20 Wednesday Aug 2014
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The latest addition to my website is Haruki Murakami‘s 色彩を持たない多崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年 (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage). This book has had mixed reviews but, though it is not your standard Murakami (and shorter than some of his recent ones) I still enjoyed it very much, not least because Murakami writes so well and tells a good story. The eponymous hero, Tsukuru Tazaki, is colourless in two senses. He has a group of four friends at high school, all of whom have the name of a colour in their name, while he does not. However, he feels that, as far as his character goes, he is colourless. When the four friends cut him off, without any apparent reason, he is mystified and, indeed, suicidal. It takes him some time to get over this and it is only, many years later when he has a new girlfriend, that he is determined to find out why they did cut him off. The second half of the book is about this “pilgrimage”. He learns, the hard way, that the route to harmony is through pain and suffering. Though not Murakami’s best novel by any means, it is still a highly enjoyable and readable one. It is quite apposite that it comes out now in English as we are once again in Nobel Prize speculation time. The people at the World Literature Forum are not enthusiastic about Murakami as a Nobel Prize winner. While he is perhaps not the best unNobeled writer around, I certainly would not be disappointed if he won. The last Japanese winner was Kenzaburo Oe twenty years ago so it may be time for another Japanese laureate.