To my behold, I believe that the genre of Magical Realism has been made only for Haruki’s works. I do not recall myself reading in such genre for other authors without me sinking in too much fantasy and very little realism then I end up reading something like Game of Thrones or Harry Potter; however, it’s quite the opposite in Haruki’s works. I remember when reading Kafka on The Shore, I paused for almost two hours in a try to observe how in the hell he was able to incarnate the human spirit on a character that we’ve known as fictional: Johnny Walker. He was Kafka’s father and he played a pivotal role in building the story. The same applies to Colonel Sanders.
“You can hide memories but you can’t erase the history that produced them.”
Nevertheless, Haruki will not lose sight of creating the natural human dialogue between the characters; his characters are thinkers, skeptics, recount many of the events that occurred with them during their day, dreamers, and most important; that all characters are developing characters, were secondary or main. And this makes the plot in a permanent escalation and definitely adds to the mood.
Yet, he’s the ability of overlapping the story’s reality (Haruki’s reality) with the reader’s reality and make the events one gigantic ball of mixed realities that make it hard for the reader to distinguish the truth from the fiction and start questioning the real reality if it was true or false; like how Tsukuru Tazaki’s dreams affect the reality of events.
“But I do think that sometimes a certain kind of dream can be even stronger than reality.”
When reading Haruki’s, especially when the book is finished, I recallJames Mccosh: The book to read is not one which thinks for you, but the one that makes you think. This is why I read for Haruki; he makes me think and rethink of everything. It’s true that most of the times he leaves you high and dry, but it’s never in vain; he doesn’t want to tell you:Oh, this is how the story ends. No, he wants to make sure that you are the one to end that story in any way you see fit.
“There are colors I really like in the world and ones I hate. Pleasant colors, sad colors. Some people have a very deep color, while for others it’s fainter. It can get really tiring, because you see all these colors even if you don’t want to.”
What idea did Haruki want us to develop about Tsukuru being colorless? Did he, after all, really was an empty vessel? Colorless person? for as far as I can remember, most of the people I know run the same “colorless” life that Tsukuro’d had, not to include, of course, Shiro’s part in it. But in a way or another, for himself only he was colorless but to the world and to his friends he was a rainbow that contains all the colors in the world. He build railroad stations and for the importance of his being in the group of five friends and for the strong person they thought him to be, he had to be the one to cut off the group instead of Shiro.
Do we take a habit of underestimating ourselves in front of ourselves just because we don’t receive the exact amount of blood, sweat and tears we put in others? Does that make our lives colorless and aimless? Despite the skeptical, defeatist, suicidal and isolationist personage that he possessed, one could not see Tsukuru as colorless as he thought himself to be.
Many of the ideas raised in the novel have reinforced in Tsukuru’s self that he’s colorless and made him build his life accordingly. First, the nature of the names in Japan in general and within the group in particular. Being a teenager means that everything will have an impact on your feelings and your psyche. You will be at the most sensitive stage of your life so that the simplest joke among friends becomes a sufficient reason to turn your life upside down. Naming Tsukuru “colorless” and the comparison of his name with their colorful names was the beginning of everything for Tsukuru. The lack of color in his name made him believe that there was no color in his whole life and built his life on that basis.
“He wasn’t the type of pretty young boy who immediately grabbed people’s attention, but one whose graceful beauty only become apparent over time.”
Second, during adolescence, one feels extremely attached to the group of friends he makes. Everything that happens during this friendship, every world every action affects the passages of his life later on. As much the friendship was strong as much the destruction it will bring when it’s over.
“The four colorful people and colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.”
Not to ruin the pleasure of reading this marvelous novel much more, you must know that, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki would just go on living his colorless life.
* I own a copy of the book.