Kafka on The Shore – Haruki Murakami.
Haruki Murakami (thats a tuff name) became the second author whose name I hadn’t heard a month ago but now after reading one of his books – I totally am a huge fan of his writing(s). The other one of-course is the fantastic “Gabriel Garcia Marquez” my all time favorite – again both of them came highly recommended by friends, had seen a lot of their works on various book stores. As I read a few of Marquez’s novels last year and fell in love with his surreal writings, I actually slowed down after reading a couple of them realizing that he hasn’t written much (in numbers), so I need to stretch it as long as I can to enjoy it more. But after reading (my) very first Murakami book – I guess time has come that I finish Marquez’s books quickly and move on to Murakami :D. He is simply superb and I am sure if you read both of them – you will definitely agree that both their works transport you to an entirely different world altogether and its unbelievably unreal, fascinating yet so convincing. Totally loved this book and will never forget the fantastic characters – so many of them. Of-course Japanese as well as Koreans have some kind of specialization on Blood, Gore and Sex too – so not so shocking for me, neither predictable but nor gut wrenching like the way Marquez does. If someone has read and loved him – this one is a piece of cake. There is another point that I so much want to talk about but unfortunately that works like a spoiler for those who haven’t read it, if you have read I guess you know what I wanted to say :).
Kafka on the shore came very highly recommended by various book readers groups and I was shocked that I hadn’t heard the name of the writer ever so I had to pick it up and give it a read. Initially it had a very slow start but as I kept plowing through as per my Kindle after 20% – there was no looking back. Story of a 15 year old kid who calls himself “Kafka Tamura”, runs away from his home in search of his mother and elder sister who had abandoned them (him and his dad) long ago. Parallely we have another fantastic story of Mr. Nakata (a totally totally lovable character) who has no memory of his past, cant read or write, is on state subsidy aged around 60 years. I mean it was such an interesting read to have one chapter on Kafka and his adventure of running away, finding a place to live by (even that is a terrific story in itself), finding friends, trying to find his mother and than on the other hand we have second chapter on Mr. Nakata and his adventure, in search of something, he has no clue where to find and what exactly he is looking for? why is he the way he is, how he finds help and the thing and what it leads – is simply unbelievably gorgeous story that you’ve got to read.
Once I completed like 20% – the story became so engrossing that I just couldn’t put it down – unfortunately due to my travel I had to do that so many times but I picked it up again as soon as I could, have actually spent some sleepless nights reading the story of Mr. Nakata and the kid Kafka. Flashback of Nakata’s past as a kid, the accident and its repercussions, the way he talks, his cat connections were hilarious. For me Mr. Nakata was the real hero of the book with a terrific ending (I will call that, that). Another thing which works big time in favor of the book is its parallel tracks – I kept imagining that sooner or later they have to cross their paths, there has to be a connection between the kid and the gramps. Does it? and what was the connection and how it all ends is what this book should be read for. Now that I know – I was thinking – would I ever pick this book again? I certainly will. Another thing that I love about Russian and Japanese books is their character names. They are totally too good and I find them pretty interesting when it takes some time for me to get used to the names and how they should be pronounced – here too there are a loads of them, like Kafka Tamura, Mr. Nakata, his help Hoshino the lovable truck driver, Oshima, Ms Saeki, Sakura, Johnie Walker (cat killer) and the KFC’s Colonel Sanders – terrific.
Do let me if you have read the book how you like it. And what would you make out of the ending. The ending leaves so many questions unanswered but the philosophical turn it takes – it actually doesn’t matter by that time. Overall a terrific read and I will be totally looking forward to his other works now. And I am sure you must have seen my last post – a friend just gifted me two books – one from Marquez and one from Murakami :). Happy reading.