Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

In the introspective new novel from Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, a young man eventually discovers his sense of self worth after being cast out from a tightly-knit group of friends. It's a melancholy, realistic story set in contemporary Japan.

The Books on Tape audiobook [10 hr] is a totally hypnotic performance by actor Bruce Locke, who uses a slight Japanese accent for lines of dialogue. I was transported by Murakami's descriptions of sensory quotidian details. The mystery that lies at the heart of the story, the reason why his friends rejected Tsukuru, is another thing that kept me hooked.

On the same morning that I started listening to this book, I read an article in The Week about Murakami's use of music in his writing. Because of that, I took note any time a particular musical piece was mentioned. Franz Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage Suite (Annees de pelerinage) is the most significant. (Also the obvious source for the book's title.) I listened to this piano composition streaming via Edmonton Public Library's Naxos Music Library database. It captures the mood of Murakami's sorrowful and lovely tale about being human.

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