17. “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl & “Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami
Roald Dahl was the master of bringing the surreal to life, peopling his world with talking bugs, cartoonishly evil adults, and a peach large enough to live in. Murakami is similar in his ability to fill his readers with metaphysical wonder, and he is most successful in "Kafka on the Shore". Teenager Kafka Tamura sets off on a search for his mother and sister, with the elderly Nakata as his unlikely partner. Together the two encounter a slightly altered reality, full of riddles, talking cats, a rainstorm of fish, and a mysterious murder.
Do you agree these were good compliments? What did you think of the books themselves?
Note: I have linked my reviews to each of the respective books as the titles in the beginning of this post. Also, if you have not read the books, I will likely have spoilers below so watch out!
While I like both of these books, I’m not sure if I agree that these are complements or not. Both books required a “Hmm, I’ll just go with it” attitude repeatedly, but “Kafka on the Shore” certainly touches on MUCH heavier topics than “James and the Giant Peach”. In a sense though, it reminds me of the difference between reading a Disney version of a story and the original Brother’s Grimm story in all its grisly detail.
I also think that you get very different things out of each of the books. “James and the Giant Peach” was a great escape from reality while “Kafka” was both an escape and a grounding in reality. There are a lot of things throughout the book that made me think quite a bit. The one thing that I’d definitely note is that younger readers should certainly not read “Kafka on the Shore”!