“Kafka On the Shore” by Haruki Murakami Review

Kafka On the Shore

Kafka On the Shore

Author:  Haruki Murakami

Released:  2002

This is a book that I doubt everybody would love. It is really weird, and lurid, and the ending is not entirely satisfying. Much like my favorite David Lynch movies however, I enjoyed the entire story, even with all of the crazy twists and turns Murakami takes.

Let’s see how well I can describe the plot without spoiling it. There are two main characters, Kafka and Mr. Nakata. Kafka is a fifteen year old boy who as the book is beginning is leaving the home he lives in with his dad. Part of the reason for his leaving involve his mother and sister. His mother left the family when he was four years old, taking his sister with her. Kafka also sometimes talks to or is advised by a boy named crow throughout the book, who is seemingly a part of Kafka himself.

Mr. Nakata is an older man who was normal as a child but after something happened to him is now seemingly not an entire person. He can not read, he has trouble remembering things, and even his shadow is missing something. Nakata gets a subsidy from the government to survive, but also supplements his income by finding lost cats. Nakata is able to speak to cats which helps out with this line of work.

The plot is set in motion by a few things. In addition to Kafka’s leaving, his father had previously told him that at some point Kafka would have sex with his mother and sister and murder his father. Mr. Nakata meets an individual named Johnnie Walker who changes Nakata’s trajectory to a persistent quest.

I could go into more crazy plot points, like ghosts visiting at night, strange things falling from the sky, or Colonel Sanders finding special rocks, but the entire book takes itself seriously and stays consistent within its own internal logic. This being a Murakami book there are plenty of allusions to the character’s past and kinky sex stuff involved. As I said, the entire thing is not for everybody but if you’re willing to go along with the story this was a lot of fun and very provoking.


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