Book review: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

 
Book Review: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel
Device: Paperback
Location: On the bus and subway downtown; it was also present when I lost my wallet (if not the cause)
Rating: Mind-bending

 
My only regret is that it’s taken me this long to read anything by Haruki Murakami. (Not counting, of course, his short stories “Scheherazade” and “Lederhosen” which I read while I was working for Books LIVE.) Much like my experience with Umberto Eco, I thought myself too dim to understand anything he’s written. I’m glad to say I was wrong.

In fact, not trying to understand everything is probably best when tackling a book like Kafka on the Shore. The story is told by two very different narrators – Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old runaway, and Mr Nakata, a simple old man with the ability to speak to cats.

My favourite part of the book is of course the fact that a large portion of it takes place in a beautiful old library in rural Japan. Kafka and his ever-present companion, the boy named Crow, flees Tokyo and a damning Oedipal prophesy. In his desperate mission to get as far away from his father as possible, Kafka ends up at the Komura Memorial Library in Takamatsu. Nakata embarks on a similar journey after his search for a missing cat turns everything topsy-turvy, and as the story progresses their two paths eventually converge, but not in a way the reader might expect.

Kafka on the Shore is not a book you race to finish. You take your time, sharpen your pencils, sip your coffee while savouring the rich language, vivid descriptions and imaginative metaphors.

In a word, it’s mind-bending.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Book review: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

  1. Pingback: Book review: Rusty Bell by Nthikeng Mohlele | Reviews on a Train

  2. Pingback: Book review: Rusty Bell by Nthikeng Mohlele - Reviews on a Train

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s