Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Book - 2006 | 1st Vintage International ed.
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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.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Vintage International, 2006, c2005.
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed.
ISBN: 9781400079278
Branch Call Number: FIC MURAKAM
Characteristics: 467 p. ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Gabriel, Philip 1953-


From Library Staff

Kafka on the Shore follows a young runaway and an elderly wanderer as they embark on seemingly unrelated journeys that eventually collide. This is a reflective, mystical, and fiercely imaginative story emphasizing the surreal.

Kafka on the Shore follows a young runaway and an elderly wanderer as they embark on seemingly unrelated journeys that eventually collide. This is a reflective, mystical, and fiercely imaginative story emphasizing the surreal.

There is a wonderful side story about a lovable old man who can commune with cats. And the cats are exactly as they should be.

From the critics

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Apr 05, 2020

Excellent book. Typical Murakami. Kept me turning the pages. The only caveat is not to try and analyse it too much, particularly the magic realism parts. Just take it as it is. Imagine you were reading a sci fi book embedded in a novel about memory. Gripping and moving. Gave it a rating of 4 out of 5.

Nicr Nov 06, 2019

If reality seems mundane, Murakami has the cure. Kafka Tamura is fifteen and running away from his hated home. Then there's Nakata, a 60-year-old brain-damaged man (a veritable cat of a man) who talks to cats--and they talk back. Then there's Tamura's father, a sculptor who murders cats and eats their hearts and is in turn murdered by Nakata. Or, per Oedipal prophecy, was it Kafka? Can someone still living also be a ghost? Can a person fall in love with that ghost? Can someone be in two places at once? The narrative is brilliantly driven by the twin engines of literature and music--"Kafka on the Shore" is a song title (and a painting, of a "solitary soul straying by an absurd shore," as well as a condition). A terrific ride.

Aug 28, 2019

rec'd by Open Culture (FB) 20190828

Jul 18, 2019

excellent story development,, just want to keep reading and OH and Aw.. love his style

AnaGM May 22, 2019


Apr 14, 2019

Put simply, this is a remarkable story written by a true 'story weaver'. As an avid reader, I find Haruki's brilliance in a category of its own due to his use of metaphor, symbology, philosophy, intrigue and character development. Weaving plots that at first appear somewhat normal, he incorporates elements unlike any other, along with eroticism you wouldn't expect. I found the 'concept' of the Col Sanders character fascinating and realized the importance. Themes of forgiveness, 'the now' and others make their way into the story demonstrating the author's wisdom and creativity. Having read "1Q84", "Killing Commendatore" and others, this book is yet another that shows of his unique brand of story weaving.

Apr 03, 2019

Mysterious, magical and a complete mindf***. A page turner that kept me at the edge of my seat, simultaneously needing to find out how it ends and not wanting the book to end.

Feb 12, 2019

15 year old Kafka Tamura runs away from his home, looking for his long estranged mother and sister. Meanwhile an evil soul called Johnnie Walker, is killed by an elderly Nakata who rescues runaway cats. The story chapters blend in at too many points, forming and re-forming a number of puzzles. It is up to the reader to discern the reality from the stories. Did Kafka really fulfill his oedipal curse as his father believed? Are Johnnie Walker and Kafka's father one and the same? Is Miss Saeki really Kafka's mother? Is she also the person Kafka meets in the alternate universe? This is one of the best works of Murakami, and a definite read!

Jan 05, 2019

An engaging tour through Murakami's world. I read and then listened to this book and I think the pictures are better in the written form.

Feb 24, 2017

I have mixed feelings about this book. Borrowing various bits and pieces from Shintoism, Murakami has invented a clever system of meta-physics but he doesn't explain it. Instead, he slowly reveals how it works through the narrative. If you don't clue in to what's happening to the characters under the surface, you'll just be confused by the seemingly random events (and talking cats) in the story. On the other hand, Murakami's writing continues to impress, and I found the book's highly emotional ending very satisfying.

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Feb 12, 2019

"Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren't any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It's hard to explain, but that's the kind of novel I set out to write"
- Haruki Murakami

Laura_X Apr 24, 2017

It's like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.

Apr 05, 2015

"Strength itself becomes your morality... The strength I'm looking for isn't the kind where you win or lose. I'm not after a wall that'll repel power coming from outside. What I want is the kind of strength to be able to absorb that outside power, to stand up to it. The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortune, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings."


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Jul 31, 2017

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Sep 26, 2012

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