Kafka on the shore – Haruki Murakami 3

Worth a read
Kafka on the shore - Haruki Murakami

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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  1. 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.
  2. Metaphysical – open to several interpretations.
  3. I fell for the Nakata character. The characterization is impressive.

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  1. If you are grounded, and like real characters and real stories, this might be beyond comprehension.
  2. 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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  1. 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.

Book Details:

Title Kafka on the shore
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle Edition
Flipkart Paperback
Flipkart eBook
Editor(s)/Author(s)/Illustrator(s)/Translator(s) Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
Publisher Random House UK

About Menaka S

Menaka is a computational linguist by education, an optimist by attitude and a dreamer by how she spends her time. Being left-brained, she runs PlusMinus'n'More to indulge her right brain interests.

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3 thoughts on “Kafka on the shore – Haruki Murakami

  • Ravi

    Good one menaka. While doing a book review,it would be nice to put original cover image along with the post. Readers would get a nice insight.

    Fantasy is one of my favourite subject,but never came across this one. May be because of an aversion towards Japanese fantasy after seeing movies like 47 ronins.