Tsukuru Tazaki always thought himself to be colourless, devoid of any personality. The only thing he likes is train stations. Whenever he is upset or sad or mulling things over, he goes over to the nearest station and sees the trains pass by. He lives a quiet life, has work associates but no real friends to speak of. In his high school days, he did. He was part of a close knit group of five, who would spend hours talking to each other. There was no dearth of topics, there were no awkward conversations – the five of them just fit together. Then suddenly one day, Tsukuru is let go off, without the four offering a reason. That feeling of abandonment has been part of Tsukuru’s life ever since. Maybe that’s why he can’t open up to people or get to close to them. He has had girlfriends but no one serious. The only other person he considered to be his friend, Haida, also left him without even a goodbye. But when he finds Sara, he is forced to confront these unresolved issues from his past, to question why he was left so unceremoniously on the road.
As with Haruki Murakami books, there are dreams and nightmares, which typically lend an extra dimension, but that’s not so with this book. The dreams are recurring, with sexual connotations, even an element of homosexuality thrown in, but it does little to convey the jumble of thoughts and doubts of the protagonist. It’s true that every life is a journey, a pilgrimage rather to find oneself, but Murakami fails to engage with his latest book. The words are simply lacklustre and colourless.
Ps: Like with most Murakami books, you get little tit-bits.