Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki’

La-kdm1-bk-0717-murakami-01-jpg-20140806David L. Ulin at The LA Times:

Haruki Murakami's “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” begins with a simple premise: A Tokyo railroad engineer, the Tsukuru Tazaki of the novel's title, unable to get over the summer of his sophomore year in college, when for no reason he can determine he was cut off by his close-knit group of high school friends. This unit of five was once inseparable; “We had several unspoken rules,” he explains, “one of them being As much as we possibly can, we do things together, all five of us.”

The betrayal sends Tsukuru into a spiral. “It was as if,” Murakami writes, “he were sleepwalking through life, as if he had already died but not yet noticed it.” It's a condition that lingers into adulthood. “Though he lacked a striking personality,” the author continues, “or any qualities that made him stand out, and despite always aiming for what was average, the middle of the road, there was (or seemed to be) something about him that wasn't exactly normal, something that set him apart. And this contradiction continued to perplex and confuse him, from his boyhood all the way to the present, when he was thirty-six years old.”

more here.