It's true, folks: a new Murakami novel has been released, and we have it. But you may already know that, given, as none other than Patti Smith put it in her review for the New York Times: "A devotional anticipation is generated by the announcement of a new Haruki Murakami book. Readers wait for his work the way past generations lined up at record stores for new albums by the Beatles or Bob Dylan." In Japan, this book sold a million copies in the first week.
The premise of Murakami's latest concerns a "colorless" man, so-called partly because, in his youth, he had group of close-knit friends of whom each member's surname was a color (Red, Blue, White, and Black) except for Tazaki. The book's central drama concern's Tazaki's estrangement from these friends and, spurred by a love interest later in life, his attempt to reconnect. Naturally, in true Murakami style, Tazaki's journey takes on qualities of a mythic quest.
While saturated with a typical Murakami atmosphere of urban ennui and replete with other trademarks of his style -- realism tinged with dream-like hints of parallel worlds, an obsessive fascination with music, especially classical and jazz, stories within the story that flash back to historical events, and occasional eruptions of weird sex -- Patti Smith also noted that Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki marks a certain shift for Murakami: "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. It is not 'Blonde on Blonde,' it is 'Blood on the Tracks.'" Come get your own copy (complete with beautiful Chip Kidd-designed cover) today!