Anyone who knows me, or the subtitle of my blog, knows how much I love Haruki Murakami. In the event that I find myself being forced to live on an island, on my way I’d grab a few copies of Murakami – and probably The Martian by Andy Weir – to take with me.
Kafka on the Shore is the book that started my literary love affair with Haruki Murakami. It’s been almost two years since I read it and I need to read it again at some point.
I fell in love with the strangeness, the prose and everything from talking cats to soldiers that stopped aging. I loved the bizarre things that happened, the events that shocked me, the surrealism of real life getting intermingled with dreams and the annoyance over Murakami’s ability to end a book perfectly while leaving a hundred questions unanswered. It was one of the first books to truly make me realise how much our experience as a reader is in the hands of the author. Here I was reading page after page and Murakami manipulated it to the last word.
We see a young boy, Kafka Tamura, methodically leave his home in search of his mother and sister or as the synopsis on Goodreads puts it, ‘to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy’. We see him train himself to survive on limited portions of food, his encounters with Nakata, the strange man who can speak to cats and who looks for lost ones for a living, and his escape into a library. I’m afraid if I say any more I’d spoil the book for you because there is so much that happens and every event leads to another. However, don’t go into it expecting a fast paced and gritty story. The story pulls you in at the start and establishes itself in a smooth manner, throwing in many many sentences you’ll never forget and gruesome violent bloody descriptions that will make you cringe. This book has everything to offer, go pick it up!
As for me, once I put it down I wanted more Murakami. I can’t get enough of his work and I hope he writes endlessly and surprises us with his intrigue and mystique. Here’s a writer everyone should read at least once in their lifetime, and better to never stop reading him.
Some quotes from the book:
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”
“Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.”