by Haruki Murakami

Reviewer Rating:


One of the most engaging and magical books I’ve ever read. Murakami is a master of atmosphere – his world is one of textured thought where ideas equal substance; imagination equals action. The forests contain ghosts, and everyday objects suddenly become not so ordinary.

Kafka on the Shore joins a rich tradition in literature as it chronicles the passage of a teenage runaway, Kafka Tamura, as he hops a bus to a randomly chosen town to escape his current reality. But in a world where reality is unclear, where in fact multiple realities may exist, you can never be quite sure what he’s running from, or what he thinks he’s running to. In a parallel, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by committing an inexplicable murder. Nakata cannot read nor write, but can speak with cats and make fish rain from the sky, and he too is drawn by unseen/unknown forces to the same random town as Kafka.

There are two fundamental themes here: (1) Life is a force that must be reckoned with - you can run, but you can't fully escape, and (2) Every person has a purpose and a destiny to fulfill.     
This one set my spirit spinning with possibilities and ideas - It's rare to find a story with this effect. The prose, as always by Murakami, grabs you from the get-go - it's charming, smooth, and intelligent without being pretentious. A worthwhile read.

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