Sunday, 12 August 2012

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami

Date of Reading: 04/11/ 2007
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translated by: Philip Gabriel
Publisher: Vintage
Place: Great Britain
Year: 2005

        I am not much of a Murakami reader, and I don't like this one. Oh! actually I hated it. Oedipus myth often gives me headaches (I don't expand my imagination there), so its new version in a modern metaphysical world is actually unbearable. Sex scenes with the mother and the slottering of the cats is enough to make one claustrophobic.
         Murakami has once stated that the secret to understand the novel is to read it in multiple times. May be future readers can benefit from his words:

        "Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren't any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes place will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It's hard to explain, but that's the kind of novel I set out to write".
         The novel follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters -- Kafka Tamura (whose real name is never revealed) and old Nakata. Kafka runs away from home at the age of fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy which says that he would kill his father and be with his mother and sister.
         On reaching Shikoku, he takes refuge in the library at Takamatsu. His mother and adopted sister has left him at the age of four and now certain coincidences makes them cross paths again though each blinded to others true identity. His sister Sakura is met on the way and mother, Miss Saeki, is the head librarian. Miss Saeki was in love with a man in Kamura family and when he was killed, her life stopped there. Since then she has had many lovers including Kafka's father, the famous sculptor, Koichi Tamura.
         Nakata, the other man involved in the story is a little odd (but his story is more interesting) as he has the capacity to talk with cats as the result of a childhood accident. Once on his venture to find a missing cat, he meets Kafka's father who asks him to kill him. He has made flutes with the souls of cat by killing them alive, and Nakata has no remorse in doing what he asked. Later he journeys to Takamatsu with the help of a truck driver, Hoshino. He finds an entrance stone and opens another world.
          Meanwhile Kafka goes unconscious at the time of his father's death and on waking finds himself drenched in his father's blood. Miss Saeki finds her former lover in Kafka and they make love. In one of his dreams he seduces his sister and thus the prophesy is fulfilled.

Haruki Murakami
         Miss Saeki has once opened the entrance stone and this killed her lover. After informing Nakata of all this she dies, and the next day Nakata is also dead. Kafka visits the other world; his father's aim is to enter that world and thereby conquer the souls of men. But Hoshino closes the entrance and kills the dirty soul of Tamura. Kafka goes back to Tokyo to complete his education; Oshima, the librarian offers him the job of an assistant.



  1. Sounds like he didn't bother with an actual plot!

  2. Hi! Thanks for the follow... You have a great site! New happy follower.

    Rainy Day Reads


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