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I don't know how, but Haruki Murakami reminds me Paul Auster. They have the same warm expressions in their words.
A stunning novel
I've read Kafka on the Shore with Philiph Gabriel's translation (vintage 2005). I loved it. Kafka Tamura seemed older than fifteen but the book made me believe that he is fifteen. It's important because if I don't believe in the main (or any other) character, I can't attach to the story. In this book I felt Kafka is a mature boy but in the end he is just fifteen.
I don't have much to say about the story because the thing I love about HM is his words and way of expression, ability to talk about such simple human feelings with such natural way.
Kafka on the Shore is Murakami’s best novel yet, outshining The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Hard Boiled Wonderland[...] by combining an intriguing, page-turning storyline with absurdly profound metaphysical and postmodern philosophy. The parallel-story structure (also used in Hard-Boiled) adds depth to the novel, without slowing the pace of the narrative. Murakami’s characters are fleshed out and become truly human. A must-read, one of those books you literally cannot put down until you finish. I can definitely see how this became a critical and commercial success - it is a masterpiece.
I don't know if magical surrealism is a genre but that's what I would call Kafka on the Shore. It is surreal in that things happen in parallel worlds and dream worlds that are just as real or more so than things that happen in the "real" world. Events are fantastic, mysterious, even mystical at times. But the magical part is that the two main characters navigate this fantastic landscape in ways that are original, true to themselves, and completely transparent to other characters (some pretty wild ones!) and to us. The lives of the two main characters are intertwined, though they never meet. Kafka, an intense teenage runaway encouraged by an alter ego, "a boy named Crow," to go out on his own, and Nakata, a humble damaged older man who seems "simple" but who has great powers, became so endearing and fascinating that I could hardly wait to see what happened next.
I loved this book, I admit partly because Kafka lives for a time in a library and Nakata can converse with cats! I listened to it on CD because I have a long trip to and from work. It is superbly narrated. There will be many more Haruki Murokami books in my future!