I should be so lucky as Tsukuru. Things do get better.
Basking in the warm glow of this book, it’s interesting to reflect on how I came across it.
There was the Nobel prize news which vectored across my attention: Haruki Murakami, once again, didn’t win the prize for literature. Maybe it was that news that caromed my view to notice a hipsteresque review of this book where the reviewer said this was his favorite Murakami book. Surreal (science-fictiony?) enough but not quite to the level of people disappearing into TV sets.
A visit to my online library found the title available with no wait. I took it as an omen and checked it out on the spot.
I read the book in two sittings, about a week or so apart. That in itself is a bit of an oddity. But the stream of consciousness style of the storytelling lends itself to deep immersion. It's also a fast reading book.
And much more conventional that I thought. There’s a guy, Tsukuru, who has a life in high school he’s amazed by. A small circle of friends that really rocks. He figures he doesn’t really deserve such luck. To his mind, he’s colorless while the others in the group are the very definition of color.
He goes off to college and everything falls apart. Not only does his life move on, but his friends all of a sudden give him the cold shoulder. Why? He can’t figure it out.
Tsukuru preservers, in his manner, eventually meeting someone who, after hearing his story, tells him he needs to go back and face his past. Even though 15 or so years have passed, or maybe because of it, he decides to do so.
The rest of the arc is his odyssey reuniting with his high school buds and getting the rest of the story, so to speak.
I’ll let you find out how things wind up.
So, yes, this is a nice balance of simple and complex. Lots of interior action but in a real enough context.
And a great change from the hard boiled thriller genre or the distance of Middlemarch, if that's what you've been reading lately.
For me, I’ll at least have read this one by Murakami when the Nobel bell finally rings his name.
Got a suggestion for a good read? Leave it in the comments!