Wednesday, November 12, 2014


This is my first Murakami novel, and I have to say this:  He needs a better translator.  The dialog was unnatural, and the smattering of unnecessary split infinitives was annoying.  I have to blame the author, though, for the zillion loose ends not tidied up by the end of the novel.  In high school Tsukuru finds himself joining 2 other men and 2 women in a very tight-knit group of friends.  Tsukuru is the only one of the five who goes away to college, and soon one of the men in the group tells him that the group is severing ties with Tsukuru completely, with no further explanation.  Tsukuru is dumbfounded but makes no effort to find out why the group has so unceremoniously dumped him.  He goes into a tailspin and contemplates death until another young man befriends him and drags him out his funk.  In his 30s, Tsukuru meets Sara and becomes romantically attached to her.  She, however, feels that Tsukuru’s past is interfering with his ability to sustain a close relationship, and she insists that he visit the other 4 members of his old clique to find out why they ousted him.  What ensues is not so much a pilgrimage as an awakening as to how the truth will set you free.  Tsukuru’s self-esteem ironically has suffered for all these years over a schism partly brought about by his perceived emotional strength, relative to the other members of the group.  Auras and erotic dreams fuel Tsukuru’s self-loathing and, coupled with a particularly odd tale about death, lend this book a sort of otherworldly atmosphere that does feel culturally peculiar and foreign, despite the universal themes.  I recommend that you take this journey with Tsukuru, as long as you’re not expecting closure.  Colorless it is not.

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