Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

by Haruki Murakami
4.3 175

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Kafka on the Shore 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 175 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
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.
Breeze_in_Austin More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really taken deep into this book. Couldn't put it down. He is now one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Unlike anything I have read before
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
R_Taylor More than 1 year ago
This was my first, and almost certainly, my last Murakami read. If I knew nothing of the author, I would assume this is a first effort, and that it's intended to be juvenile literature. The overriding theme is not terribly profound, and Murakami takes much longer to state it than he needs to. Of course, he spends so much of that time being overly didactic. Do we really need to hear about how great Schubert's D major sonata is for some three pages? Really, Murakami lets his ego creep into this novel way too much. He identifies specific films and works of music that he apparently loves and which therefore can help the rest of us on our paths to rebirth. And his imagery is at times naive to the point of being ludicrous. A character wakes up one morning to hear a shower of bird calls as the birds flit busily from branch to branch. He hasn't been outside or even pulled back the curtains yet! How can he know that the birds are flitting from branch to branch? Of course, this could be a problem with the translation, but it's pretty weak one way or the other. And then there's the character who suddenly remembers having written a book. What is the likelihood someone would forget having written a book? This is the weakest novel I've read in some time. Now I can easily believe that Murakami is someone who just suddenly decided at a baseball game that he could write novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great novel, that carries a reader through the philosophical debates of one's lives in disguise of a exciting , twisting storyline that truly makes one wonder
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual in his books, you have a surreal story where reality and dreams, the grotesque and beauty, kindness and dark raw emotions intertwine. Overall one of my favourite books from him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book. Beautifully written. Thanks for the translation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murakami is a genius!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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elencheraDB More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me wish I could write.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
FIRE22 More than 1 year ago
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 :))