This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Kafka on the shore is a book with two distinct plotlines. At first, it seems as if the one has nothing to do with the other.
One of the plotlines tells the story of 15-year-old Kafka. He runs away from home to escape a curse and to find his mother and sister. He finds a home in a library in Takamatsu. Then he makes friends with Oshima, who runs the library. He finds peace in reading and helping in the library. But the peace gets disturbed when the police get interested in him.
The other plotline tells us the story of the lovable character Nakata. After being sick as a child, he became mentally deficient. But he got another ability- he communicates with cats. When he searches for a missing cat, he gets pulled into a path that takes him far from his home. He befriends a truck driver. They have an adventure that neither of them suspected they would ever have.
He chooses this name for himself, in honor of writer Franz Kafka. He is fifteen years old and has an alter ego, named Crow. Crow motivates Kafka throughout the novel. Kafka has some serious issues for a fifteen-year-old. But it makes him interesting and a believable character.
As a child, Nakata became unconscious after a mysterious flash in the sky. It happened during a field trip to collect mushrooms. All the kids fainted, but recovered shortly, Nakata did not. He woke up with memory loss and could not read, and his ability to abstract thinking was gone. He had to relearn everything but was never the same. But, he did gain the ability to talk to cats. This is the best character that I have ever met between the pages of a book.
He is a truck driver, in his mid-twenties. He picks up Nakata, and decides to help him with his strange goal. Nakata reminds Hoshino of his grandfather. In the end, he plays a big role in concluding the story.
She is the manager of the private library where Kafka stays. She is a complex character. After the death of her boyfriend, she traveled to an alternate reality, and a part of her never returned.
A cat killer, who plans to make a flute out of the cat’s souls. He also dresses exactly like Johny Walker, the guy on the whiskey bottles.
WHAT I THOUGHT:
I mentioned before that Haruki Murakami is my favorite writer of all time. If you read this book, you will understand why. Reading this book is like going on a fantasy roller coaster or something. Murakami himself said that this is a book that people must read several times, and I agree. I will be happily reading Kafka on the shore again the next time I visit the beach.