A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014
A New York Times Notable Book
A Guardian Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Bestseller
Nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
Nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award
"Hardly a soul writes of the listening and playing of music with such insight and tenderness. . . . There are moments of epiphany gracefully expressed, especially in regard to how people affect one another. . . . The book reveals another side of Murakami, one not so easy to pin down. Incurably restive, ambiguous and valiantly struggling toward a new level of maturation. A shedding of Murakami skin." -Patti Smith, The New York Times Book Review
"The new book . . . added to my appreciation of Murakami's writing."
―Huffington Post (UK)
"This is a terrific novel, in which the author's clinical tone-colorless, if you will-works to the strengths of the book, chronicling a young man sorting through old friends and old mistakes, the hopes of finally feeling his life take hold. Though the structure is nearly episodic, and the hero's adventures are a familiar mix of the comic, the horrific and the just plain odd, the book has a clear and melancholy thread: Life is bewildering, and we must choose to cherish and to ignore the incidents that we decide fit best, or not at all, in our ideas of ourselves, like plucking out a tune on the piano."
―Daniel Handler, The New York Times Book Review
"A tender, wistful, intermittently mystical group portrait of youthful love and loss."
-The Independent (UK)
"The book enacts the slow awakening of colorless Tsukuru to full-blooded life by moving gradually from deliberately flat diction to lush arpeggios of similes."
-The New Yorker
"Over a long and varied career, [Murakami] has crafted a strange and unique narrative style at once realistic and fantastic. . . . Happily, Tsukuru's unpredictable progression of events is underpinned by one of Murakami's most spare and moving stories. . . . Murakami's dreamlike, illogical sense of reality has always been one of his greatest strengths; focusing his talents on this simple but suggestive tale, he delivers a powerful emotional payoff."
-The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo)
"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki clearly delights. . . . It's worth the read."
-The Times (UK)
"[Murakami's] work defies most of the usual categories. Beneath a cool, calm surface of prose as plain as Hemingway's, there are so many things going on. . . . [He has] a brilliant gift for storytelling and a strangely hypnotic power." -The Sunday Times (UK)"The great theme of his novels is how we spend our lives circling back toward the intensities of adolescent emotion. . . . His instinct is always to push back toward what things used to mean; his virtuosity is in tracing the nuances of the impossibility of that return. Tsukuru's pilgrimage will never end, because he is moving constantly away from his destination, which is his old self. This is a narrow poignancy, but a powerful one, and Murakami is its master. Perhaps that's why he has come to speak . . . for so many of us who love art- since it's only there, alas, in novels such as this one, that we're allowed to live twice."
"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is a stirring novel of loss and conciliation, of unanswerable mysteries, fragile hope. There are passages of considerable beauty and insight, and moments of magic and a sense of the sublime which we have come to expect from Murakami."
"How does he do it? His sentences are as unfussy as Finnish furniture. His plots do not require much joinery. His characters are vividly grained, but often mysteriously so. Yet within a paragraph, Haruki Murakami's novels cast a hypnotic spell. . . . Colorless Tsukuru spins a weave of such vivid images around a great mystery."
"I . . . love this tendency of Murakami to focus as much on the mundane as the mystical. I sink into his books when I read, enjoying the familiarity and even intimacy with the main character. . . . I don't think I have ever heard loneliness described so honestly and accurately. If any theme is universal, surely this must be one."
-The Independent (UK)
"Murakami has specialized in his unique detailing of contemporary alienation. His novels excel at navigating between reality and its variations-free-associative dreams, historical interpretation, psychological memory and philosophical imagination. . . . Relationships past and present interweave seamlessly in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, a testament to Murakami's mastery with the ever-shifting present."
"Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is a thing of beauty. . . . The indelible sadness of Murakami's story, which pulses with a strange melancholy . . . will resonate after the book's beautiful cover is closed."
-Winnipeg Free Press
"Skirting the edges of magic realism, Mr. Murakami deftly weaves together past and present… human metaphysics beautifully distilled. So too is the author's hold over his readers as we urge Tsukuru on. It is through the liberation of love that he may find his place in the world. Tsukuru's-and our-relief when he finally submits to desire, to the messy multiplicity of life, is palpable."
-The Wall Street Journal
This is a book for both the new and experienced reader. It has a strange casualness, as if it unfolded as Murakami wrote it... The book reveals another side of Murakami, one not so easy to pin down. Incurably restive, ambiguous and valiantly struggling toward a new level of maturation.
-Patti Smith, The New York Times
Murakami is a Japanese writer but he is also a "global" one, meaning that his works are best read not as expressions of Japanese culture, but as examinations of questions that concern all humanity. What is the nature of the individual self? What is the meaning of "happiness," or "success," in the global age? What is the soul, and how do we get one? ...These are just a few of the many issues Murakami addresses, and they affect us all.
"Another tour de force from Japan's greatest living novelist. . . . 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."
-Kirkus, starred review
"A vintage Murakami struggle of coming to terms with buried emotions and missed opportunities, in which intentions and pent up desires can seemingly transcend time and space to bring both solace and desolation."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is one of [Murakami's] most coherent and, in its tight and tidy way, one of the most satisfying. Those who miss the goat-heads and the demons and the parallel worlds in which anything can happen shouldn't worry. There's enough unresolved human mystery in this novel to suggest that they'll be back."
-The Financial Times
"This book still gives readers all the mythic proportions and trademark elements of Murakami's earlier writing. It brims with tantalizing possibilities: a supernatural tale-within-a-tale, a crossroads deal with a demon, biological oddities, vanishing people, erotic and violent dreams that reach into reality, and even a tragic and eerie murder mystery."
- SFGate (Review)
"All the author's signature flourishes are here, including a significant piece of music… an impressive range of cultural reference… and a deep interest in sex."
-The Guardian (review)
"One of the can't-miss books of the summer."
-The Toronto Star
"Murakami consistently delivers plausible weirdness."
"I read Colorless Tsukuru as I have read all Murakami's previous books… voraciously while, simultaneously not wanting it to end."
-The Observer (US)
"I will simply say that "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki" is about agonizing adolescent experiences that forever scar the soul. It is a deeply affecting novel, not only for the dark nooks and crannies it explores, but for the magic that seeps into its characters' subconsciouses, for the lengths to which they will go to protect or damage one another, for the brilliant characterizations it delivers along the way."
-The Washington Post
"Murakami is one of those rare novelists who can turn our ordinary lives… into something wondrous."
"Murakami regards his characters with a level of compassion that borders on the godlike, producing a moving and heartfelt sense of people essentially trying to do their best... This is a rich and even brilliant piece of work that pulls off the tricky feat of being genuinely resonant and satisfying, while still keeping some of its secrets hanging tantalisingly out of reach."
-The Spectator (UK)
"The simplicity and depth of Murakami's work give it its irresistible quality… In this book, Murakami provides a dose of his brand of originality, made up of sex, music, ghosts, auras, alienation, and a yearning for connection… The novel feels like a riddle, a puzzle, or maybe, actually, more like a haiku: full of beauty, strangeness, and color, thousands of syllables long."
-Meg Wolitzer, NPR Books
From the Hardcover edition.