Customer Reviews for

Kafka on the Shore

Average Rating 4.5
( 171 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(97)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 9
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2007

    Interesting read

    The style of the book reminded me a bit of Kurt Vonnegut's style. I read it within 3 days and I keep thinking about it. Although everything isn't answered in the story, I think it's enough to keep the reader more than satisfied (after all it makes the reader think about it more). It's so different from the other things I've been reading lately that I just find it refreshing and intriguing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Murakami is one of our greatest living authors, and in my opinio

    Murakami is one of our greatest living authors, and in my opinion this is his masterpiece. Kafka on the Shore is so beautiful and so surreal it will leave you haunted for days. The characters are so masterfully crafted that they will become a part of you. The existentialist themes are so profound that they will change you. This book is designed to make you think, and more importantly, to make you feel. And it does both those things, powerfully.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    Walking a Tight Rope Between Real and Unreal

    Escaping the bounds of reality seems so simple in this amazing book by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, one of today's most original and mind-bending writers. The translation from Japanese to English is absolutely stunning as the language is both vivid and detailed. Following the story of a 15-year old boy as he finds his way through the mysteries of life, Murakami crafts a story that jolts the reader from concrete feelings to far-fetched imagery. Let go of what you expect and know of the world and allow yourself to venture into this meandering tale full of surprising twists and turns. Murakami's greatest feat is his ability to make what is surely impossible seem so real and lifelike - from a man who can talk to cats, to strange characters who resemble familiar characters from modern day product marketing like Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders. The tale is told in such a way as to suggest a dreamlike state where life isn't what you expect, and is much more vivid than we normally allow.

    Not a love story, exactly. Not a coming of age parable, either. Not a thriller or mystery. And yet, it weaves together elements of all of these into one masterful piece of writing that will keep you glued to the pages. Set in modern-day Japan, the story is filled with contemporary references, making the situations seem entirely plausible. But as the plot twists and meanders, it is clear that what you are reading requires a suspension of reality and a willingness to take in the well-crafted writing as merely a different way to see things.

    Kafka Tamura finds love and adventure as he fights to uncover the power of his father's oedipal prophecy. As he travels Japan as a runaway, he finds himself wondering if his path is chosen for him as fate, or if he is living a life of coincidence. While wondering, but not searching, for the mother who left him as a young child, his only sister gone with her, he discovers much more than he bargained for.

    Having lived in Japan, the descriptions of the people and the places immediately drew me back to times spent in this friendly, yet oftentimes exotic locale. Reading Kafka on the Shore made Japan seem less foreign, and more strange at the same time. The language is compelling, even as it has been translated to English - a notable feat not generally achieved.

    Murakami will be regarded as one of the world's most unique and creative fiction writers and Kafka on the Shore is the perfect example of all he brings to the written page.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful & Compelling

    Kafka on the Shore left me breathless.

    After years of an unnamed but horrific abuse, 15-year-old Kafka Tamura deliberately plans an escape from his father, a man so evil that he steals souls. As Kafka seeks both his fortune and answers to his past in the seemingly random city of Takamatsu, he finds refuge in the stacks of a library, becoming close friends with the assistant and fantasizing that the head librarian is his lost mother.

    Though the magic realism of this novel begins right away - and is at times complex and also seemingly random - about a quarter of the way into the book the plot and characters burst into focus and harmony. The secondary plot (involving a mentally-damaged man who can talk to cats and is on his own quest) all of a sudden aligns with Kafka's life, and the entire story dramatically rises in a tornado of crazy events and emotions: murder, incest, and oedipal prophecy.

    The ending of this story was so beautiful that I couldn't read for a full day afterward from the emotional hangover. I can't wait to read more Murakami.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Kafka on the Shore

    Auther has a fantastic imagine thing he write it. His imagine so strange. But I did not stopped this book. I'm so curisity next page and next contents. I had interested Japanese novels about this book. This book is two people stories mixed them. It was funny and marvelous. I like this book and other Haruki's novels.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2007

    Luved It!

    I was really taken deep into this book. Couldn't put it down. He is now one of my favorite authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    WOW!

    What a great book. Beautifully written. Thanks for the translation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Brilliant

    Murakami is a genius!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Fun to read

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    To read Kafka on the Shore is to weave through the malleable bou

    To read Kafka on the Shore is to weave through the malleable boundary between reality and fantasy, to meet philosophical prostitute, talking cats, and characters like Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders, to dream of the dialectics of Hegal and the continuous time of Bergson converging with the Oedipal complex, to journey into Haruki Murakami’s imagination.




    I want to know whether Kafka killed his father, whether the librarian was his mother, and whether he was dreaming when he met his mother. I want to know whether Nakata was just fantasizing that he could talk to cats. But as in Murakami’s other two novels, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, reality and dream synthesize into a world that transcends truth or illusion. And Murakami takes us along his wonderland and shows what we too could imagine if we free our minds from the biases, the limits, and the cannots we have accepted as truth.




    Reality almost seems sterile when we immerse ourselves in Murakami’s surrealism. And I invite you to dream along with Murakami on a shore far into the sea of imagination where a song’s lyrics echo back into reality.


    Leonard Seet

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  • Posted February 6, 2013

    I¿m working steadily through Murakami¿s books. Norwegian Wood re

    I’m working steadily through Murakami’s books. Norwegian Wood remains my favourite book not just from the Japanese master but of all time. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle was very different but something about it left me in a state of wonderment and awe at this genius. Next up for me is Kafka on the Shore. This acclaimed novel follows two narratives that have eventual links. The first sees 15 year old Kafka Tamura flee from his father in Tokyo where he eventually comes to Takamatsu. Kafka’s father has given his son strange portents about a modern day Oedipal tragedy playing out for Kafka. Kafka is somewhat lost in the world, having been abandoned by his mother and sister years before. Kafka suspects he sees his mother and sister in some of the women he meets but this forms one of the novels many riddles. At a library in Takamatsu, Kafka comes to stay and work, forming a close friendship with Oshima and becoming fascinated by the owner, Miss Saeki, whose past is one of tragedy.

    Elsewhere we have the story of Mr Nakata, an elderly man who is mentally challenged but can talk to cats. As a boy, Nakata was part of a group of schoolchildren that simultaneously fell into comas for no apparent reason. Though the children awoke unharmed, Nakata remained in a coma and when he did come to was a very different person. Like Kafka, Nakata begins a journey of his own away from Tokyo, finding kindness in strangers and later friendship from a truck driver, Hoshino, who stays with the old man and helps him complete his quest. Aside from these concurrent journeys there are strange things going on in the novel such as fish raining from the skies, a pimp that resembles Colonel Sanders and even two soldiers that appear from a forest having seemingly not aged. Once again, this is weird, wonderful and magical Murakami all rolled into one.

    While those descriptions don’t do the book justice, it is hard to elaborate on this fascinating book. Murakami answered over a 1,000 questions from readers on a Japanese website, readers eager to know the true meaning behind it all. Truth be told, the reader can take from this their own meaning. Murakami suggests reading the book at least twice to form a better opinion for yourself but it seems there are no right or wrong answers, and doesn’t that make for a memorable read? Between the real world and the significance of dreams and alternate realities, I found my own meanings in Kafka on the Shore and although I personally don’t rate this quite as highly as Norwegian Wood and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, it retains the essence of what I love about Murakami: the compelling characters, the mystery, depictions of Japanese life be it exciting or monotonous, and just that seamless writing style that the author probably finds easy but leaves the rest of us bewildered. Another Murakami masterpiece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    So awesome.

    Makes me wish I could write.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Great read!

    Some of Murakami's best work. I've read all of his books and while I still like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the best, Kafka on the Shore is a great metaphysical ride!

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  • Posted August 22, 2012

    This is my favorite Murakami book. The characters stay on

    This is my favorite Murakami book. The characters stay on your
    mind days after you have finished reading the book. I love how
    Murakami plays with words and come up with interesting thought
    that would haunt your mind. Two thumbs up! Next book to read: 1Q84 :))

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Its Murakami, how can you not love it?

    Of course, another amazingly, refreshingly, beautifully written and -at times- awkward novel by Murakami. I swear, I am in love with this man's mind. The stories he portrays are so out-of-this-world and interesting, you cant help but marvel at them. Kafka on the Shore is about a 15 year old boy that fulfills a rather sad destiny and about a 52 year old man named Nakata that -without knowing it- helps Kafka fulfill his destiny. As always, Murakami's stories contain rather strange sex scenes so be on the lookout for some. Im trying to read all of Murakami's novels and this is my 5th one. Im currently reading Dance, Dance, Dance. This novel gets 4.7 stars.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Murakami is a unique writer who weaves the mundane with the far reaches of imagination in a seamless fashion which leads the reader to terrifying and fantastical places with an ease that is itself seductively unsettling. Think Borges meets Tom Robbins.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    A

    A

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Amazing

    My family likes to say that I am a book snob. I tell them that I enjoy quality books. There's a difference. I don't enjoy mindless fiction, the type of books that you can tell the ending just by reading the synopsis on the back. I want to have to think while I read, and I HATE when everything is tied up neatly in the end, with the whole plot explained. Kafka on the Shore is exactly what I love in a book. A complex plot with 3 dimensional characters with a plot that takes serious thought to understand, but one that can still be enjoyed. It is a story that has to be read through more than once in order to get the full effect. If you are a fan of smart fiction, Kafka on the Shore is a good bet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    My first Murakami and I'm addicted..

    I loved this book. It was mysterious and insightful. It took me off guard on numerous occasions. Great read if you're looking to escape reality for a little while.

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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Murakami, enough said.

    The book delves into a side of Sci-Fi that is not expected. Just as do the majority of his works. This is an earlier shorter novel that will needle away in your mind dragging you further into the story. He has a way with his story that engrosses, and since he translates himself, there is no mistaking what is meant. I highly recommend this book, but be rady to not want to lay it down!!!

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