I thought I would try an audio book and picked up Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage at my local library.
I can’t say I was that impressed. Murakami is clearly a talented writer. He uses interesting turns of phrases and you can easily get lost in the flood of words.
However, I didn’t find the characters or plot that interesting. Tsukuru is one of a group of 5 close friends as they are growing up. After he goes away to Tokyo for university, his friends suddenly pull away from him, shutting him out. This event shapes Tsukuru’s life and his relationships.
In theory this could lead to an interesting novel. However, this book really feels colorless. From the audio book reader presenting the whole book in a near monotone to the monotone life of the lead character, this book lacks spark. I wondered as I was listening if this was a reflection of a more subdued Japanese culture (living in the US can make other cultures seem rather pale).
I can’t say I enjoyed reading this book, but it did make me wonder if it is indicative of Japanese literature (or even his other books).