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!