Tsuruku, Ao, Aka, Shiro and Kuro were friends in high school. They were very close, and were in harmony with each other, like the fingers on your hand. They all had colourful names except Tsuruku. Something happened and Tsuruku was kicked out of the group not knowing why or what happened. The wound was so deep he wanted to die. He came through transformed, not only physically but mentally as well. He never let anyone get close to him. People blinked in and out of his life and left him behind without a backward glance or a goodbye. He feels colorless in a world full of color and he feels like he is becoming transparent. His life is stagnant and dull.
His girlfriend Sara knows that what happened to him 16 years ago still weighs on his mind and suggests that he get to the root of what happened so he can unblock himself and finally move forward in his life.
This is a simple story. I wont say that there is mysticism here when there isn’t, symbolism where there isn’t any and no deep meanings because I would be lying. At the heart of this book is a man who was deeply wounded by four friends and never knew why. Tsuruku is alone but not lonely he goes about his daily routine and while he wants someone in his life he isn’t capable of doing it. I can’t go too much into things as it would give a lot away and that wouldn’t be fair.
This is a different book for Murakami. There aren’t any fantasy elements, no falling down the rabbit hole here, just a simple story. It is very well written and lyrical as is usual for him. It’s like a grownup version of Norwegian Wood. It kept me reading, to find out why Tsuruku was so completely cut adrift by the friends he was so close too. There are a lot of loose ends, as typical for Murakami’s books, more loose ends than I care for but it is what it is. I did enjoy this book, I loved the simplicity of it, the journey of discovery and the fact that we don’t really know what we mean to others and how we impact on each other.
This is more like a journey than it is a pilgrimage. He finds the answers he was looking for and also finds that he was the most loved of the group. To them he was the most colourful of all.
Buy: Amazon UK