This blog post may contain affiliate/referral links. To learn more, please read my disclaimer
Ever since I discovered bookstagram, I have seen Murakami popping up everywhere and I was intrigued. I decided to read Kafka on the Shore by Murakami which is his most talked about book online. Many people warned me that Kafka was not the book to start with and that I would do better with some other books of Murakami that were not so heavy in surrealism. But this was the only book I had at hand and I needed to see what the big deal was. Spoiler alert!! I was mindblown 🤯.
Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom.
As their paths converge, and the reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the peak of his powers
Kafka on the shore is one of those rarest of rare books that utterly baffles you, makes your mind go in loops and ultimately makes you fall in love with it for those exact same reasons.Murakami made me think, he made me view the world in an entirely new way and fall in love with his style of storytelling.
This book is like an onion, full of layer after layer of complexity. I have already re read parts of the books and after each reread, you find more and more new ways to interpret the words. The ideas and concepts keep evolving and I had such a blast reading this amazing book.
“Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into the labyrinth inside.”
I know this is very vague and I haven’t really talked about the plot or chracters but I don’t think its possible to summarise it satisfactorily in a couple of sentences. This is like a literary labyrinth of plotlines and characters, ideas and concepts. You have to read to understand and by understand I mean, get absolutely befuddled.
The last time I read a book that stimulated my mind to this degree was when I read Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. But I am happy that I discovered it now and not earlier because, I don’t think a more immature me would have been able to recognise the genius in action in these pages. I am not saying I completely understood this book, but you dont need understanding to recognise genius, do you? 😅.
Related posts you might like : Review of When I Hit You
About the Author
Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as ‘easily accessible, yet profoundly complex’.
Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences.