Kafka on the Shore is a story of 15-year-old boy Kafka Tamura who ran away from his home to escape a gruesome prophecy. This is also the story of Nakata whose life changed upside down during the war. He is now simple aging man living on sub from the government and spend his days talking to cats. These two people are totally unrelated but get drawn to each other’s life in a totally mysterious way.
My experience reading it
The story is bizarre, mysterious, and absolutely hooking. I didn’t even realize how I glided through 600 pages of this book. The language is beautiful, almost like lyrical poetry. But I had my experience of reading Murakami’s writing style in his book Men Without Women and hence it was not a surprise.
Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn
Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
There are a lot of metaphorical quotes in the books which was an absolute delight to read. This is the story of a boy trying to find himself by losing himself. This is also a story of a man trying to fill his emptiness. There are so many metaphorical meanings and suggestions throughout the story that the more I try to unravel, the more I get confused. And hence I have decided to leave it as it is.
There are parts of the story where I don’t know what really is happening. I mean cats and humans were talking, fishes and leeches were falling from the sky, human talking to stones, soldiers in the forest who hasn’t aged since WWII and so many others. There are parts of the story that has disturbed me a lot too (parts of the prophecy – not expanding here as it might be spoiling for some).
I don’t think the experience of reading Murakami can be absolutely put in words. You have to read it to actually feel it. It will make your head spin but still, you will crave for more. And that’s what has happened to me. I am so looking forward to reading the rest of the books by him.