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Books I Read: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage & The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami CollageOne of the most unique, unusual authors who still manages to be wildly successful is the Japanese Haruki Murakami, author of like Norwegian Wood (which I haven’t read) and Kafka on the Shore (haven’t read either), as well as some lesser known books I’ve actually read like Sputnik Sweetheart, After Dark, and After The Quake. Yup, I still mean to get to those classics, but in the meantime, I have read Murakami’s latest two books and have reviews both Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and The Strange Library to share.

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki MurakamiThe most recent full length novel from Haruki Murakami is Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage* is, unsurprisingly, the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a man who was once the fifth member of an incredibly close group of highschool friends. He was the only one without a colour in his name, and when he is suddenly cut off from the group after leaving for university, he passively accepts it even as his own life feels meaningless as a result. Decades later, his girlfriend encourages him to finally get closure, and so he tracks down the other members of the group.

Murakami’s writing is quiet and introspective, much like Tsukuru himself, but the novel didn’t have quite the same magic I expected from him. That’s not to say there isn’t a touch of magical realism involved, but this isn’t the best Murakami. The novel gets a bit dull as both the story and the characters themselves seem a bit stalled at times. There is also a decent amount of unnecessary repetition. Mainly, it was hard to care too much about a character that ultimately, did seem so nothing. Even when the big reveal happens, I was let down.

The benefit of reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is that it will cause you to look back on your past a little and perhaps reflect on the people who made you who you are. However, if you are looking to experience Murakami for the first time, I do not think this is the book to start with.

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The Strange Library by Haruki MurakamiIf you are looking for a short and very strange literary adventure, you should consider entering The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami*. Filled with illustrations, this short story tells the weird and wonderful story of a boy who becomes imprisoned in the basement of a library. A paper copy is definitely required in order to get the full experience as each page of text has a matching one of pictures.

I do find that the book reads a bit young in comparison to other Murakami novels–although the main character is a young teen boy. Still, The Strange Library is simplistic, weird, quick is intriguing and engaging with illustrations that match, it is a fun little peek into Murakami’s mind!

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Have you ever read a Haruki Murakami book? In general, his novels are strange but wonderful, and although Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and The Strange Library aren’t my absolute favourites by him, they have definitely encouraged me to pick up more of his books in the near future. I even have a couple on my bookshelf…

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