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Book Review: Kafka on the Shore by Murakami

After reading Norwegian Wood and IQ84, you may feel that this book is one of the best works of Murakami. If this is your third book, you must have at least understood what to expect from him.


Murakami has told that you may need to read this over and over again to understand the book! In the days of Twitter and Instagram, we don't think many have time or patience to read any book as bizarre as this even once.

As the story goes: so you have a kid who is 15 with mental age of a big guy who runs away and is still running away from home, reality and everything else! And (like IQ84) this one also has a parallel track of another dude who is around 60 but with the mental age of a kid who cannot read!

So while the first one talks to his alter ego (of imagination or maybe a real crow! I or Murakami doesn't really know or care!), which is a crow! And the other dude can talk to cats! (At least in the beginning when nothing makes sense).

It starts with a modern re-imagination or retelling of the Oedipus Rex story with bizarre twists and if you had cringed with Oedipus complex, then here you will just retch.

As usual, in the Murakami style, you have talking cats, talking stones and even a dog which can do telepathy. You have the regular worm hole like phenomenon where reality and imagination overlap! It's your routine bizarre world where like the dream theatre album, the dream and day unite!

You must be amazed though at the frank sexual innuendos and fantasies! The description of other books and musical stories are pretty vivid and well put. It definitely shows that the author is well read if nothing else. Even the simple description of rain or beach or even a poem is so abstract that you either love it or hate it! I have learned to tolerate it!

According to ‘The Guardian’ there will be three types of people after reading this one! First who will like the book and Murakami and rave about it and support it with full intent! The second are the neutrals while the third are the ones who will ask themselves why they had to torment themselves so much and hate both the book and Murakami!

You may feel all the above in different pages of this book! But you may never been able to understand the hype (apparently neither can Murakami!)

In the end you have more questions than answers! You have to use your own imagination to fill in the gaps! If it's answers you are searching for then you will be sorely disappointed! But then you don't read Murakami to get answers!

Basically, the reader, the story and the writer are in their respective fantasy worlds! So just read and don't try to make sense! This is not the Kiego Higashino world where 1+1=2! Here everyone and everything is simply on the dream and fantasy shore! Just like Kafka!

Some may find it boring! Some may read it many times more! But one thing is sure that it will shake you to the core!

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