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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 (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,281472274 (4.05)1 / 1053
A tour-de-force of metaphysical reality, Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters. At fifteen, Kafka Tamura runs away from home, either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister. And the aging Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction, finds his highly simplified life suddenly upset. Their odyssey, as mysterious to us as it is to them, 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 fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle. Yet this, like 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.… (more)
Member:ipsoivan
Title:Kafka on the Shore
Authors:Haruki Murakami (Author)
Info:Vintage (2005), Edition: 5038th, 505 pages
Collections:To read or reread, Your library
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Work Information

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)

Recently added byJRGilOsuna, walandahl, strangewallpaper, BookGuy1701, luckyjean, private library, Lukas25, P.A., ddzmini, RyanFern
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
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    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
  4. 20
    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!
  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)
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» See also 1053 mentions

English (405)  French (15)  Dutch (12)  Spanish (11)  Italian (5)  Catalan (5)  Danish (5)  Finnish (3)  Norwegian (2)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Estonian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Polish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (471)
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
A masterpiece. The style, the density of every character, the rythm, the mythology, the details... This book puts itself as far from others as a three stars chef's signature dish is away from the canteen's. ( )
  cdagulleiro | Jul 3, 2024 |
I want to give this book a 4.5 so I rounded up. I can see that you either like this book or you don't. I guess I was in the right frame of mind as I enjoyed the weirdness and the symbolic notes within. I thought I had the whole end figured out, but was one-off and still not completely sure I understand. That said, I still came out satisfied with reading this unusual tale. ( )
  kwagnerroberts | Jun 24, 2024 |
this started out pretty good and then got progressively weirder, which was hard for me. but it was still interesting. i'm not sure i take much from it or could even say much about what it's about but it was still okay and makes me more willing to read others by him. (was not impressed by the sex scenes, though, or many of the strange discussions. really once this got going, i wasn't much into the writing style either, but it wasn't hard to read or a slog, just not anything special. the story was strange enough, while not being too strange, to pull me along. until toward the end when i was already invested enough, and then it got quite strange, which i suppose he's sort of known for.) thematically i think this wasn't for me, especially the oedipal stuff and how i felt like he was stretching to make that story fit, but other parts of this were nice.

"'...reality's just the accumulation of ominous prophecies come to life.'" ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jun 4, 2024 |
Kafka Tamura is a fifteen-year-old boy who has run away from his Tokyo home to flee his emotionally abusive father. Having been abandoned by his mother and older sister when he was a small boy, Kafka sets off on an ill-defined and poorly planned quest to recapture the family life he never really had and to escape the modified Oedipal curse his father has placed on him (i.e., Kafka is destined to kill his father and sleep with both his mother and his sister). Satoru Nakata is an elderly man also in search of something he does not fully understand. After an unexplained illness suffered in childhood leaves him intellectually impaired and with no memories—but with the ability to speak to cats—Nakata has spent his life as a ward of the state, but now senses that he is destined for another purpose. After a violent event causes him to leave Tokyo as well, Nakata’s journey takes him to the same town in the south of Japan where Kafka is now hiding from the law. How—and why—will the paths of these two men intersect?

In Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami has created this inventive coming-of-age tale, which is at once intellectually challenging and fully engaging at every turn of its serpentine plot. The main challenge for the reader is that the story is told in a magical realism style where myriad bizarre things occur: memories and dreams become real, fish rain down from the sky, evil spirits take the form of famous corporate symbols (e.g., Johnnie Walker, Colonel Sanders), soldiers from World War II wander a lost forest for sixty years without aging, ghosts of still-living characters appear randomly. However, this all makes sense in the end as the major conflicts are resolved in an emotionally fulfilling manner. The narrative is greatly enhanced by an interesting stylistic choice in which the main characters’ stories are developed in alternating chapters—Kafka’s written in the first-person present, Nakata’s in the third-person past—which allows them to eventually converge smoothly from very different starting points and perspectives.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, as I have everything I have come across from this remarkable author. Murakami is an imaginative and truly gifted storyteller and the facile way in which he integrates such fantastical elements into the mix is quite impressive. Magical realism is a difficult style to pull off convincingly but, like other modern masters of that tricky genre (e.g., Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie), he does so here skillfully. I also admire the clear love and compassion that Murakami has for his characters, who are fully realized creations that the reader comes to care about quite a lot. Impressively, that care is evident not only in how the main characters were created, but in the development of the impressive and memorable supporting cast as well, including Miss Saeki, Oshima, Sakura, Hoshino, and a host of cats, all of whom play pivotal roles in how the narrative unfolds. This was a captivating and extremely satisfying book to read and the story is not one that I will soon forget. ( )
  browner56 | May 27, 2024 |
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami takes you into a magical world where people have feelings to express. The plot had a very unusual start, with the life of a 15-year-old boy. Murakami's writing is wonderful, capturing each character's emotions and depth. Nakata's character was the most different one. I just loved how the story finally connected itself with the happenings. But, somewhere, too many unanswered questions were left at the end. The world created by the author was unbelievable and wonderful. I wish this book would have never ended, as there are so many layers to the story.

Although I couldn't grasp some of Kafka's life, the book still made a wonderful impression. And the idea of traveling through a dream was just something else. Indeed, Murakami's writing leaves readers with lingering questions as he weaves together surreal elements and philosophical musings that can be captivating. Definitely, the book deserves 5 stars. ( )
1 vote Sucharita1986 | May 20, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 405 (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 (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräfe, UrsulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, LourdesTranslatorsecondary 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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A tour-de-force of metaphysical reality, Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters. At fifteen, Kafka Tamura runs away from home, either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister. And the aging Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction, finds his highly simplified life suddenly upset. Their odyssey, as mysterious to us as it is to them, 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 fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle. Yet this, like 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.

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