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3 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Kafka on the Shore

by

Kafka on the Shore Cover

ISBN13: 9781400043668
ISBN10: 1400043662
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

In Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami brings the Oedipus legend to contemporary Japan. The reader is treated to his musings on art, culture, the loss of innocence and...cats, in his patented, magic-realist way. Easily his best novel translated into English since Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore will please Murakami fans old and new.
Recommended by Mike H, Powell's Books on Hawthorne

Review-A-Day

"Perhaps it needn't be said that this meta-fictional fun house isn't perfect, but underpinning it all is a surprisingly patient, deeply affecting meditation on perfection itself, specifically romantic perfection — the obsessive greed in pursuing it, the selfish isolation that comes from achieving it, the soul-killing (and also selfish) grief of outliving it, of being left, inevitably, with nothing but its fading memory." Jon Zobenica, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Previous books such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood have established Murakami as a true original, a fearless writer possessed of a wildly uninhibited imagination and a legion of fiercely devoted fans. In this latest addition to the author's incomparable oeuvre, 15-year-old Kafka Tamura runs away from home, both to escape his father's oedipal prophecy and to find his long-lost mother and sister. As Kafka flees, so too does Nakata, an elderly simpleton whose quiet life has been upset by a gruesome murder. (A wonderfully endearing character, Nakata has never recovered from the effects of a mysterious World War II incident that left him unable to read or comprehend much, but did give him the power to speak with cats.) What follows is a kind of double odyssey, as Kafka and Nakata are drawn inexorably along their separate but somehow linked paths, groping to understand the roles fate has in store for them. Murakami likes to blur the boundary between the real and the surreal — we are treated to such oddities as fish raining from the sky; a forest-dwelling pair of Imperial Army soldiers who haven't aged since WWII; and a hilarious cameo by fried chicken king Colonel Sanders — but he also writes touchingly about love, loneliness and friendship. Occasionally, the writing drifts too far into metaphysical musings — mind-bending talk of parallel worlds, events occurring outside of time — and things swirl a bit at the end as the author tries, perhaps too hard, to make sense of things. But by this point, his readers, like his characters, will go just about anywhere Murakami wants them to, whether they 'get' it or not. Agent, Amanda Urban at ICM. 60,000 first printing. (Jan. 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Murakami is of course himself an immensely reader-friendly novelist, and never has he offered more enticing fare than this enchantingly inventive tale. A masterpiece, entirely Nobel-worthy." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Murakami's literary high-wire acts have earned him both boos and ahs from connoisseurs of contemporary fiction. What side you come down on depends on your predilection for the perverse." Booklist

Review:

"Kafka on the Shore is Murakami's biggest novel in a decade and one of the most fun to read....[I]t feels like a return to Murakami's most whimsical métier." Orlando Sentinel

Review:

"[Kafka] may be the Japanese author's weirdest novel yet, but it's also one of his best....What ties all this together is Murakami's unflappable, enchanting prose: hip but companionable, it keeps you coming back for more." Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

Review:

"This new book, as powerful as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and because of the plot design even a bit more accessible, is a fine place to begin exploring Murakami's world, which is our own, with a few major surprises." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Murakami creates a magical reality....Murakami's power to imagine is breathtaking and the empathy infusing Kafka on the Shore makes it a responsible book, one that is adult, wise, and forgiving." Boston Globe

Review:

"The voluptuous pleasure of Haruki Murakami's enthralling fictions...reminds me of dreaming....And, like a dream, what this dazzling novel means — or whether it means anything at all — we may never know. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Murakami is a writer of immense and unexpected imagination...a compelling read....While Kafka on the Shore doesn't resonate quite as strongly as The Wind-up Bird Chronicles...it is hardly a waste of the reader's time." Denver Post

Review:

"Parts of Murakami's story are violently gruesome and sexually explicit, and the plot line following Nakata is rather eerie and disturbing. Yet the bulk of this narrative is erudite, lyrical, and compelling; followers of Murakami's work should approve. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[A] real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender....[I]t seems more gripping than it has a right to be and less moving, perhaps, than the author wanted it to be." John Updike, The New Yorker

Review:

"Murakami's novel, though wearying at times and confusing at others, has the faintly absurd loft of some great festive balloon. He addresses the fantastic and the natural, each with the same mix of gravity and lightness." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"However vague its allusions and overbearing its pretensions, however needlessly jive its English translation ('Jeez Louise'), this book makes for a beguiling and enveloping experience." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[W]hile 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." Laura Miller, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

Murakami gives readers a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed 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.

About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into thirty-four languages, and the most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe. His books include After the Quake; Dance Dance Dance; The Elephant Vanishes; Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; Norwegian Wood; South of the Border, West of the Sun; Sputnik Sweetheart; Underground; A Wild Sheep Chase; and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, all available in Vintage paperback, as is Vintage Murakami, a selection of his finest work.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

S.Elliott, May 5, 2007 (view all comments by S.Elliott)
I would preface this by saying that this book is not for every reader, nor is it for the faint of heart. To say it is merely a revisioning of the Oedipus story is not a satisfying way to describe the complicated narrative that unfolds. It is certainly postmodern in design and tone and I think it was Updike that said it was a "metaphysical mind-bended" and that is pretty well stated.

There are a lot of unanswered questions and riddles, but I think that is just part of the Murakami experience. What makes it beautiful is the power of his use of language and the imbedded philosophy that drifts off the page and into your mind. I read this book with a highligher the second time around; there was so much I wanted to capture.

It is important to note that the translation is impeccable. There are many puns and play-on-words that are captured in the English translation and not lost from the Japanese version. This is a hard task and it is one of the best I have ever read.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(13 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400043668
Translator:
Gabriel, Philip
Publisher:
Knopf
Translator:
Gabriel, Philip
Author:
Murakami, Haruki
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Publication Date:
January 18, 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.60x6.46x1.35 in. 1.69 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Locked Case
Rare Books » Fiction and Poetry » Literature

Kafka on the Shore Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$21.00 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400043668 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami brings the Oedipus legend to contemporary Japan. The reader is treated to his musings on art, culture, the loss of innocence and...cats, in his patented, magic-realist way. Easily his best novel translated into English since Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore will please Murakami fans old and new.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Previous books such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood have established Murakami as a true original, a fearless writer possessed of a wildly uninhibited imagination and a legion of fiercely devoted fans. In this latest addition to the author's incomparable oeuvre, 15-year-old Kafka Tamura runs away from home, both to escape his father's oedipal prophecy and to find his long-lost mother and sister. As Kafka flees, so too does Nakata, an elderly simpleton whose quiet life has been upset by a gruesome murder. (A wonderfully endearing character, Nakata has never recovered from the effects of a mysterious World War II incident that left him unable to read or comprehend much, but did give him the power to speak with cats.) What follows is a kind of double odyssey, as Kafka and Nakata are drawn inexorably along their separate but somehow linked paths, groping to understand the roles fate has in store for them. Murakami likes to blur the boundary between the real and the surreal — we are treated to such oddities as fish raining from the sky; a forest-dwelling pair of Imperial Army soldiers who haven't aged since WWII; and a hilarious cameo by fried chicken king Colonel Sanders — but he also writes touchingly about love, loneliness and friendship. Occasionally, the writing drifts too far into metaphysical musings — mind-bending talk of parallel worlds, events occurring outside of time — and things swirl a bit at the end as the author tries, perhaps too hard, to make sense of things. But by this point, his readers, like his characters, will go just about anywhere Murakami wants them to, whether they 'get' it or not. Agent, Amanda Urban at ICM. 60,000 first printing. (Jan. 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Perhaps it needn't be said that this meta-fictional fun house isn't perfect, but underpinning it all is a surprisingly patient, deeply affecting meditation on perfection itself, specifically romantic perfection — the obsessive greed in pursuing it, the selfish isolation that comes from achieving it, the soul-killing (and also selfish) grief of outliving it, of being left, inevitably, with nothing but its fading memory." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Murakami is of course himself an immensely reader-friendly novelist, and never has he offered more enticing fare than this enchantingly inventive tale. A masterpiece, entirely Nobel-worthy."
"Review" by , "Murakami's literary high-wire acts have earned him both boos and ahs from connoisseurs of contemporary fiction. What side you come down on depends on your predilection for the perverse."
"Review" by , "Kafka on the Shore is Murakami's biggest novel in a decade and one of the most fun to read....[I]t feels like a return to Murakami's most whimsical métier."
"Review" by , "[Kafka] may be the Japanese author's weirdest novel yet, but it's also one of his best....What ties all this together is Murakami's unflappable, enchanting prose: hip but companionable, it keeps you coming back for more."
"Review" by , "This new book, as powerful as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and because of the plot design even a bit more accessible, is a fine place to begin exploring Murakami's world, which is our own, with a few major surprises."
"Review" by , "Murakami creates a magical reality....Murakami's power to imagine is breathtaking and the empathy infusing Kafka on the Shore makes it a responsible book, one that is adult, wise, and forgiving."
"Review" by , "The voluptuous pleasure of Haruki Murakami's enthralling fictions...reminds me of dreaming....And, like a dream, what this dazzling novel means — or whether it means anything at all — we may never know. (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "Murakami is a writer of immense and unexpected imagination...a compelling read....While Kafka on the Shore doesn't resonate quite as strongly as The Wind-up Bird Chronicles...it is hardly a waste of the reader's time."
"Review" by , "Parts of Murakami's story are violently gruesome and sexually explicit, and the plot line following Nakata is rather eerie and disturbing. Yet the bulk of this narrative is erudite, lyrical, and compelling; followers of Murakami's work should approve. Recommended."
"Review" by , "[A] real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender....[I]t seems more gripping than it has a right to be and less moving, perhaps, than the author wanted it to be."
"Review" by , "Murakami's novel, though wearying at times and confusing at others, has the faintly absurd loft of some great festive balloon. He addresses the fantastic and the natural, each with the same mix of gravity and lightness."
"Review" by , "However vague its allusions and overbearing its pretensions, however needlessly jive its English translation ('Jeez Louise'), this book makes for a beguiling and enveloping experience."
"Review" by , "[W]hile 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."
"Synopsis" by , Murakami gives readers a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed 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.
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