Monday, 24 August 2009

Kafka on the Shore

Title: Kafka on the Shore

Author: Haruki Murakami

Number of pages: 506

Started: 17 August 2009

Finished: 24 August 2009

Opening words:

The Boy Named Crow

So you're all set for money, then?" the boy named Crow asks in his typical sluggish voice. The kind of voice like when you've just woken up and your mouth still feels heavy and dull. But he's just pretending. He's totally awake. As always.

I nod.

"How much?"

I review the numbers in my head. "Close to thirty-five hundred in cash, plus some money I can get from an ATM. I know it's not a lot, but it should be enough. For the time being."

"Not bad," the boy named Crow says. "For the time being."

I give him another nod.

"I'm guessing this isn't Christmas money from Santa Claus."

"Yeah, you're right," I reply.

Crow smirks and looks around. "I imagine you've started by rifling drawers, am I right?"

I don't say anything. He knows whose money we're talking about, so there's no need for any long-winded interrogations. He's just giving me a hard time.

Plot summary:

Kafka on the Shore follows the remarkable journeys of two characters: Kafka, a 15-year-old boy who has run away from home, fleeing the dark Oedipal prophecy foretold to him by his father; and Nakata, a middle-aged man who, having survived an eerie event as a child, is left with a seriously diminished intellect, the ability to converse with cats, and a shadow which is 'a bit faint'.

Fish and Leeches rain from the sky, and Colonel Sanders takes a break from fried chicken to act as a pimp for a Hegel-spouting girl of the night as the individual quests of Kafka and Nakata are drawn gradually together.

For some reading group questions look here.

See more on the Random House website (with music added).

What I thought:

I enjoyed this book. It was like reading a mystery unfolding and two parallel plots ran throughout the book, which intersected at various points. It also had some rather bizarre elements – such as talking cats – that added to the plot. It was an interesting and engaging read and was an exploration of a search for identity, with a bit of humour thrown in. A good read.


Sarah said...

You can never have too many talking cats. This is definitely on my TBR list.

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - Quite! It was good and well worth reading.

Sassy Brit said...

Hi, nice to meet you. I have often wondered what this book is like, and enjoyed your review. The talking cats came as a bit of a surprise, but it has still intrigued me.

Random Reflections said...

Sassy Brit - Thanks for dropping by. It's a good book and well worth a read.