- Publisher: VINTAGE (October 6, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099458322
- ISBN-13: 978-0099458326
- ASIN: B004UZYCF0
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 717 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kafka on the Shore Publisher: Vintage Paperback – October 6, 2005
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Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from one-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 affliciton and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall fromt he sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. Kafka ont he Shore displays one of the world's great storytellers at the peak of his powers.
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Murakami seamlessly brings the magical into the everyday in Kafka on the Shore. Fish bizarrely fall from the sky, cats disappear and enlist the help of old men, and figures such as Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders pop into the story. There were parts I found difficult to read - especially those relating to Johnny Walker - but this leads to deep satisfaction at the conclusion of Nakata's storyline.
I think the most enjoyable part of this story is trying to figure out how everything fits together, trying to figure out what Nakata and Kafka and Johnny Walker and the creature at the end all have to do with one another. It may be a cause to give up, but I have my theories, and perhaps other readers will too.
- Murakami did the translation himself, which means the writing conforms as closely to the original intent as possible. Obviously, this is fairly rare for international literature.
- It's magical realism. Don't expect it all to make perfect sense in the moment.
- The book is full of plot twists that aren't telegraphed chapters in advance.
- Maybe incest is a central theme of the book, and maybe it's all just a trick of time and perception.
- Not one single word or element is wasted.
- You need not be versed in metaphysics, WWII-era Japan, or Japanese mythology to enjoy the book, but it really helps.
- There is a seriously gruesome scene involving one of the main characters and cats that's best skimmed for the weak of stomach.
- Murakami is the antidote to modern literature from native English speakers who mistake a clever story for a meaningful one.
You have to be in the right state of mind and peace to read this, and when you are this is an amazing experience.