Kafka on the Shore (Vintage Magic)

ISBN 13: 9780099593867

Kafka on the Shore (Vintage Magic)

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9780099593867: Kafka on the Shore (Vintage Magic)

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami's novel is at once a classic quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is a bewitching and wildly inventive novel from a master stylist.

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Product Description:

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The ageing Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his highly simplified life suddenly overturned. Their parallel odysseys - as mysterious to them as they are to the reader - are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Fish tumble in storms from the sky; cats carry on conversations with people; a ghostlike if familiar pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a brutal murder, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Yet this, as all else, is eventually resolved, even as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually unravelled.

Review:

The opening pages of a Haruki Murakami novel can be like the view out an airplane window onto tarmac. But at some point between page three and fifteen--it's page thirteen in Kafka On The Shore--the deceptively placid narrative lifts off, and you find yourself breaking through clouds at a tilt, no longer certain where the plane is headed or if the laws of flight even apply.

Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be "the worldıs toughest fifteen-year-old." He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his days--continuing his impressive self-education--and is befriended by a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters.

To say that the fantastic elements of Kafka On The Shore are complicated and never fully resolved is not to suggest that the novel fails. Although it may not live up to Murakami's masterful The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Nakata and Kafka's fates keep the reader enthralled to the final pages, and few will complain about the loose threads at the end. --Regina Marler

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