Haruki Murakami's New Novel Journeys to the Past

Manila Bulletin, August 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

Haruki Murakami's New Novel Journeys to the Past


[caption id="attachment_173529" align="alignleft" width="333"] his undated image released by Alfred A. Knopf shows Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Murakami's new novel, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" was just published in the Unites States. (AP Photo/Alfred A. Knopf)[/caption] NEW YORK (AP) Haruki Murakami's new novel is yet another risky reunion with the past. "The past is my treasure chest, and once I open it, I have so many materials in there," says the 65-year-old Japanese author, whose "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" was published this week in the United States. A perennial Nobel candidate whose current book quickly sold more than 1 million copies in Japan and hit Amazon.com's top 5 before U.S. publication, Murakami has saved his fans time by completing a novel of around 400 pages less than half the length of his previous work, "1Q84." But readers will recognize the author's themes of loneliness, disconnection and regret. Drawing upon his memories of broken relationships, Murakami's title character sees himself as dull and unwanted, without "one single quality" he believes "worth bragging about." Tsukuru is a 36-year-old railroad employee still wounded by a loss from his college days, when four close childhood friends abruptly cut him off and wouldn't tell him why. "It's like being thrown from the deck of the ship to sea, alone, at night. And so I just wanted to write about such a sentiment. What I wrote is made up, but the sentiment is true," Murakami said during a recent interview at the offices of his American publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. For author and character, the book is a story of a life examined and reclaimed. Tsukuru seeks out his friends at the urging of a woman he has started dating. Murakami said he began "Colorless Tsukuru" around three years ago as a work of short fiction, but soon found himself caught up in Tsukuru's mystery. The author didn't know at first why Tsukuru's friends had abandoned him and he expanded the narrative as a way of finding out. "I had to know his past," Murakami said. "I'm making it up and at the same time I'm finding it." A native of Kyoto, Murakami has extraordinarily precise knowledge of when he decided to become a writer. The epiphany struck not in childhood, but in his late 20s. …

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