Oh man. I’m still battling with this book – and I finished it two days ago. There are so many questions I have, and so many things that went right over my head, that it makes it difficult for me to like Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.
I didn't hate it. So that’s a plus.
Ok, so. Plot line:
Meet Kafka Tamura, a 15 year old runaway, who leaves behind his father, a world renowned sculptor, in search of, well, himself… I guess. Or perhaps it’s better to say he was looking for his mother and older sister who abandoned him years ago, and THEN finds himself. He makes his way to a quaint little library where he befriends Oshima, a librarian/receptionist who, by the way, is a female – that dresses like a male – and likes males. So a homosexual transgendered librarian? Anyway, that is not really of any importance in the story, just an interesting fact. Kafka becomes employed by the owner of the library, a fifty-something year old woman named Mrs. Saeki. Madness ensues.
Meet Nakata, an elderly man who, having suffered a high fever and coma when he was younger, is “not very bright.” Nakata can not read, yet he can talk to cats. Yes, cats. He can also make fish and leeches fall from the sky. Nakata begins a sort of psychic quest, with the help of a young truck driver named Hoshino, westward (towards the exact same library where Kafka Tamura is living/working). Madness ensues.
I think I can put it this way: There were parts that were really good in Kafka on the Shore, and then there were parts that I just didn’t enjoy. But – I did feel the need to finish it. To see where Kafka would end up. To see what Nakata was setting out to do. To see where Murakami was headed with this strange tale.
In the end – I really don’t feel like it needed as many fantastic metaphysical elements as it had. There were parts that I feel could have been left out – i.e. fish/leeches falling from the sky. Nothing came of that, nor was there really any reason for that to happen. Unless it was some strange biblical allusion to the frogs that fell from the sky in the Egypt – but then that still confuses me. The metaphors in the book were THICK. Thick I tell you!
Loose ends stay loose ends. And that just aint my style I guess. I’m not saying every book has to tie its plot up in a neat little bundle, but when MAJOR ideas never come to fruition, then yes, that is a tad upsetting as a reader.
If you like weird, and I mean weird, and you don’t mind extremely descriptive sex scenes, then give Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore a shot.
On to reading!