Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy.
The ageing Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.
As their parallel odysseys unravel, cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghost-like pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since World War II. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle – one of many which combine to create an elegant and dreamlike masterpiece.
Review of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
” 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑠𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑑𝑔𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑,
𝐼 𝑎𝑚 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒.
𝑊𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠
𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑤 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑜𝑟.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑜𝑛 𝑎 𝑠𝑙𝑒𝑒𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑟𝑑,
𝐿𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑠ℎ 𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑘𝑦.
𝑂𝑢𝑡𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑟𝑠,
𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑖𝑒.
𝐾𝑎𝑓𝑘𝑎 𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑖𝑟 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑒,
𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑙𝑢𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑,
𝑊ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑑,
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑤 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑢𝑛𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑆𝑝ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑥,
𝐵𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎 𝑘𝑛𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑝𝑖𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑚𝑠.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑟𝑜𝑤𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑔𝑖𝑟𝑙’𝑠 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠
𝑆𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑐ℎ 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑛𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒.
𝐿𝑖𝑓𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑜𝑓 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑧𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠,
𝑎𝑡 𝐾𝑎𝑓𝑘𝑎 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑒. ”
𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐭 𝐌𝐨𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝𝐲.
This storm is you- something inside you. This book is all about time travel intermingled with magic realism.
The parallels of Kafka and Nakata are perilous trails and keeps this book moving forever. Talk about KFC, Johny Walker, Led Zeppelin, Prince in an epic story and wow- every single character is fleshed out as real.
Murakami’s work is between a reedy line of magic and realism. The plot converges and diverges with there is no conclusion.
The oedipal curse that Kafka faces may not be the central theme but one of the greatest elements of Murakami’s writing here.
Even if we call it an oedipal myth, Myths are like a reservoir containing every story there is.
The characters, then, who are fixated (Saeki, Kafka’s father, Johnny Walker, and even to an extent Crow) are centres of unhappiness. Oshima, Nakata, and Colonel Sanders, conversely, are middles of wisdom and possibility, precisely because they neither insist on nor are subject to misapprehensions of permanence
Well, the secret to understanding the novel lies in reading it several times as Murakami suggested.
This one is an insistently metaphysical mind-bender that would ask you to re-read again and again till your soul realizes the soul of this book.
My favourite read of 2019.