New Books – Week of August 12

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage marks a new direction in Murakami’s fiction: a return to the lyrical realism not seen since his 1987 novel Norwegian Wood, but set against the social realities of contemporary Japan.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage centers on a devastating emotional betrayal and its consequences. Tsukuru Tazaki belongs to a tight-knit group of five friends in high school–three boys and two girls who form a perfect circle they imagine will stay together forever. But when Tsukuru returns home from college in Tokyo, he finds himself inexplicably rebuffed by the group. Something has changed, but nobody, not even his closest friends, will tell him what.

Years later, Tsukuru, now a successful engineer, begins dating an older woman named Sara and confesses to her the shadow this betrayal has cast over his life. Sara urges Tsukuru to try to find his old group and to try to solve the mystery that has haunted him all these years: why did they suddenly turn on him?

On a quest to discover the truth, Tsukuru travels back to meet his old friends–with the exception of Shiro, the group’s most volatile and psychologically unstable member, who he learns was strangled to death in an unsolved murder six years ago. As the dark truth about Shiro reveals itself, Tsukuru must confront the simmering emotional undercurrents that the group had suppressed in order to reach their ideal of perfect friendship.

Can love overcome isolation? Is it possible to truly reach another person? Can buried emotions ever really stay buried? And will confronting the past allow Tsukuru to finally open himself up to the future?

Fool's Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Fool’s Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.

Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.

FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . . .

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