Kafka on the Shore was published in 2002 to wide acclaim. It has been awarded by The New York Times with placement on the 10 Best Books of 2005. The story has incited the public to ask many questions about its meaning, to which the author responded in multiple entries on his website for the novel.
In this novel, there are two distinct but interrelated plots, between which the narrative runs back and forth, each plot alternating by chapter. Every other chapter tells the story of Kafka, a teenager, who has run away from his father's home to avoid an Oedipal curse. On a quest to find his mother and sister he is entangled in a series of adventures, but eventually finds safety in a secluded library. He spends his days there reading a translation of A Thousand and One Nights, until police catch up with him in connection to a violent crime.
Intertwined is Nakata's story, that of an old man whose job is to find lost cats. One particular case puts him on a journey that leads him far from home, for the first time in his life. He becomes friends with a truck driver who later becomes very attached to him. Although it appears that Nakata and Kafka's stories might collide throughout the novel, their tales perhaps take place on a metaphysical plane rather than in reality. In fact, the author Murakami has said that there are multiple riddles contained in the novel that will arise with more than one reading.
Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer and translator. He is considered an important personality in post-modern literature, though his work has often been criticized by the Japanese literary establishment.
Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage
boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal
prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging
simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now
is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily
life, he cannot fathom.
As their paths converge, and the
reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a
world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their
bodies to make love or commit murder. Download and start listening now!