BookBrowse Reviews Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on The Shore

by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami X
Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2006, 448 pages

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A masterpiece, entirely Nobel-worthy. Novel

From the book jacket: A tour de force of metaphysical reality, 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.

Comment: I thought this was a marvelous novel, although I'm not sure that I entirely understood it. The upside is that I'm not the only one, it seems that even Murakami had trouble understanding it! As he says, 'This may sound self-serving, but it's true. I know people are busy and it depends, too, on whether they feel like doing it, but if you have the time, I suggest reading the novel more than once. Things should be clearer the second time around. I've read it, of course, dozens of times as I rewrote it, and each time I did, slowly but surely the whole started to come into sharper focus.'

'Occasionally, the writing drifts too far into metaphysical musings—mind-bending talk of parallel worlds, events occurring outside of time—and things swirl a bit at the end as the author tries, perhaps too hard, to make sense of things. But by this point, his readers, like his characters, will go just about anywhere Murakami wants them to, whether they "get" it or not.' - Publishers Weekly.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in March 2005, and has been updated for the January 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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