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Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murakami
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Kafka on the shore (original 2002; edition 2005)

by Haruki Murakami

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12,685339187 (4.08)790
Member:Counterfeit
Title:Kafka on the shore
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:London : Vintage , 2005
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:read in 2009

Work details

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)

  1. 100
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (LottaBerling)
  2. 40
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (GaryN1981)
    GaryN1981: Rushdie is one of the masters of magic realism and anyone who appreciates the way Murakami weaves almost impenetrable surrealism into Kafka... will love Midnights Children
  3. 41
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Kordo)
  4. 00
    The Infinities by John Banville (librorumamans)
    librorumamans: Like Kafka on the Shore, Infinities plays with multiple points of view, alternate realities, and riffs on other works (in this case Kleist's Amphitryon). Both Murakami and Banville tackle big ideas directly and indirectly through the structures of their books. Banville, in my opinion, pulls this off more coherently.… (more)
  5. 00
    A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami (koenvanq)
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    Anathema Rhodes: Dreams by Iimani David (Mary_Z)
    Mary_Z: I enjoyed both these books for their mysticism and freshness. "Anathema Rhodes" has more challenges and is clearly more socially and politically conscious, but the feel and flow of the story reminds me of Murakami's "Kafka...". I sincerely recommend both!
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» See also 790 mentions

English (283)  French (14)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (8)  Danish (5)  Catalan (4)  Italian (3)  Finnish (3)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Estonian (1)  Polish (1)  All (339)
Showing 1-5 of 283 (next | show all)
I can't quite put into words the way reading Haruki Murakami's words makes me feel. Though not as good as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I'm still left with the feeling that this book has in some way changed my life. And that's rare. There's just something so completely intriguing and captivating in his words. This novel left my head spinning and me wanting more. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
3 ( )
  ronchan | Nov 14, 2016 |
Giving this book a three-star rating seems unjust. When reading it, I found much I liked about the work, yet having had a few days to digest it, find myself struggling to justify just exactly what I found so appealing.

To deal first of all with the good, Kafka on the Shore is on a basic level a decent page-turner. Two related stories are interwoven, chapter for chapter, and while they don't necessarily come together in the end, the narrative is nicely paced and suitably eventful to keep the reader engaged. There are various themes on display, from the Oedipal tragedy and the journey to adulthood, together with more complex issues dealing with time and reality, and plenty of the metaphorical and surreal elements to spice things up. If you aren't enamoured by 'magic realism' this will no doubt be an instant turn-off.

As for the prose, which some other reviewers have complained about as stilted or to be blamed on the translation, I found the book to be for the most part very pleasantly written. It must be said that the translation is American, which for a British reader did jar on occasion. There were also moments when the dialogue came across as particularly unrealistic and forced, but this probably has more to do with Murakami squeezing in a lot of metaphysical/philosophical discussion. This is a novel in which 15-year-olds can discuss interpretations of Schubert, and pick up books on Napoleon's Russian campaign on a whim. It won't appeal to everyone, but the discussions and ideas floating around in the book make for interesting intervals in the action.

Unfortunately, having finished the novel I found my admiration began to wane. As others have pointed out, there is no 'satisfactory' conclusion, which on its own is no problem, rather that none of the various threads of the novel have any answers. Thinking back, I find that what I read as interesting and titillating discussions or metaphorical events simply turned into question marks hanging over the book's closed cover. The author himself suggests readers should use the book's riddles to find their own solutions, and that multiple readings are recommended, but for that I have neither the time nor the inclination.

To my mind, Kafka on the Shore is a perfectly interesting diversion, and one which works on some levels as an engaging story. But where it tries to become more deeply meaningful, it offers only disconnected ideas that the reader has to piece together if he is to see any of the picture. This was my first Murakami, and whilst the book hasn't made me a fan, it also hasn't put me off picking up another of his novels should the opportunity arise. But for the sour aftertaste, it even deserves an extra star, or the sheer joyful way in which he has written a modern day fairy tale cum parable. ( )
  Fips | Oct 30, 2016 |
This is my first experience with Murakami, after meaning to get around to sampling his work for ages, and... Well, I don't quite know what to make of it. I don't even know how to describe it. It's about a teenage runaway and an old man who can talk to cats and a library and a weird incident in the Japanese countryside during WWII and... And, no, that doesn't do it at all. None of that remotely conveys just how odd this book is. But to say that it's surreal, even though it is, doesn't seem to cover it, either. It's just... odd. Bizarre things happen that are never fully explained, even though explanations are hinted at. (Well, sometimes. A little. Maybe.) There's some weird, potentially very disturbing stuff with sex and animal cruelty. A lot of it is very metaphorical, often even pointing out the fact that it's metaphorical. Everything in it is very clearly connected, but it's not always clear exactly why or how. And there are lots of digressions to talk about literature or music or philosophy, any one of which may be relevant or may just be the author indulging his interests, it's hard to tell.

All of which makes it sound like a muddled mess, but the truth is, it's very readable. Surprisingly readable. But also a little frustrating, as it's not a short book, and after a while you start to get the distinct feeling that it's not actually going to tie everything together at the end in way that makes coherent sense. Which it doesn't. But that's less unsatisfying than I expected, because it does make a sort of dreamlike sense. Maybe. I honestly don't know. What I do know is that, however mixed my feelings about it, it was certainly interesting. And that I will definitely give Murakami another shot in the future, if only so I can continue trying to figure out what I think about him. ( )
1 vote bragan | Sep 3, 2016 |
My second immersion into the magical metaphysical world of Murakami. Two storylines carry this forward, one featuring a lonely, outcast/runaway 15 yr old male (who names himself Kafka) trying to flee a paternal curse and find security. The other line follows the 60ish Nakata, mentally skewed but able to speak with cats, who, after a bizarre bit of violence leaves him in a quandary, is suddenly determined to travel away from Tokyo on an amorphous quest that has him link up with an affable truck driver, Hoshino, producing an odd, but oddly compelling, twosome. Behind these plot lines lies a mysterious event involving a group of dayhiking school kids during WW2. The novel itself as a whole is liberally imbued with philosophy, cultural - literary references, eroticism (incestuous), loneliness, and a rising suspense. Patented magical realism. Impressive creativity by Murakami, which I saw in The Wind-up Bird, but not as much coherence or payoff here, in my opinion. The book won the World Fantasy Award for 2006. ( )
  JamesMScott | Aug 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 283 (next | show all)
The weird, stately urgency of Murakami's novels comes from their preoccupation with . . . internal problems; you can imagine each as a drama acted out within a single psyche. In each, a self lies in pieces and must be put back together; a life that is stalled must be kick-started and relaunched into the bruising but necessary process of change. Reconciling us to that necessity is something stories have done for humanity since time immemorial. Dreams do it, too. But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.
 
Maar net zoals in de rest van Murakami’s omvangrijke oeuvre blijft het niet bij het wegloop-realisme van de hoofdpersoon. Onverklaarbare wendingen, bovennatuurlijke verschijnselen, irreële toevalligheden en onwaarschijnlijke personages roepen bij de nuchtere lezer al snel de vraag op waarom hij in godsnaam maar blijft dóórlezen.
 
Kafka Tamura se va de casa el día en que cumple quince años. La razón, si es que la hay, son las malas relaciones con su padre, un escultor famoso convencido de que su hijo habrá de repetir el aciago sino del Edipo de la tragedia clásica, y la sensación de vacío producida por la ausencia de su madre y su hermana, a quienes apenas recuerda porque también se marcharon de casa cuando era muy pequeño. El azar, o el destino, le llevarán al sur del país, a Takamatsu, donde encontrará refugio en una peculiar biblioteca y conocerá a una misteriosa mujer mayor, tan mayor que podría ser su madre, llamada Saeki. Si sobre la vida de Kafka se cierne la tragedia –en el sentido clásico–, sobre la de Satoru Nakata ya se ha abatido –en el sentido real–: de niño, durante la segunda guerra mundial, sufrió un extraño accidente que lo marcaría de por vida. En una excursión escolar por el bosque, él y sus compañeros cayeron en coma; pero sólo Nakata salió con secuelas, sumido en una especie de olvido de sí, con dificultades para expresarse y comunicarse... salvo con los gatos. A los sesenta años, pobre y solitario, abandona Tokio tras un oscuro incidente y emprende un viaje que le llevará a la biblioteca de Takamatsu. Vidas y destinos se van entretejiendo en un curso inexorable que no atiende a razones ni voluntades. Pero a veces hasta los oráculos se equivocan.
 
”Et stort verk, men likevel lekende lett lesning.”
 

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräfe, UrsulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westerhoven, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"So you're all set for money, then?" the boy named Crow asks in his characteristic sluggish voice.
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"... in everybody's life there's a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can't go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That's how we survive."
"Listening to Fournier's flowing, dignified cello, Honshino was drawn back to his childhood. He used to go to the river everyday to catch fish. Nothing to worry about back then. he reminisced. Just live each day as it came. As long as I was alive, I was something. That was just how it was. But somewhere along the line it all changed. Living turned me into nothing. Weird...People are born in order to live, right? But the longer I've lived, the more I've lost what's inside me–and ended up empty. And I bet the longer I live, the emptier, the more worthless, I'll become. Something's wrong with this picture. Life isn't supposed to turn out like this! Isn't it possible to shift direction, to change where I'm headed?"
The air was damp and stagnant, with a hint of something suspicious, as if countless ears were floating in the air, waiting to pick up a trace of some conspiracy.
I'd never imagined that trees could be so weird and unearthly. I mean, the only plants I've ever really seen or touched till now are the city kind--neatly trimmed and cared-for bushes and trees. But the ones here--the ones living here--are totally different. They have a physical power, their breath grazing any humans who might chance by, their gaze zeroing in on the intruder like they've spotted their prey. Like they have some dark, prehistroric, magical powers. Like deep-sea creatures rule the ocean depths, in the forest trees reign supreme. If it wanted to, the forest could reject me--or swallow me up whole. A healthy amount of fear and respect might be a good idea.
There's only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes.
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With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come. This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is 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. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle-yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own. Extravagant in its accomplishment, Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world's truly great storytellers at the height of his powers.… (more)

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