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Kafka on the Shore (Vintage International) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 448 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“An insistently metaphysical mind-bender.”
–The New Yorker
“If he has not achieved that status already, Haruki Murakami is on course to becoming the most widely read Japanese writer outside Japan, past or present.”
–New York Times
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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
- Publication Date : January 18, 2005
- Publisher : Vintage; 1st Edition (January 18, 2005)
- ASIN : B000FC2ROU
- File Size : 2045 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 448 pages
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,210 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I just finished it and let me say, I love it. To be honest I cant pinpoint exactly what makes this book so extraordinary. It may be the fact that there are twists and turns you don't see coming. It may be the random scenes that occur that make no sense but someone work with the story. It may be that although there are two completely separate story lines, they somehow blend together so well. To be honest, it was probably all of that and some more. If you were to ask me the moral of the story or what the story was about, I don't think I would be able to tell you. But one thing I know for sure is that this is a book everyone should read. It is exciting, unlike any other books I read, and draws you in. You make connections to the story, and the characters are way ahead of the times. All and all, it is worth the read.
Kafka on the Shore reads like one of those dreams. It's something apart from your daily world. You think it's spilling over into your waking memories, but if you take a closer look, you recognize how it's always been a part of you and always will be.
And just like one of those dreams - one so fabulous, so fantastic, and so utterly involving - you don't want it to end.
What makes it so? The poetry of Mr Murakami's metaphors strike deep. His characters are well drawn, each one unique in their uniqueness. They're not transparent and definitely not predictable. To say what or who they are would not do them justice and would sell your experience short. However, when it's all said and done, and if you open yourself up to the self understanding, it's not difficult to see that each one is a part of you.
And the story itself? Well, like Nakata or Hoshino, you must be patient to see where events take you. Just when you think you have it figured out, Mr Murakami adds another twist to the plot or to the metaphor in play all the way up to a very perfect ending. And you still don't want the dream to end even though the alarm clock of the last word on the last page is ringing out, telling you the dream is over and it's time to put the book down.
The basis for the book’s title is the name of a song, “Kafka on the Shore” that Miss Saeki wrote when she was young and in love. Kafka reads through the lyrics and becomes enamored with the tune. The song’s lyrics mentions “little fish” raining from the sky and a girl’s “search for the entrance stone”, both which are part of this novel. In fact, the song is sort of an allegory for much of the novel’s premise.
I think my favorite quote that comes from this book is when Miss Saeki is speaking with the young protagonist Kafka on a book she wrote about lightening: “The book didn't come to any conclusion, and nobody wants to read a book that doesn't have one. For me, though, having no conclusion seemed perfectly fine.”
I thought this a fitting quote in some ways, as it seems to illustrate and depict not only “the quest” in Kafka on the Shore, but the entire Murakami reading experience. This is my third read from Murakami (I read Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle within the last year) , and what I’ve come to realize is that there are no easy answers or solutions in his works. There are few very definites; rather, metaphors come to be the basis for the plot. Emotion often is the central piece in directing a character towards a path. The search is always ongoing. Part of the journey of Kafka on the Shore is putting your own conclusions together. And this is what I love about Murakami’s books. He can take the trivial of life and combine it with the illogical, imaginative and symbolic and somehow make it all work. There is a poetic brilliance about the journey, one that takes us to two converging storylines to a new place and destination.
Perhaps Oshima, speaking philosophy to Kafka about tragedies, says it best when he quotes “Man doesn’t choose Fate. Fate chooses man.” This is indicative of Kafka on the Shore’s direction.
Top reviews from other countries
Einen Spannungsbogen hat das Buch nach meiner Einschätzung kaum, von manchen Abschnitten abgesehen, in denen sich innerhalb von Kapiteln etwas Spannung abbaut, die dann meist noch im selben Kapitel wieder abebbt, plätschert es eher vor sich hin. Das tut der Erzählung jedoch keinen Abbruch, denn so bleibt mehr Raum für die Ausleuchtung des Innenlebens der Charaktere. In den Dialogen findet sich immer wieder ein sehr trockener Humor, der mir gut gefällt. Es wird nicht immer klar, was tatsächlich geschieht und was nur in Träumen, aber das hat für mich einen gewissen Reiz.
Wer einen spannungsgeladenen Roman erwartet, ist bei "Kafka on the shore" falsch, wer einen Roman sucht, der zur Selbstreflexion anregt und sich in surrealistischen Gefilden bewegt, ist hier genau richtig.
Maybe the only problem is that this is not my genre.