Murakami does his very best to create a bizzare world in Kafka On the Shore! Right from the title to the two parallel stories, it’s just unexpectedly peculiar. The title is a song as well as a painting in the book!!
A teenage boy Kafka runs away from his home to find his long lost mum and sister! He finds solace in a library where he just reads the whole day! Kafka has these inspiring conversations with a fictional character – “A boy named Crow” who helps him stay strong on his journey! The library assistant helps him a lot! He meets women who are suggestive of being his mother and sister BUT he has physical relationships with them both! Well, it’s Murakami’s uncanny world!
The second story is where more of the craziness happens! Nakata, the protagonist, becomes unconscious at some school activity for days and after he wakes up, he is capable of communicating just with cats! And hence he is the ‘cat-finder’. Nakata talks about himself in the third person throughout which is a bit creepy to start with but his character is so likable after some time of reading about him! Like Kafka, he also has a certain unknown goal of finding a stone and befriends Hoshino, a young truck driver, along the journey! Their friendship and Hoshino’s loyalty towards Nakata is similar to Kafka’s with the library assistant, very touching but Nakata’s one won my heart!
There are lot of other characters along with lots of talking cats! You witness a fish-rain through Murakami’s words and get introduced to Johhny Walker who is making a flute with cat souls! There are lot of implicit suggestions that both the stories are related and connected! Some of Kafka’s wishes are fullfilled by means of Nakata! And they flow along seamlessly throughout, they are all Kafka’s looking for something!
You might be thinking I revealed everything here, but NO! Like I always mention, no words can re-express Murakami’s sagas! For my Murakami love and his world, I did love the utterly brilliant storytelling in the book! I read somewhere that is it is a metaphysical mind-bender and yes I agree absolutely! Kafka on the Shore has everything we love Murakami for!
Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”
“Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.”
“Chance encounters are what keep us going.”
“A certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect.”
“Each person feels pain in his own way, each has his own scars.”
“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”
“When someone is trying very hard to get something, they don’t. And when they’re running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.”
“You’ve already decided what you’re going to do, and all that’s left is to set the wheels in motion. I mean, it’s your life. Basically, you gotta go with what you think is right.”
Any one who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’ like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s just a natural feeling.
Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.