Jun 25, 2007

[Books] Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the ShoreAfter having my hardbound copy of this book sit beside my bed for months, I finally found the time to finish reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. It's not that this was a bad book - in fact I loved every last bit of it. However it's just hard to lug any hardbound book around so I was severely limited in my chances for reading it.

Haruki Murakami remains to be one of my favorite authors and his unique style of writing is hard to describe accurately. Many interpret his works as his way of breaking up Japanese culture into unusual pieces and subject those fragments to inspection while others simply tag him as a writer who enjoys magical realism. Kafka continues to further muddy the waters and make interpreting his works just that much harder for all of us.

Most of Murakami's works involve first-person narratives where the protagonist is rarely named. This story actually has two major tracks, one involving the boy who has renamed himself Kafka and the other involving an old man who happens to be able to talk to cats. As the story progresses, you'll find yourself lost in their respective worlds and constantly try to piece together how to two story arcs are meant to come together.

To say the story is complex is an understatement. As strange as the plot lines get, it's not that difficult to keep on track. The chapters clearly alternate between the two stories so it becomes an exercise in multi-tasking your brain. As you progress, the pace quickens and you can practically taste the excitement in your mouth as the two threads tie closer and closer together until you are left with one larger story.

As always, expect a lot of surreal situations, sexually-charged scenes and very well defined characters. I think that's one of the best things about Murakami's writing - his ability to craft very human characters with just a few things out of place, those small pieces that make you realize they're not quite normal. That makes all the difference.


  1. I haven't read Murakami's works yet. What's a good Murakami book to start off with?

  2. Murakami isn't for the weak-hearted. be prepared for a pretty significant experience, if ever.

    I'd say try The Wind-up Bird Chronicles or if you'd like to experiment with his short stories, try The Elephant Vanishes

  3. Thanks. I'll put The Wind-up Bird Chronicles on my books-to-buy list. :-)

  4. be sure to tell me what you think once you finish reading it. =D