Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murakami

 

Lately I have heard lots of positive comments about Haruki Murakami so I decided to read some of his novels and I started with Kafka on the shore. I expected to encounter an impressive novel, one of those that you never forget but I found much more than that.

The novel is based on two different stories: the story of Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy trying to run away from his father and from the future that his father predicted for him (based on Oedipus myth), and also trying to find his mother and sister who left him when he was 4 years old. On the other side, Satoru Nakata, a sexagerian who lost most of his mental faculties when he was a young boy during a peculiar incident. Their stories are quite different but, at the same time, they seem to have much in common.

This novel can be considered a modern Greek tragedy, a manual for understanding Beethoven, a “how to communicate with cats”, a tribute to “mentally defective” people, a lesson on how to be the “toughest fifteen-years-old boy in the world”, a lesson of Japanese culture, or it can be considered a great novel which perfectly combines all of the above. I definitely choose the second option.

Quotes:

“…in everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward any more. And when we reach that point all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.”

“Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won’t be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there – to the edge of the world. There’s something you can’t do unless you go there.”

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