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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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
One of the best Murakami works to start off the Murakami fever!!!Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Everything ever is a metaphor. This is true, unless you're my ex-girlfriend, who broke up with me because I frequently thought everything ever was a metaphor, and let her know... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Scrooge McSalieri
It's a hard axiom to embrace that we are all connected: it is harder to accept responsibility for the effects our actions or inaction have on humanity past, present and future.Published 18 days ago
An amusing and intelligent jaunt with Murakami's delightfully romantic imagination.Published 21 days ago by Michael Pantaleoni
Kafka on the Shore is like a modern day Hamlet with a few twists and turns.Published 22 days ago by Lingy
Unlike any book I've ever read. Enthralling stuff from a master story teller. For most of the book I had no idea what was going on, and yet I couldn't stop reading.Published 23 days ago by David Myers
Always love going to Murakami for an entertaining and engrossing read while travelingPublished 25 days ago by A. Torres