Kafka on the Shore


Kafka on the Shore

Abstract

An adolescent boy becoming an adult by going on a supernatural journey through his and Japan’s past.

Review

The reading this story is perfect for spending a rainy Sunday afternoon in Tokyo because that is where the story begins before abducting the reader into the strange and magical Japan of Murakami. By this description alone, one can already come to the conclusion that the book bears strong similarities to Paolo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” (2007) in both content and style, but one could also compare the writing Peter Høeg who is one of my favorite authors. And like Høegs “The Elephant Keepers’ Children” (2012), the story feels very autobiographic, maybe less through the experiences the various characters face, but more through the opinions and ideals they share. For example, books and libraries are a central theme of the book and like Cornelia Funkes “Inkheart” (2003), Murakami really conveys his love for reading good books.

One last fun fact: Murakami dismantles any illusions about an unchanging, constant time by orders of magnitude more effectively than Hawking (1998). 

Recommendation

If you like Coelho or Høeg, you should definitely give this book a chance and glance into its pages. It distinguishes itself by the Japanese setting, if you do not know Japan, you can learn a lot about contemporary Japan. If you already know Japan, Murakami very effectively creates nostalgic feelings by his descriptions.

However, I believe, the book should not be read at any random day, because I think you need to be in a certain mood to really appreciate it. I guess, one will have to see if the time is ripe to read the book by turning the first pages and from there, everything should become clear.

Quotes

Asking a question is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking is embarrassing for a lifetime. -- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore, 2005, p. 255.

Bibliography

Murakami, Haruki (2005). Kafka on the shore. London: Harvill.
Coelho, P. (2007). The alchemist. Harper Collins.
Funke, C. C. (2003). Inkheart (Vol. 1). Zubaan.
Hawking, Stephen (1998). A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books.
Høeg, P. (2012). The Elephant Keepers' Children. Random House.

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