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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage

Haruki Murakami
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Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage

Thirty-six-years old Tsukuru Tazaki lives in Tokyo and works as a constructor of railway stations. In high-school, when he still lived in Nagoya, he had four best friends, whose surnames contained expressions for colour. The boys ware called Akamatsu, red pine, and Oumi, blue sea, while the girls were called Shirane, white root, and Kurono, black field. Only the Tazaki surname had no word for colour, but meant “to make”, “to build”.

One day Tazaki’s friends in a conspiracy and without explanation decide to break all contacts with him. Nobody wants to see him or talk to him anymore. Tsukuru Tazaki finds himself on the edge of despair, he retreats into himself and thinks of suicide. Although he eventually pulls himself together, he lives in loneliness as he becomes unable to connect with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that due to his past he is too emotionally blocked. He should face his traumas if he wants their bond to have a future. Tsukuru Tazaki is inspired by Franz Liszt’s suites “Years of Pilgrimage”, more precisely by Le mal du pays (Homesickness), performed by Lazar Berman. When he visits his former friends one by one to find out the truth, this in a way constitutes the climax of his own pilgrimage. (RN)

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