Real? Imaginary? Somewhere in between? These questions are posed throughout Haruki Murakami's masterpiece Kafka on the Shore, which features a runaway kid shrouded in his father's mysterious omen, an old man who isn't bright but can talk to cats, and plenty of other surrealistic sequences which Murakami leaves his millions of reader's to decipher. Prepare to embark on a journey like no other, this book is like falling down a technicolor wormhole — there's no telling where you'll land. Recommended By Alex Y., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
"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
"[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
"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
"[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
"[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
"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
"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
"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
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.