Monday, September 29, 2008

Kafka on the shore

What a fantastic book! A great story, characters I liked, wonderful writing, oh and the references to mythology and literature. And it was pretty much a page-turner, not much more you can ask for really.

Haruki Murakami tells two stories in alternating chapters. One is of a 15-year-old boy named Kafka who runs away from home and is trying to make sense of things on his own. The other is of an old man named Nakata who as a child had an accident and after which he lost his memory and with it any education he'd received - he ended up alone and considered dumb. Oh and he can communicate with cats.

Their two stories are somehow connected, though not necessarily in the physical sense. While reading this book I had moments when I thought I understood what was going on, but they'd disappear fairly quickly. Even now, I'm pretty sure that there are many layers of the book that I just didn't get. Apparently Murakami himself said that the secret to understanding the novel lies in reading it multiple times...

I really loved the way normal life intertwined with the characters' inner life, how their physical quest mirrored their internal quest. And I loved the references to japanese literature, history and religion - it makes me want to read more Murakami and learn more about Japan.

Challenges: A-Z Challenge, 1% Well-Read Challenge, 10 out of 100 out of 1000, Chunkster Challenge, Japanese Literature II, Orbis Terrarum, Seconds 2008, What an animal!


Ana S. said...

Yeeees! I couldn't agree with you more. I just loved this book :) And there was a lot I missed too, but I enjoyed the reading experience so much that by the ending I didn't even care about making sense of things. But I bet I'll see new things in the story when I return to it one day.

Lezlie said...

Penman's "Devil's Brood" is taking me forever to read! It's awesome, but it is about 700 pages of tiny print. I'm anxious to get to other books I've been reading about, like this one!


joanna said...

nymeth - there are so many books to re-read, I think I'll have to be more serious about planning them in!

lezlie - i just looked that up and it sounds kinda cool... what's the first one in the trilogy? And I think you'll like Kafka on the Shore!

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ The first two books are:
"When Christ and His Saints Slept" and "Time and Chance".


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I have been wanting to read this book for several years. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

Tasha said...

I'd like to read this soon. I also want to finish The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, which I started over a year ago but never finished.