There are two reasons as to why I chose Kafka on the shore as my first Murakami’s novel:
1.The name Kafka in the title (unconventional and erudite)
2.There are cats in this book and they talk and I love Cats (unconventional criteria)
Hence my journey began into Harukis’s surreal world of inebriating storytelling that has surely made me addictive. I was completely clueless as to what to expect from this novel and I am glad that I was, since contrariwise the subsequent experience I had wouldn’t have been that much fulfilling and magical.
It’s a common belief that when you read a book you not only read but live the characters and story within and since we have that much privilege then why not extend our geographical boundaries to a state of fantasy where anything and everything is possible.
Kafka on the shore provides you exactly that. One might feel being lost in a reverie and if you take a break from that you might ask yourself,OK…What the hell am I reading? But you go back to it like an adamant lover to his beloved. Such books are heavy on a reader’s mind and have its after effects too. One start vying for more and more and begin questioning a lot many things because after all Truth is the source of most Fiction.
This novel doesn’t come up as wholly solely metaphysical but a blend of reality and philosophy with supernatural (by that I mean, not all characters in this book are abnormal, but abnormality is also a reality for many) so that it remains at an acceptable level of fiction. The theme constitutes of 2 worlds here, that of the living and of the dead and how both are connected to each other. It transfers you to some hypnotic state where you protest every sense of reason inside your head and go with flow of haruki’s stream.
The only minor gripe I have is with its ending simply because it doesn’t seem like an end. Murakami leaves it to reader’s imagination as to what might have happened to Kafka after everything he went through (read Oedipus myth), but when the protagonist is a 15-year old boy and having his whole life ahead one can’t simply say “and he lived happily ever after”. I wouldn’t have mind reading hundred more pages to know about Kafka’s future life.
Well leaving that apart, I loved this book and also I love how he brings mesmerizing music into his works and treat it with respect and dignity which I feel are the kind of recommendations on his part to his readers because undeniably music has a powerful effect on human lives.
And I know after having read two of his novels, I am going to love all his works inspite of their flaws because sometimes such surrender is pure bliss.