Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami

Chosen by Rachel

A teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, runs away from home to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy and search for his long-missing mother and sister.

◉ “One day in 2006 I bought this book new off the shelves in an Auckland bookshop. And, it changed my life. I immediately went about securing and reading every work of Murakami’s fiction. He became my obsession!

“So I was excited about re-reading this, my foray into the strange world of Murakami. And I certainly appreciated it much more on the second reading, with the understanding of how and why Murakami writes. It was like reading it for the first time again.

“Like all Murakami’s books, comprehending the layers of death and construction which can keep bookclubs talking for hours is not instrumental to enjoying and loving Kafka On The Shore. In 2006 it was a surface read. I recognised the obvious metaphors, but mainly just loved the weird and wonderful journey. Whereas this time I examined every page for it’s meaning and depth and revelled in it.

“In this book it rains fish, children fall unconscious in the forest, an evil spirit takes many forms including Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders, and lost soldiers from WWII guard the entrance to another world where spirits wait in limbo, yet somehow it all seems very real, with the touching story of a boy who feels separated from his reality and longs to know why his mother took his sister and abandoned him years ago.

“There’s nothing else to say except Murakami is a genius.” – Rachel

◉ “The skill and imagination of Haruki is breathtaking. His writing style is simple but profound with characters so expertly distinct and a story that’s weird and engaging.

“I savoured each and every part of this amazing book and really didn’t want it to end. The strange parts of his magical realism story were woven in so that you didn’t end up thinking it was ridiculous.

“I’m still in love with a few of these characters and I really wish I could talk to cats!” – Jo

Published 2002 by Shinchosha
Translated into English in 2006
480 pages

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