I first encountered the name Haruki Murakami in a university prereq course. When the classes were held very early in the mornings. I forgot which course but the professor gave us a photocopy of Murakami’s short story: On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning. It is with this vague familiarity that I picked up the book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage from a shelf in Biblio, a store selling second hand books. As I mentioned in my blog post about books I read in 2019.
What happened to Tsukuru
Most likely, the friends you have in high school become your lifelong friends. Even if you go to different universities or colleges after graduation. Seems like that’s what Tsukuru had in mind being part of his circle of friends in high school. That’s what I thought, too. He knew that they will still be his best friends even if he went to attend college in Tokyo after graduation. And the four others stayed behind in Nagoya.
But, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki was wrong. His four best friends with colors in their names suddenly told him to never talk with them. That has got to hurt! This feeling encompasses that of being left out. And I know the feeling of being left out. I experienced it with my own friends. Wondering what was wrong with me. I remember confronting them about it before. Now, I wonder what for. We do not talk to each other anymore. Life and busyness has taken us asunder and get-togethers are as rare as Painite.
Thus, understandably, Tsukuru’s hurting, depressed, yet he still functions well. Out of habit. He wanted to die. His body was just a shell as he felt empty inside, floating and sleepwalking through life. In addition, he had a hard time forming intimate connections with anyone. I could understand Tsukuru’s self-esteem dipping and seeing himself as colorless, average, and lacking in striking personality. Like him, I find myself boring and mediocre.
When the author kept recounting colorless Tsukuru Tazaki’s pain, it came off as pathetic. Good thing Tsukuru met Sara Kimoto, she told him to do something about what’s haunting him. She helped him face his past and get to know the real reason behind his ejection from the group.
Is probably a lesson for me as well. That others’ perceptions of me are quite different from how I see myself. Being rejected is not the end of everything. Who knows? I might reconnect with them one day. Another thing is, somehow, I also have some things and feelings in common with another person. I could find this person one day. Also beliefs, and knowing that I am capable of believing in something is something. Which gives me hope to go on living.
This story is a cliffhanger for me, which I don’t like in books. I was left guessing of someone’s final decision. Therefore, read at your own risk. Although, there were some things that were resolved and some were not. There’s a bit of mystery, if that’s what you look for in books.
These were going through my mind as I was reading this book. Have you read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki? If yes, what did you think?