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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, if not his finest
I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami's work, but after the awful (in my opinion) "1Q84" I confess I wasn't really looking forward to reading this. I'm pleased to say that it is a much more enjoyable read, if a less challenging one.

The book opens rather depressingly with Tsukuru Tazaki full of despair as he has no friends. Back in his youth he was one of...
Published 3 months ago by Peter Lee

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small is not always beautiful.
Compared to the sublime heights he's capable of this was quite disappointing. It's almost like someone trying to copy Murakami and not pulling it off. There's very little breathtaking imagination or great leaps of beauty. It's all very very small scale and quite ....... Colourless. It's still beautifully written of course but I hope he does something more large scale...
Published 4 months ago by G. Howe


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, if not his finest, 10 Sep 2014
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Kindle Edition)
I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami's work, but after the awful (in my opinion) "1Q84" I confess I wasn't really looking forward to reading this. I'm pleased to say that it is a much more enjoyable read, if a less challenging one.

The book opens rather depressingly with Tsukuru Tazaki full of despair as he has no friends. Back in his youth he was one of a group of five friends who were inseparable, but one day the other four ostracised Tsukuru apparently for no reason. He knew that the other four (two girls and two boys) had colours in their names whilst his did not, but surely that couldn't be the reason? He attempts to contact one of his friends to find out more but they simply tell him that he knows the reason already and shouldn't contact them again.

Years later he is on the verge of entering into a relationship but the woman he meets tells him he has issues, and that he needs to find the root cause. He explains about his circle of friends and his isolation from them, and she tells him that he needs to find out why they pushed him out, and that only by doing this will she continue with their relationship. So Tsukuru sets out to contact his old friends and find out the truth.

In many ways it is similar to his earlier work such as "Norwegian Wood", as this is an easy book to read and has a similarly cold atmosphere to it, almost a sterility. It's a bit of a page turner too, especially when Tsukuru starts to find things out, although it is a little repetitive as the latter half of the book is essentially a series of meetings and conversations. As some have commented the ending is a little open, but I drew my own conclusions about what happened next, and although I'd have liked a bit more of a full-stop at the close it wasn't too frustrating.

For those who are new to Murakami this would be a good place to start before venturing back into his stranger, often better books, but for me this was thoroughly enjoyable as it is.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't disappoint, 31 Aug 2014
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dalek78 (Sheffield, S.Yorks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Waiting for a new Haruki Murakami book is like waiting for one of your favourite artists to release a new album. You wait a year, finally get it and then it's all over far too soon. I was hoping this was going to be a longer book, but having said that, anything is going to seem short in comparison to the mammoth IQ84.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage follows a more straightforward story, much akin to Norwegian Wood, leaving behind the more bizarre elements such as parallel lives and other quirks found in previous works like Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

The story follows 36 year-old Tsukuru Tazaki's quest to track down his old high school friends, who ostracised him from their close-knit group sixteen years earlier, for reasons he never understood. In order to move on at this stage in his life, Tazaki realises he needs to find out what happened. Relationships, emotions and the constant reminder of human fragility are at the core of this story, which is also quite brutal in places.

Along the way, we deal with recurring erotic dreams, sex, rape, murder and ultimately, mental health issues; a subject often addressed in Murakami's work. Other familiarities include Cutty Sark whiskey, plenty of meals, classical music and Japanese train stations, which form a large part of the backdrop to this story, as Tazaki's quest takes him from Tokyo to Finland.

As ever, the characters are intimately detailed, sensual deeply thought out – arguably Murakami's greatest strength as a writer is his ability to create fascinating, emotive and absorbing characters, and that's definitely the case here. The English translation clearly keeps the poetry of the writing and vivid visuals and ideas intact.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki was certainly worth the wait, and as always leaves you yearning for more. Once you've been sucked into Murakami's literary world, it's difficult to leave. Plus, you don't really want to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, 29 Aug 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Kindle Edition)
When we meet the main character in this novel, Tsukuru Tazaki, he is a thirty six year old man who builds railway stations. He is single, but has a girlfriend, Sara, and, having been left both an apartment in Tokyo and a fair financial legacy from his father, he has no financial worries. However, Tsukuru Tazaki carries a burden with him and it is one that he has shouldered since he was a young man.

While still at school, Tsukuru had a group of very close friends, each of whom had a name related to a colour – all, that is, except him. Two were girls – Kuro and Shiro – and two were boys – Ao and Aka. The five friends shared everything and, although he went away to college, he felt that they were always there for him. Then, one day, when he goes back to visit his home town, the friends suddenly will not take his calls. One finally tells him that they never want to see, or talk, to him again and he is cut adrift. Tsukuru takes the loss hard and feels suicidal for several months. No reason is given him and he does not ask why they no longer wish to be his friend, but he withdraws. What is more, he feels there is nothing special about him; that it was almost right that he was rejected. Even when, later in life, he makes another friend, Haida (again his name is related to a colour), he is not surprised when he loses contact with him.

Now, Tsukuru’s girlfriend, Sara, asks him to discover why his friends rejected him; leading him on a voyage of discovery to find the reason why he was rejected so long ago. Anyone who is familiar with the writing of Haruki Murakami will find much about this which is typical in style – the familiar tinged with the magical and the sense of unreality which underlies the mundane. Throughout the novel, there is a tune which runs through the storyline, connecting him to certain characters, plus stories and dreams which are woven into the plot.

This is a novel which very much mirrors life. It is poignant yet realistic. During this book, Tsukuru Tazaki has to come to terms with himself, with his relationships and with the fact that he cannot recreate his youth. This is a mature novel, with assured writing, from a novelist who writes of confronting the past and facing the future.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murakami Back on Form, 21 Aug 2014
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deadbeat (Tiptoe) - See all my reviews
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When I first came across Haruki Murakami's works back in 2003 (first Norwegian Wood, then Wind-up BC, then Hard-boiled Wonderland etc etc) my world was blown apart. At the time, I was into authors like Hermann Hesse and Italo Calvino, so my acquired tastes were, while pretty out there, still not quite prepared for Murakami's counter-culture off-kilter beauty and outsider weirdness. There's something about Murakami in particular, and not just Japanese literature in general, which drew me to him. Though one of the big problems for me was translation. I really wanted to find out for myself if what I was reading was really good, or if it was the translator who was really really good. There are significant differences in style between Birnbaum, Rubin, and Gabriel, and it bothered me. I decided in 2006 to travel to Japan, ostensibly as an English teacher, but with the real agenda of mastering Japanese so I could read Murakami in the original. I returned in 2010 having paid my dues. What I'm trying to say with all this is: Murakami has changed my life quite literally. His writings actually compelled me to travel halfway across the globe and stay there for 4 years. Nowadays, I would not say that Murakami is my favourite author. I've moved on. But there is no way I would ever neglect to read any new stories he might publish. I've been burned in recent years. IQ84 was a disappointment to me, as was Kafka on the Shore. I won't say much about those books, except that I was expecting more. I still enjoyed them, and they are still very highly rated by myself, but compare either of those two books to Wind-up Bird Chronicle or Wild Sheep Chase and they fall short. So, when I came to Colorless Tsukuru I was not expecting to be blown away. I had reached that point in my relationship with Murakami to be able to say that his books no longer got me high. Which is bit sad. Well, anyway, what I want to say here is that I was pleasantly surprised. What we have here is a Murakami book which for 300-odd pages reminded me of why I fell in love with Murakami in the first place. The story itself bears a lot of comparison with Norwegian Wood. I.e. a typical "boku" narrator relating his past, and without all the sci-fi weirdness you find in other Murakami books like Hard-boiled Wonderland or IQ84. There are a fair amount of sexual anecdotes, musical discussions, cookery classes, and fairy tales within fairy tales which seem to be axiomatic to Murakami's world. What I like about this book is it's kind of an updated Norwegian Wood, not written in the 80s about the 60s, but written in the 21st century for the 21st century. The characters are older, and the aphorisms have become wiser. You might say that Norwegian Wood is a tragedy written to address the pain of being in love - whereas Colourless Tsukuru is about the more subtle tragedy of time and how it slowly dulls friendships, dreams, love, everything, and once you've got to a certain age, there's little you can do to go back. Both Norwegian Wood and Colourless Tsukuru feature madness as lynch-pins of their characters and both endings are abrupt. The abrupt ending thing was criticised in NW, and I don't doubt the same will happen here. I like it though. It makes sense to me from an artistic, rhythmic, psychological point of view. So while we might be tempted to say Colourless Tsukuru is structurally not anything new, thematically it's a very pleasant update. More weird beautiful insights for older wiser Murakami fans.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this, but would say it is one of ..., 29 Aug 2014
Have read almost everything by Murakami. Enjoyed this, but would say it is one of my least favourite novels he's written. People have commented that it's missing certain things, doesn't expand on others... I think that's the point in some respects; reflective of the main character Tsukuru. If I'd never read Murakami before, I wouldn't have particularly enjoyed this I don't think. Maybe I'd have felt a bit cheated at some of the half-developed or seemingly 'abandoned' plot lines. But, reading this in the context of being familiar with his style, and with the experience of plots in his other novels, I understand the succinctness and brevity, and what he was trying to do with it.

The greatest example I can give of this is that I actually enjoyed the ending. For me, it saved the book and probably earned it an extra star in my rating. It wasn't a particularly eventful ending, but each book doesn't need to end with a car-chase or a mind-blowing speech or thought.

A strong story, but not something I'd recommend to first-time Murakami readers.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to his best, 28 Aug 2014
By 
Mrs. S. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Kindle Edition)
I should start by saving that Murakami is one of my all-time favourite authors and I expect that this fact will not allow me to see his books quite as independently as others, so maybe my reviews of his work should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

This story follows Tsukuru Tazaki. As a teenager, Tazaki was abandoned by his four closest friends for a reason unknown to him. We are now with Tazaki as, sixteen years later; his current girlfriend Sara sets him off on a journey back into his past to discover that reason for the abandonment.

As always with Murakami, I loved the flow of the story and the characters involved. The worlds shown to us are quite simple but given in a lot of detail. The visual images that Murakami presents to the reader are strong and there are thought-provoking discussions raised. I think Murakami’s work would make a great book group read. Like others, I did prefer this to IQ84, as this feels more focussed and back to his original writing style. I also agree with others that the ending felt slightly unfinished but this didn’t mean that I enjoyed the book any less. I think this is a strong read and fans of Murakami’s original earlier work will not be left disappointed by this latest piece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and haunting, 17 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Kindle Edition)
Emotionally gripping with characters and scenes that leap from the page in muted colours. Beautifully written as only Murakami can. A translation of feeling as well as words.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and beautiful, 14 Aug 2014
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I just sat down to start this novel, and 6 hours later I find myself closing it after having read the whole thing in one really quite emotional sitting. This is Murakami at perhaps his easiest to read, and easiest to understand, instead of surreal moments Colorless is full of real emotion.
As I grow older I find myself having these same thoughts and concerns as do the characters in the story, I often think about the past, and about the 'possibilities we had then' that have 'been swallowed up in the flow of time'. Murakami extracts these deeply personal emotions and thoughts and delivers them to the reader in a thoughtful, wonderfully crafted story.

As an aside, I must say I disagree with this growing sentiment that there are loose ends, and that the novel feels unfinished. For me, the novel is a systematic progression of Tsukuru's understanding of both the past, and of himself. And in the closing pages, we see Tsukuru having an internal battle between his doubts (as a person, and in life) and his desires and hopes for the future - the closing paragraphs show a clear degree of character development born from his interactions with the people and shadows of his past. I really believe anybody feeling there was no closure really ought to read those final pages again, because Murakami very successfully plants a seed there, that can allow the reader arrive at their own, very personal, sense of closure.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small is not always beautiful., 23 Aug 2014
By 
G. Howe (UK) - See all my reviews
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Compared to the sublime heights he's capable of this was quite disappointing. It's almost like someone trying to copy Murakami and not pulling it off. There's very little breathtaking imagination or great leaps of beauty. It's all very very small scale and quite ....... Colourless. It's still beautifully written of course but I hope he does something more large scale and with greater depth soon.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sigh., 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Kindle Edition)
A return to good form for Murakami, hints of other works here and there, lending a familiarity to long term readers. Unfortunately one of his older habits also resurfaces. He doesn't finish the story. Not in a 'some things should be left unsaid' manner either, he simply does not resolve any of the plot lines the reader has been traversing. It seems to be going somewhere, then at what seems like a halfway or two third point, it just stops. Unlike it other pieces of Japanese literature, and his own earlier works, there is no sense of this being the natural form of the book. The parallel narratives of past and present in the first half of the book also just stop, making chunks of them seem irrelevant through their lack of resolution or integration into the story. Hopefully he will come back and finish the story. If he does, I will read it. If he does not, this may be the last novel I read by him, having read all his previous works for over a decade now. I can accept artistic decisions. But sometimes they look suspiciously like being...lazy
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