Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore (original 2002; edition 2006)

by Haruki Murakami

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,015350175 (4.08)829
Title:Kafka on the Shore
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2006), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Tags:Christmas Swap from Caro, Japan, Magical realism

Work details

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)

Recently added byKitty.Cunningham, alo1224, bombayprateek, ctheiss63, private library, dannotdan, ArchanaV, martiny77
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
  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
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (Anonymous user)
  5. 00
    A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami (koenvanq)
  6. 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)
  7. 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!
  8. 01
    Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist (aethercowboy)
  9. 02
    Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (LottaBerling)
  10. 38
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (tandah)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 829 mentions

English (292)  French (14)  Dutch (12)  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 (350)
Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
Surrealism. Magical realism. Erotica. Soap opera. Oedipal Philosophical.

And then a little monster movie at the end.

I loved 2/3 of it and was bored for a third. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
Brilliant. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Jul 3, 2017 |
Haruki Murakami is an internationally star in the literature world, so I decided to read this book. Kafka on the Shore is one that I see mentioned frequently as the book to read - so that is what I picked to read.

First - this a retelling of the Oedipus, where the lead character will kill his father and sleep with his mother, but told in an entirely new way which I am still mulling over. Between the confused leading character of Kafka Tamura, who plans for years running away from home and does at age 15 (with an imaginary, maybe, friend). The secondary story of slow Nakata, who fell in a mysterious coma as a child during WWII and woke up with amnesia and can now talk to cats, and his friend/keeper Hoshino a truck driver who is curious about Nakata's mission to close a mystical door. These two stories interweave with each other, not quite coming together, but always parallel, tell of a strange happening that isn't quite real.

The book is well done, the translation is good -but it seems a lot deeper than it actually is. Take away all the weirdness, and all you have is a confused kid with a distant father. Nakata's story is much more interesting but it doesn't quite come together at the end. Its a pretty book, but that is all it seems to be.

I did enjoy reading it, so I'll give the author another shot, and put this book back on the reread pile. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jul 2, 2017 |
Not so much a 'good' read as it is one that makes you think (which is always a 'good' read in my book). Rather like Hoshino's character progression throughtout the story... something flowers inside your mind... thoughts and ideas that wake up from that stupor called routine.

Dry passages that seem meaningless and almost droll at times (if you lack the appreciation for the "slice of life" genre)...interlaced in parts with the gritty, the delicate, the provocative, the elegant, the macabre... dreams that you hazily remember, dreams that are vivid that they become larger than life.

And at the end of it: as many things left unanswered as there were things resolved... a different person than the one you were yesterday. Such is life. ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
[b:Kafka on the Shore|4929|Kafka on the Shore|Haruki Murakami|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165515991s/4929.jpg|6191072] finished. Definite spoilers

I have to confess that my attitude to this book while reading it was all over the place. At times I was certain it was a five star book, and there were others (although rare) when I found the writing positively clumsy. The scene where Oshima reveals his true gender when confronted by the two women's rights activists fell squarely into this category, and part of the reason for this may be that Murakami does seem to have a problem writing female characters, at least in the books of his that I've read. Generally, however, I find Murakami's writing magical. The way he blends the everyday and the surreal is mirrored in his language (at least in how it is translated, which is all I have to go on); an oddly straight forwardly factual style peppered with some fantastical imagery.

This blend of the everyday and the highly metaphorical is distinctive of Murakami's work. While set in realistic situations they are highly metaphorical books, working on many levels of metaphor (meta-metaphor?), not all of which are readily apparent. Because of this I was tempted to give five stars for effort, but found the execution somewhat lacking. Partly this was because the two stories – Kafka running away from home and Nakata's quest – never really come together, either physically or in any meaningful way that I could see. The other main problem was that I found Kafka, who seems to be the central focus of the novel, to be neither engaging nor especially believable. I know that this is partly the point – Kafka is damaged and insular, but as a reader I never warmed to him in the way that the people he meets seem to do instantly. Then there is the rape. Some of Kafka's adventures are in many ways an adolescent porn fantasy – his first encounter with Takura and then his relationship with the older, beautiful and distant Miss Saeki – but his dream encounter with Sakura late in the book is increasingly disturbing, especially after all her protestations about it being wrong she obviously enjoys the act. This is a dream, of course, but dreams play a central role in the book – indeed, the phrase “responsibility begins in dreams” is repeated several times.

Okay, realism is not what this book is about. Any realism of setting is just to ground the metaphors, but for that to work relies on a certain transparency in the meanings and for me there was just too much in this novel that was opaque or didn't seem to gel together. It is easy to put this down to my lack of knowledge of the culture (and this may well be the case; my knowledge of Japan is pretty much restricted to the movies of Kurosawa and Studio Ghibli) but I still didn't get the connections and this left me feeling a little short changed. My other experience of Murakami was completely different. [b:The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|11275|The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle|Haruki Murakami|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21261K7ZF9L._SL75_.jpg|2531376] was just as rich in metaphor and allusion, but the strands and surrealisms seemed to support each other and find some sort of resolution. Although not entire resolution, and there are open questions in that book that stay in the reader's mind long after it is finished. In Kafka... we seem to glimpse a closed circle, the resolution of which is in allowing time to continue, Kafka to begin to heal and grow up.

Many of the allusions seem to end up going nowhere. Early on there are lots of reference to Greek tragedy but, other than setting up the incest plot, these seem to peter out (although it did occur to me that Saeki, which I had been pronouncing “Say-key” could be pronounced “Psyche”). While Chronicle left me buzzing with thoughts, Kafka ultimately left me with more dead ends than Lost.

I don't mean to paint too negative a picture. There is much to admire and enjoy in this book. I found the other storyline far more interesting. Nakata's simplicity and honesty makes him engaging and likeable, and his relationship with Hoshino is perhaps the most satisfying in the book, perhaps because they are not directly connected to Kafka. Hoshino, indeed, is perhaps the only character we see who grows properly. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 292 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
"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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
11 avail.
1469 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.08)
0.5 5
1 35
1.5 10
2 129
2.5 51
3 552
3.5 225
4 1474
4.5 265
5 1347

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,046,630 books! | Top bar: Always visible