Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Books
Published on: January 26th 2005 (first published 2002)
Genre: Magical Realism, Cultural
Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home 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 affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle—yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
There are books that could make you cry, laugh or even fall in love.
Then there are books that would go deep into the core of your being and stir your consciousness. Books that provokes you to critically challenge once again your pre-constructed thoughts and thereby opening up your mind into the ambiguities of existence. In my honest opinion, Kafka on the Shore is that kind of book. Haruki Murakami’s writing makes me dive deep into the realms of make believe and yet at the same time exposes the realities of life. Of all the thought-provoking books I’ve read, this one probably brought chaos into my mind in the most beautiful way possible.
For the characters: Kafka, the fifteen year old protagonist, is weird like most of HM’s character. But this boy interests me in ways I couldn’t fathom and it is hard to put into words since I’m trying my best not to spoil it for you. However, the way he perceive things allows me to ponder my thoughts carefully. The fears he’s trying to fight along with the independence and strength he manages to hold on to amazes me in a way that it makes you see life in the most pragmatic point of view.
Another character I’d like to talk about is Oshima—the assistant librarian who was a friend and a brother to Kafka. Gosh, I fell in love with his brain.
I am certain that there is an intricate process on how his brain works to make sure it coincides with the workings of his mouth. I wish I could be as erudite as him. Let me share to you a very much on point line of him:
And the last character who deserves a mention is my favourite of all—Mr. Nakata. Nakata describes himself as dumb due to an incident that occurred during the war. But there are things that only he is capable of, which makes him rather more special. I extremely adore his character and I guess I’ve learned the most from him. You know those mantras we live for today like forget about the past, live in the moment or worry about tomorrow when tomorrow is here? Well, that is exactly how Mr. Nakata lives his life and to be honest it is the most carefree living I have ever read/imagined. He is a very interesting and amazing character. I’d love to spend a day with him and be worry free!
With regards to the plot, Haruki Murakami introduces us to the concept of a metaphysical reality. How the existence of some things are different from what humans perceive it to be. In my opinion, this book aims to make humans become open-minded and critical. Honestly, there are times when I read and I actually have to put the book down for awhile to gather my thoughts and understand the lines.
The struggle is real but I enjoyed it so much.
Kafka on the Shore is an important book. And I will most certainly recommend it you my lovely readers!