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Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the shore (original 2002; edition 2005)

by Haruki Murakami

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12,110309210 (4.08)746
Title:Kafka on the shore
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:London : Vintage , 2005
Collections:Your library
Tags:read in 2009

Work details

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)

Recently added byColorfulTsukuru, andieaaase, private library, slow_puzzler, ReadersAnonymous, Avalllon, klangable
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
  1. 90
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (LottaBerling)
  2. 30
    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. 31
    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
    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!
  6. 02
    Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (LottaBerling)
  7. 38
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (tandah)

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» See also 746 mentions

English (259)  French (10)  Dutch (9)  Spanish (7)  Danish (5)  Catalan (4)  Italian (3)  Finnish (3)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Estonian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (309)
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
Magical Realism in Japan. Talking cats, fish raining from the sky... Wonderful journeys and inter-woven paths. Murakami has an incredible imagination. I loved taking a trip to his world. ( )
  andieaaase | Nov 30, 2015 |
Magical Realism in Japan. Talking cats, fish raining from the sky... Wonderful journeys and inter-woven paths. Murakami has an incredible imagination. I loved taking a trip to his world. ( )
  andieaaase | Nov 30, 2015 |
Give him the Nobel Prize already. Liked this even more than 1Q84. ( )
  crosbyp | Nov 14, 2015 |
Kafka Tamura runs away from his home in Tokyo, travelling almost randomly to a far-away city. There he spends most of his time in a special library, absorbed in his reading. After a little more than a week he wakes up in a park next to a shrine covered in blood that is not his own. Nakata is an old man who tracks down lost cats. His current job takes him to an abandoned building site where he sits and waits until a dog arrives and tells him to follow it. Such are the two disparate narratives in Kafka On The Shore, a strange, eerie, disturbing novel filled with the magical and the surreal, with diversions into the realms of art, music, and philosophy and an intricate, opaque metaphysical plot propelling the actions of the protagonists, while they try to makes some sense out of the odd, dangerous turns their lives have taken

It's certainly a superb novel. Murakami occupies a sort of calm, literary kingdom that starts at the point where Neil Gaiman, Flann O'Brien and Jonathan Carroll intersect. Very little of the underlying plot is explained, but, thematically, it all makes a dramaturgical logic, making sense as a narrative, with only sly hints at any underlying explanation. His characters, though, are alive, and richly developed and emotionally real, even in the most bizarre and shocking of circumstances. Mr Nakata, who can neither read nor write but can talk to cats, is a particularly engaging character in his simplicity and his innocence, both of which mask a tragedy of a lost life.

There's some very strange sex (the sex itself isn't strange, it's either who's having it or what's said during it), an aesthetic and spiritual awakening, a savage murder and weird things fall from the sky. And it all makes sense. It just doesn't get explained. How did he DO that? ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Murakami is an exceptional storyteller. Three compelling, intriguing, exciting and distinct narratives alternate in chapters like serialised episodes of a Victorian thriller, making this difficult to stop reading once engaged. Young Kafka Tumara runs away from home in contemporary Tokyo to a remote town, a class of schoolchildren on a woodland hike during the latter stages of the Pacific War notice a strange metallic object in the sky before falling unconscious in front of their teacher, and Nakata, an intellectually challenged elderly man who has somehow carved out a living for himself finding lost cats through an ability to communicate with the animals, encounters his most challenging hunt yet.

As the stories progress it is clear that even the least magical of these storylines will not remain cemented in our conventional world as Kafka's motivation for escaping becomes clear: a hunt for his lost sister and mother whom his own father has apparently condemned to an Oedipal fate. His frugal, endearing life of reading literature by day, a rigorous specific workout in a gym, and a friendship emerging with a library emoloyee with gender identify issues, is at first charming but then suddenly loses its innocence, becoming obsessively and graphically sexualised. The fate of the children in the forest becomes entwined with the cat-man as he encounters the physical forms of spirits who choose iconic American brands as their manifestation: the 'evil', slasher movie worthy psychopath Johnnie Walker, undertaking an unstoppable mission to harvest cat souls before freezing their heads in his kitchen, and the 'good' Colonel Saunders, pimping out a philosophy student to a needy long distance lorry driver and providing some answers, but more questions, to the riddle of Nakata's existence.

This may be Marukami's style, but like a David Lynch film, the mystery, intrigue, clues, contradictions, part-resolutions and character interrelationships are thrown out for the reader to solve, only to fail to settle into a coherent narrative. The stories are wonderfully told as long as you don't expect a tidy conclusion, or any attempt at conclusion at all. The loose ends are a prerequisite. For them to be neatly tied may diminish from the books power, but are equally frustrating as again Lynch-like you wonder if Marukami ever intended there to be an overarching meaning to any of it.

The fairytale horror magical realism, the forbidden sensuality, bizarre comical incident (fish falling from the Tokyo skies, cat personality defined by breed), and the whodunnit style mystery make this exceptional reading, but it is unforgiving in offering any easy interpretation. But perhaps this isn't prerequisite for a great story. **** ( )
  zchat04 | Oct 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 259 (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 editionsconfirmed
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.
"... 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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