Thursday, May 28, 2009

#18: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

A boy with an alter-ego named "Crow" runs away after being told of an Oedipal curse on his head; meanwhile, an elderly man who can talk to cats begins on a parallel odyssey after a brutal killing. Their paths converge at a strange library not far from a ghost-filled wood. Both a painting and a one-hit wonder song called "Kafka on the Shore" play critical roles.

Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore is incredibly difficult to summarize, as one might derive from the previous paragraph. It is strangely dreamlike, to the point of drowsiness, paragraphs of mundane detail punctuated with surprising bursts of murder, rape, and more. Serial killers and pimps drift past librarians and truck drivers. There are slugs falling from the sky, possible UFOs, and various benign and evil spirits.

Obviously not for all tastes, but certainly unique and with merit for those looking for a change of pace. I borrowed this on audiobook from my pal Michael, who you can see in the sidebar is also trying to read 50 books this year.


  1. I just got done with a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami, "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman." I was totally unimpressed with him as a writer at first, but wound up liking him a lot. I like the way you describe the one you've read, it sounds very much like how I would describe the short stories. Someone else recently recommended "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" to me - have you read that one?

  2. I have not, but it was also recommended me. I was interested enough to probably try another.