Kafka on the Shore

Paperback, 467 pages

English language

Published Nov. 6, 2006 by Vintage International.

ISBN:
978-1-4000-7927-8
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
62879613
Goodreads:
4929

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4 stars (162 reviews)

Kafka on the Shore (海辺のカフカ, Umibe no Kafuka) is a 2002 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Its 2005 English translation was among "The 10 Best Books of 2005" from The New York Times and received the World Fantasy Award for 2006. The book tells the stories of the young Kafka Tamura, a bookish 15-year-old boy who runs away from his Oedipal curse, and Satoru Nakata, an old, disabled man with the uncanny ability to talk to cats. The book incorporates themes of music as a communicative conduit, metaphysics, dreams, fate, the subconscious. After the release of the book, Murakami allowed for questions about the novel to be sent in, and responded to many of them. The novel was generally well-received, with positive reviews from John Updike and the New York Times.

16 editions

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The novelty caught me. I was constantly wondering “Is this novel or just everyday Japanese?” It has a sense of place despite being weird and fragmented. I loved the broken shards that never came together and the parade of what the hell is that about elements. The story isn’t the journey it is just the Colonel Sanders that you meet along the way.

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

At some point, you just have to accept Kafka on the Shore for what it is — a metaphor, a home of symbolism, an LSD trip in literary form.

After every few chapters, I'd theorize a possible explanation for what's going on. Every time I read on, I get debunked. The book ends with lots of strings untied, yet it doesn't feel unfinished. It's art for the sake of art — it doesn't make sense, and it doesn't have to. If that interests you, pick it up, and grab an umbrella while you're at it. Might rain cats and dogs, who knows?

After reading Kafka on the Shore, I swayed on my hammock and saw a rainbow form among the clouds. I watched the birds to ground myself back to reality.

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars


5/5 My most cherished and most loathed book of all time.

disclaimer: writing this post 12 hours of travel, errors may be made

I originally read this book in year 11 after it caught my eye at a book fair. This was my very first Murakami read...

My initial reaction to this book was one of: repulsion and loathe—and yet I was hooked till the very end. Now that I have reread it I cannot say that has changed very much. Elements of it (I will not spoil but if you have happened to have read this book you will know exactly what I mean) are flat out despicable and in a sense, vile.

So what makes this story so special? Why does it get 5/5 despite my overt hatred towards great chunks of this novel?

Easy. Murakami's writing style—Murakami's writing style makes room for such despicable elements whilst still …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is my first Murakami book. And I really liked his style of writing. Murakami has a knack for capturing beauty, mood, and scenery perfectly. And that is what stood out for me among all the magical realism and philosophical ideas in the book. Just like how reality can be modeled by mathematics in a much better way if imaginary numbers are used, with skillful writers like Murakami, magical worlds can convey the truth and real feelings better than hyper-realism. I do not claim to have solved all the riddles the plot posed, but I doubt that is the point of the book. Unlike his mastery of building and conveying the mood and beauty, Murakami's attempt at conveying philosophical ideas is not as successful. Some of the philosophical ideas unintentionally felt like funny philosophical arguments written by Douglas Adams. But that is just a minor gripe I have in an …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

An epic, mythopoeic story skillfully woven by a man who clearly knows what's up. I loved all the characters involved here, how distinctly and uniquely they represented their associated ideas. They all had such strong, captivating voices, and the dialogue felt very natural. Hoshino and Nakata were hilarious together, and even though we only see Sada for a little bit, even he has a distinct personality. Such a wide array of wonderfully crafted interactions.

I loved all the irony and wordplay in use. So many laugh out loud moments full of insight and wit. I continue to love Murakami's use of language, and I suppose the work of his translators.

Interesting use of an intersex character. There was less common knowledge about the spectrum of gender when the story was written (2002), so it's still set in a rather binary way of perceiving gender. However it's still ahead of its …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is the first Haruki Murakami novel I have read, and it was a delight. I raced through it, but think it is a book I'll want to reread in a couple of months at a slightly slower pace, to enjoy the story, the prose (beautifully translated), the characters and the puzzles more. I love stories which explore reality bleeding out into fantasy, and this a fabulous example.

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I was reading Kafka on the Shore,
at a coconut groove in Kanyakumari.

It was very windy, cloudy and just so perfect.
Amidst the sounds of the wind, if I try really hard
I could hear the waves crashing on the rocks
or was I imagining the ocean and the waves?
I am not sure, because as I said
I was reading Kafka on the Shore.
Time and reality behave strangely
when you read Kafka on the Shore.

The book is beautifully weird, just like us.

Hmm... I wish I had a getaway like Oshima's cabin.
I wish I lived at a quaint cosy library like Komura Memorial Library.

I wish...
I wish...

But then I remember,
I am not as brave as Kafka Tamura.
I was definitely not the bravest kid in the world when I was 15.
Nor am I the bravest person in the world even now. …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Storygraph'

1 star

I made it through the second Murakami book I attempted, though it was difficult. I enjoyed the philosophical discussions and was interested in what was happening to Nakata, since it was so strange there was no way I could really understand it. But Kafka Tamura was annoying. I hated him. He gets an erection pretty much every time the story comes back to him, and he rapes a girl in his dream. Pretty bad start for a 15 year old I'd say. Miss Saeki in my eyes isn't much better. The only person that redeemed the book in my eyes was Oshima.

But I'll back up. With his mother having left when he was very young and feeling no connection to his father, Kafka Tamura runs away. His plans are methodical and dispassionate. Contrast this to Nakata, an elderly man who experienced a strange phenomenon when he was young and …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I think I may have reached saturation point with Murakami as I didn't enjoy this one half as much as I did with his previous books. The usual stuff is still there, the magical realism, the cats, strange girls and emotionless male characters, what is missing is that brilliant writing and a strong story.

The dual stories are, Kafka Tamura a tedious 15yr-old emo kid, I hated him and this is probably why I didn't get into the book. Kafka just seems to whine and whine and people do stuff for him. The second story though is brilliant, I loved Satoru Nakata, such a gentle old man, he might have been short on mental faculties but he was far wiser than anybody else and his relationship with Hoshino was fun to read.

The biggest failing of this book was the sex scenes, I felt embarrassed for Murakami whilst reading it, …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I read this book after reading 1Q84, and I found certain similarities interesting.

This book had a slow start. The premise floats around alternating chapters of Kafka - a teen that has run away from home to live another life - and an event during WWII where a bunch of kids fell unconscious in Japan.

Though, in no time, both narratives ramp up into disjointed realities, violence, weird sex, and dreams. All dispersed between introspective pits for characters that wonder who their true selves are and if they could ever become who they feel they were meant to be.

There are so many cats in the world, and Siamese cats are the most sociably articulate and helpful. Carry sardines around if you plan to become a cat tracker. Word of advice: if you ever run into Johnnie Walker, it may be best to turn away.

I rotated between both the …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

Was ein Buch...

Wirklich schwierig zu durchdringen.

Ein paar Sachen die mir in Erinnerung geblieben sind:

Es gibt 4 Hauptpersonen in der Geschichte.

Kafka Tamura, Saiki-San, Nakata und Heishino.
Nakata ist um die 60 Jahre alt, liebenswürdig, gutmütig und geistig zurückgeblieben. Er kann weder lesen noch schreiben und versteht auch ansonsten nicht viel. Auch Erinnerungen sind für ihn schwer greifbar. Seine Leben nimmt eine schwerwiegende Wendung als er gerade 7 Jahre alt ist. Es ist 1944 in Japan, Zeit des zweiten Weltkrieges. Er ist mit einigen anderen Kindern aus Tokio aufs Land geschickt worden. An einem Tag macht seine Lehrerin mit ihm und der Klasse einen Ausflug. Die Schüler und die Lehrer erspähen im Himmel ein leuchtendes Flugobjekt (was es genau ist wird nie erläutert). Einige Minuten später fallen alle Kinder in Ohnmacht auf dem Berg. Sie sind in einer Art Hypnose. Alle Kinder bis auf Nakata wachen wieder nach …

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

"For a fifteen-year-old who doesn't even shave yet, you're sure carrying a lot of baggage around."

That basically sums up my feelings for this book. I love Murakami's writing style and so it didn't bother me much that not a lot happens in this book, but I still couldn't help absolutely agreeing with Oshima when he says this about the main character. It's definitely a thinking book, as is most of Murakami's stuff, but I enjoyed it in all its mind-bending strangeness.

Review of 'Kafka on the Shore' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

A bloated, uninteresting mess that needs at least a quarter of its length slashed away. At least.

I don’t usually give books as low of a rating as 1 star, but three things put me over the edge:

1. The treatment of Oshima is pretty damn appalling. Constantly treated as an ‘other’ for being a trans person (the word ‘trans’ is never mentioned). The narrative will occasionally misgender him. It’s gross.

2. Early in the book are interview transcripts describing an incident during WWII that we find out pertain to the character of Nakata. Other than the ‘twist’ that they provide, there seems to be no other point to them.

3. I don’t care if the novel is basing itself from Oedipus: the sex scenes are absolutely abominable. Sorry, but reading a description of a 15 year old having sex with a 50 year old woman who’s also his mother …

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