water and seeing his friends' faces. He associates water with his friends' betrayal and his own drowning. He also uses water as a metaphor for his life and his relationships.



  • Dreams: The dreams in the novel represent reality, fantasy, memory, and imagination. Tsukuru often has vivid and bizarre dreams that blur the line between reality and fantasy. He sometimes enters or exits dream worlds through portals or devices. He sometimes communicates or interacts with other characters or entities through dreams. He sometimes learns or reveals secrets or truths through dreams.



  • Scars: The scars in the novel represent trauma, pain, loss, and healing. Tsukuru has a scar on his chest that he got from a surgery when he was a child. He feels like his scar is a mark of his defectiveness and his difference from others. He also feels like his scar is a symbol of his friends' rejection and his own wound. He also uses scars as a metaphor for his life and his relationships.



  • Death: The death in the novel represents betrayal, violence, guilt, and forgiveness. Tsukuru learns that one of his friends was murdered six years ago in an unsolved case. He also learns that another friend was involved in the murder and that he was the motive for it. He feels like he is responsible for their death and that he needs to atone for it. He also uses death as a metaphor for his life and his relationships.



Themes




The novel has several themes that are relevant and universal. Murakami explores themes such as friendship, betrayal, identity, self-discovery, love, and forgiveness. Some of these themes are explained below:



Friendship: The novel explores the nature and value of friendship. It shows how friendship can provide support, comfort, joy, and meaning to one's life. It also shows how friendship can be fragile, unstable, conditional, and destructive to one's life. It raises q


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