I guess from other reviews that I'm not the typical reader of this sort of book - some of the other reviews go way over my head, which might suggest that the book did, too. Unlike many readers, I'd never heard of this author, nor have I studied philosophy or metaphysics, nor did I appreciate any of the clever references to other works which I gather are in the book. So my review is based on the book alone without any external context or any expectations of this author at all. I picked the book up more or less at random from a public library shelf because it looked interesting.
The first half of the book had me sitting up reading in the early hours of the morning, it was that good. I'd never read anything quite like it and was fascinated to see where the story was going to go. I appreciated the book's readability too, with the author conveying complex ideas without getting bogged down in complex language. Some of the reviews I've read subsequently are less readable than the... read more
Murakami in transition?
By Charles E. Stevens - November 4, 2004
Kafka on the Shore is at once familiar and unfamiliar to readers of past Murakami stories: in story and in plotting it is reminiscent of past works of Murakami; the Tamura Kafka storyline is in many ways a re-telling of Hard-Boiled Wonderland, and the split narrative style also reminds one of that book. Indeed, many times throughout the book I found myself thinking that Kafka on the Shore felt like a kind of summation of Murakami's works, all the way from Hear the Wind Sing through After the Quake in terms of style and plot elements.
Despite the many familiar elements, there are several significant deviations from the usual formula, starting with the protagonist Tamura Kafka. Unlike the typical 30-something "everyman" familiar to readers of Murakami, Kafka on the Shore features the young and proactive Tamura Kafka and to the best of my knowledge is the first of Murakami's novels to be written half in the third person, giving Murakami a bit more freedom in telling this... read more
An uplifting, gorgeous, literary adventure
By Sheetal Bahl - August 5, 2007
I finished this book quite some time ago, and it's taken me a while to review this book, because frankly, I've just been at a loss of how to write a lucid and representative review. I felt tongue-tied and "writer blocked" in the afterglow on this spellbinding adventure. Murakami took me to realms I have not reached with books for a while now, and which I am still gently floating on. I finally did decide to write though, because I think it's imperative for me to document how I felt about the book and really try and impress upon other bibliophiles that they must, must, MUST read this!
The two fundamental themes of the book are simple, and in fact, quite clichéd: one can run, but not escape, and life needs to be dealt with; and that every person has a purpose and a destiny to fulfil. The way these themes are illustrated is, however, far from simple, and to do so, Murakami shares with us two tales: one of a precocious fifteen-year old boy who leaves home in an attempt to... read more