WHO: Haruki Murakami
WHAT: COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE, a novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf August 12, 2014
WHERE: Set mainly in Japan.
WHY: “Another tour de force from Japan’s greatest living novelist.
“Poor achromatic Tsukuru. For some inexplicable reason, his four best friends, two males, two females, have cut him off without a word. Perhaps, he reckons between thoughts of suicide, it’s because they can pair off more easily without a fifth wheel; perhaps it’s because his name means ‘builder,’ while all theirs have to do with colors: red pine, blue sea, white root, black field. Alas for Tsukuru, he ‘lacked a striking personality, or any qualities that made him stand out’—though, for all that, he’s different.
“Fast-forward two decades, and Tsukuru, true to both his name and his one great passion in life, designs train stations. He’s still wounded by the banishment, still mystified at his friends’ behavior. Helpfully, his girlfriend suggests that he make contact with the foursome to find out what he’d done and why he’d deserved their silence. Naturally, this being a Murakami story, the possibilities are hallucinogenic, Kafkaesque, and otherwise unsettling and ominous. That old saying about not asking questions if you don’t want to know the answers—well, there’s the rub, and there’s Tsukuru’s problem.
“Murakami writes with the same murky sense of time that characterized 1Q84, but this book, short and haunting, is really of a piece with older work such as Norwegian Wood and, yes, Kafka on the Shore. The reader will enjoy watching Murakami play with color symbolism down to the very last line of the story, even as Tsukuru sinks deeper into a dangerous enigma.
“Murakami turns in a trademark story that blends the commonplace with the nightmarish.” —KIRKUS, a starred review
“Guaranteed instant best-seller status—absolutely, deservedly so.”
—Terry Hong, in a starred review for LIBRARY JOURNAL
“Vintage Murakami.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a featured, boxed review
“That Murakami’s densely metaphysical, narratively labyrinthine novels have become worldwide bestsellers (the Japanese edition of this book sold one million copies in its first week after publication) may be as confounding yet somehow inspirational a phenomenon as the books themselves are devilishly difficult yet hypnotically fascinating.” —Bill Ott, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
From the beginning of the book: From July of his sophomore year in college until the following January, all Tsukuru Tazaki could think about was dying. He turned twenty during this time, but this special watershed—becoming an adult—meant nothing. Taking his own life seemed the most natural solution, and even now he couldn’t say why he hadn’t taken this final step. Crossing that threshold between life and death would have been easier than swallowing down a slick, raw egg.
Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
Publicist for this title: Gabrielle Brooks | 212-572-2152 | firstname.lastname@example.org