“Kafka on the Shore”, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, 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. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
I tore this book apart. It’s challenging, confusing, engaging and has me wanting to reread it already. Sometimes I did find myself frustrated because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but unlike many other books in a similar style, I knew JUST enough to keep me fascinated. Somehow the logic works despite the perverse situations and I find myself wanting to meet Nakata in the park. I found it myself equally contended and wanting more from the story if that makes any sense. My next reading, I want to read the texts referenced and listen to the music as they do in the book.
The main reason I found this book so moving is because it slowed me down. I found myself contemplative and considering different angles of everyday events. Much like the “Elegance of a Hedgehog”, the intellectual challenge was mesmerizing and certainly has motivated me to be more well-read.
Warning: Contains sexual content and violence.
Rating: 5 stars!
Who should read it? Any adult looking for something that will make them philosophically thing.