Inspite of several recommendations over the past few years, I managed to read “Kafka on the shore”, by popular Japanese author Haruki Murakami very recently. The author narrates two parallel stories which interweave and culminate towards the end. 15-year old Kafka runs away from his famous sculptor father’s house in search of his mother and sister. He lands in a library run by Takamatsu where Oshima, a transgender is the librarian and Miss. Saeki is the manager. Nakata, who has a strange childhood affliction, due to which he has this uncanny ability to speak with cats, is on the track of a lost cat. Their lives come together at the end. Or one can interpret that they are one. For instance, Nakata has an urge to kill the sculptor and within a few minutes, loses consciousness. And somewhere in a different part of the country, Kafka wakes up amidst some bushes with blood smeared over his clothes and hands.
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- A surreal, fantastic and magical story displaying the author’s creative genius — Cats have names and speak to people; Shadows go faint and distribute among people; Fish rain from the sky; Dogs speak and lead people to a magician called Johnie Walker; Johnie Walker kills cats, eats their hearts, extracts and preserves their souls for use in his sculptures.
- Metaphysical – open to several interpretations.
- I fell for the Nakata character. The characterization is impressive.
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- If you are grounded, and like real characters and real stories, this might be beyond comprehension.
- The author describes the episode of Johnie Walker killing the cats the preserving their souls in such detail that it is ghastly and repugnant.
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- Just wondering if something was lost in translation, though the English version of the book has won awards for its translator Philip Gabriel. There are some gaps in comprehension – is it me or the translation or the metaphysical nature of the story!
Read, after hushing up your logical mind.