Sunday, December 27, 2015
Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in January 2006
Source: bought it
Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom.
As their paths converge, and the reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder.
I read this one with Ti of Book Chatter, an avid Murakami fan who first introduced me to Murakami in 2013 when we read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as part of a readalong. It was such twisty fun that I couldn't resist asking Ti if I could read along with her when she said she was going to reread Kafka On The Shore.
Oh, Murakami - you really do such marvelously strange things to my mind. I doubt there's another author who could get me to read a scene about mutilating and killing cats and have me not throwing the book out the window. Come to think of it, you would have had a hard time convincing me that I would enjoy a book that included talking cats, falling eels, men making love to their mothers. But I did, I really did enjoy it. That's the magic of Haruki Murakami.
Woven into all of that craziness is a realistic story about a young man desperate for love and a simple old man who suddenly finds the world he's known turned upside down. Sure there is a village straight out of "Brigadoon," but there are also marvelous friendships and fragile characters. Maybe it turns out that I actually like fantasy. But I think my fondness for Murakami lies in his ability to make me forget I'm reading a literary novel that just happens to have fantasy elements...like spirits that move at will.