Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Book - 2006
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With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come. This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it 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. Extravagant in its accomplishment, Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world's truly great storytellers at the height of his powers.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Vintage International, 2006
Edition: First Vintage International edition
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9781400079278
Branch Call Number: FIC MURAKAM 2006
Characteristics: 467 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Gabriel, Philip 1953-


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Jul 18, 2019

excellent story development,, just want to keep reading and OH and Aw.. love his style

AnaGM May 22, 2019


Apr 14, 2019

Put simply, this is a remarkable story written by a true 'story weaver'. As an avid reader, I find Haruki's brilliance in a category of its own due to his use of metaphor, symbology, philosophy, intrigue and character development. Weaving plots that at first appear somewhat normal, he incorporates elements unlike any other, along with eroticism you wouldn't expect. I found the 'concept' of the Col Sanders character fascinating and realized the importance. Themes of forgiveness, 'the now' and others make their way into the story demonstrating the author's wisdom and creativity. Having read "1Q84", "Killing Commendatore" and others, this book is yet another that shows of his unique brand of story weaving.

Apr 03, 2019

Mysterious, magical and a complete mindf***. A page turner that kept me at the edge of my seat, simultaneously needing to find out how it ends and not wanting the book to end.

Feb 12, 2019

15 year old Kafka Tamura runs away from his home, looking for his long estranged mother and sister. Meanwhile an evil soul called Johnnie Walker, is killed by an elderly Nakata who rescues runaway cats. The story chapters blend in at too many points, forming and re-forming a number of puzzles. It is up to the reader to discern the reality from the stories. Did Kafka really fulfill his oedipal curse as his father believed? Are Johnnie Walker and Kafka's father one and the same? Is Miss Saeki really Kafka's mother? Is she also the person Kafka meets in the alternate universe? This is one of the best works of Murakami, and a definite read!

Jan 05, 2019

An engaging tour through Murakami's world. I read and then listened to this book and I think the pictures are better in the written form.

Feb 24, 2017

I have mixed feelings about this book. Borrowing various bits and pieces from Shintoism, Murakami has invented a clever system of meta-physics but he doesn't explain it. Instead, he slowly reveals how it works through the narrative. If you don't clue in to what's happening to the characters under the surface, you'll just be confused by the seemingly random events (and talking cats) in the story. On the other hand, Murakami's writing continues to impress, and I found the book's highly emotional ending very satisfying.

DCPL_JohnB Nov 10, 2016

It’s a fascinating, surreal book. This is a world where weird stuff happens, where something can be both true and false simultaneously, where the consequences of actions echo a hundred miles away. Yet the characters deal with all this the best they can.

But the story is also an enigma; complete understanding seems to drift just out of reach. Most questions here don’t have answers—most mysteries remain unsolved. No two readers will have the same interpretations. It can be confusing, even mind-bending. Yet Murakami’s style is so effortless and simple that it belies his underlying riddles. If you want someone to spell it out, plain and logical—if you’re uncomfortable with drawing your own conclusions, making sense of untied plot threads, or accepting magical realism, this probably won’t be an enjoyable book for you.

That said, this is one of the best books I've ever read. Open to interpretation and filled with wonder, it's sure to leave a strong impression.

Jun 17, 2015

My second Murakami novel and he's done it again. The spirals, twists, oddities, engaging characters and intriguing story are all there making this another wonderful read.
Kafka is a magical tale about facing your inner insecurities and having the courage to accept and forgive. It is an interesting way of telling a story with this objective and Murakami pulls it off with a magical, ripple in the fabric of reality story-telling way that draws you in.
The weirdest things happen, two storylines that seem unrelated spiral slowly towards each other, the characters are endearing (Nakata is a truly wonderful individual).
There are parts that aren't explained but that's okay...that's the way Life is.

KateHillier Mar 15, 2015

That was interesting and I do mean good interesting. I've already gone and put a second book of his on hold. This is categorized as science fiction but it's really that plus magical realism plus coming of age and a few other things. The book does get quite odd - time and space are weird, people can leave their bodies for whatever reason, there are weird not-god like entities but it really is all quite fascinating and really interesting to read. Considering this is translated from Japanese that's even more impressive.

There are two narratives here. One is of freshly minted 15 year old "Kafka" who has decided to run away from home. The other is of a simple old man who can talk to cats and uses that skill to find lost ones. The former has a disturbing prophecy laid on by his father, the latter's advantages and disadvantages are caused by a bizarre illness that befell him as a child. Both characters end up on a road trip both physical and otherwise. Overall it's a dense but light read if that makes any sense and I found myself really enjoying it.

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Feb 12, 2019

"Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren't any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It's hard to explain, but that's the kind of novel I set out to write"
- Haruki Murakami

Laura_X Apr 24, 2017

It's like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.

Apr 05, 2015

"Strength itself becomes your morality... The strength I'm looking for isn't the kind where you win or lose. I'm not after a wall that'll repel power coming from outside. What I want is the kind of strength to be able to absorb that outside power, to stand up to it. The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortune, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings."


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Jul 31, 2017

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Sep 26, 2012

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