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. It was around 1:30 p.m. on April 1, 1978, when Murakami was attending a baseball game in Tokyo, watching an American named Dave Hilton hit a double.
“And it was at that exact moment that a thought struck me: You know what? I could try writing a novel,” he wrote in the 2007 memoir, “What I Talk About When I Talking About Running.”