I recently had the opportunity to read the work of one of the most celebrated Japanese author, Mr Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore is a beautiful novel that revolves around the life of Kafka Tamura (15) and old Satoru Nakata. The odd chapters paint Kafka’s struggle while the even chapters give insight into Nakata’s innocent world.
The book was first published in 2002 and has about 610 pages. The story starts with young Kafka running away from his father’s home. Kafka’s mother had abandoned the family years ago and had taken his adopted elder sister along with herself. Kafka used to live alone with his father and decided to take this step because of his father’s strictness. After all, if he would have ran away earlier, it would have been too soon. A little late and it would have been too late. ( you’re gonna have to read the book to get this xD )
Nakata, on the other hand, is probably one of the coolest characters I’ve had the honor to meet. He couldn’t care less if the world is flat or round. Once the brightest kid in class, his fate took a complete turn during a school excursion ( during WW2 ) where he lost his consciousness. After spending months in different hospitals – military and civil, he regained his consciousness but with sentience, came no memory of the past. As if someone had rubbed the slate clean, he had even forgotten his own name and the name of his parents. But life had other plans for Mr Nakata and though he could not relate well to his fellow humans, he could do so easily with the cats.
Murakami has created a story that a friend of mine described as ‘dreamlike’, for it is the mot juste! I think this novel has a brilliant blend of suspense, thrill, fantasy, introspection and sexuality. The book sets out on a journey; a journey to destiny. Nakata and Kafka both start on the journey to their destiny, completely unaware of how their fates are intertwined. ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is funny, silly, depressing, enlightening and above all, a beautiful book. I would definitely recommend this book for others to read.