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Kafka on the Shore Paperback – January 3, 2006
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Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be "the world¹s toughest fifteen-year-old." He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his days--continuing his impressive self-education--and is befriended by a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters.
To say that the fantastic elements of Kafka On The Shore are complicated and never fully resolved is not to suggest that the novel fails. Although it may not live up to Murakami's masterful The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Nakata and Kafka's fates keep the reader enthralled to the final pages, and few will complain about the loose threads at the end. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The first half of the book had me sitting up reading in the early hours of the morning, it was that good. I'd never read anything quite like it and was fascinated to see where the story was going to go. I appreciated the book's readability too, with the author conveying complex ideas without getting bogged down in complex language. Some of the reviews I've read subsequently are less readable than the book itself, so don't be put off by thinking you need to be an intellectual to read it.
Unfortunately I felt that after the first half of the book, the sense of wonder began to fade and instead of being content to be caught up in the plot I was starting to wonder where it was going to go and how long it was going to take to get there. To be honest I hung in there for the last quarter mainly because I didn't want to abandon the book having come this far. It's not that the writing deteriorated or that the storyline wasn't still interesting, more that the characters weren't developing any further and it looked like they weren't going to. The plot just played itself out and I lost that "Wow, I can't wait to see what happens next" feeling.Read more ›
The two fundamental themes of the book are simple, and in fact, quite clichéd: one can run, but not escape, and life needs to be dealt with; and that every person has a purpose and a destiny to fulfil. The way these themes are illustrated is, however, far from simple, and to do so, Murakami shares with us two tales: one of a precocious fifteen-year old boy who leaves home in an attempt to escape his oppressions, and the other of a mentally challenged old man who needs support on many fronts to just go through daily life, but has curious abilities like being able to converse with cats and making fish rain from the sky. Both the protagonists undertake fascinating physical and metaphysical journeys which inevitably weave together at the end, but in very unusual and interesting ways. Accompanying them, or somehow associated with them, on these journeys are just a handful of other characters, who while clearly playing a supporting role, are essential to the "success" (as in some logical conclusion) of the journeys, and are enchanting in their own right.Read more ›
Despite the many familiar elements, there are several significant deviations from the usual formula, starting with the protagonist Tamura Kafka. Unlike the typical 30-something "everyman" familiar to readers of Murakami, Kafka on the Shore features the young and proactive Tamura Kafka and to the best of my knowledge is the first of Murakami's novels to be written half in the third person, giving Murakami a bit more freedom in telling this tale from different characters' perspectives. More important than narrative technique was Murakami's approach to the story: whereas many of Murakami's novels are full of a sense of loneliness and a feeling that the characters are chasing after something which is already beyond their reach, Tamura Kafka is very much in charge of his own destiny as his choice at the climax of the novel indicates.
Although Kafka on the Shore started off wonderfully, by the second half of the book, the plot became unusually linear and predictable for a Murakami novel. The Nakata/Hoshino plotline in particular was cryptic without the scope or wonder of Wind-Up Bird, for example. Oshima, one of the most interesting characters Murakami has created (and that's saying a lot) is sadly underused in the second half.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very entertaining and the story went with me even after reading the book.
There are a lot of metaphors which were crafted nicely and succeeded in coming up with a beautiful... Read more
Simply a fascinating story with deep,heartfelt dialog shedding light on life and lost love. Murakami, once again, masterfully varies tone of the book and keeps you involved in the... Read morePublished 3 days ago by KhmerJeff
Another amazing book by Mr. Murakami. Time shifts literally as you walk the path of his beautiful prose, deeper into the forest of you. Read morePublished 6 days ago by John Kalb
I'm glad I was able to start my year off with reading this book. It was a very pleasant read that put life into perspective in many different ways. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Reid Holden Jones
Different but in a good way. Makes you think about the story and the characters but not so much your brain hurtsPublished 13 days ago by Julie Oswald
If you have a closed mind, this will make you uncomfortable. If you have an open mind, you will fall in love.Published 16 days ago by chef wannabe
I wonder if there be even one in five audiobook readers, not listeners but maybe as well, who know that there is no such word as "momento." In fact, the word is memento. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Public Name