I FEEL SMART | KAFKA



Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami
Vintage International Edition
August 2015
Status: Complete
         Powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom.
         As their paths converge, and the reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder.

         I was extremely excited to begin this book. My sister read this book and other Murakami books and noted that they're fantastic. I've read reviews, seen videos and had comments about Murakami's magical-ness. Did he live to my expectations/the hype? Is he worth the hype? Somewhat.
         I was drawn to this book since page one. It starts with The Boy Named Crow. I was confused, yet compelled by this conversation. I didn't know who this boy is, or any character. The conversation was thought provoking and profound. I felt urged to continue the book.
         I was introduced to Kafka, a 15 year-old boy, who is running away from home. Kafka is incredibly mature and intelligent for his age. It baffles me that he's only a teenager. I pictured him about 17 or older. (It scares me that he's that young and has gotten himself in those sexual situations. I didn't expect lust to be in this book. I was surprised to say the least.) Although I've read Kafka's story, I still think he's a mystery. This book left me stumped.
         I also met Nakata, who is an old man and not that bright. I love old people, they're so cute. Anyway, I loved Nakata. He was so innocent and dim. Does that make me sound like an ass? I just pictured a cute old man searching for a cat and being frustrated, yet accepting of his situation.
         As you can see, I am very out of my element. I have absolutely no idea how to evaluate literary fiction, nonetheless write a review for one. 
         I am extremely confused by this book and it makes me frustrated. In the beginning, I read elements of Oedipus in the story and I understood the story a little bit. You can't escape your fate, it'll always come to get you, or you'll run into it head on. There was a lot of similes and metaphors, and I mean a lot. They weren't that hard to follow because the author directly tells you what it means, but dumps it into the dialogue. This is done very often because, as mentioned above, there's a lot of similes and metaphors. They always pertained to life.
         Not only is it confusing, it's quite lengthy. The story is very dragged out. It accounted Kafka's life away from home, day by day. I read every mundane, trivial thing he did. I worked out today...I ate two bowls of udon...I had dirty thoughts... I think the story can be cut down a bit.
         The writing is somewhere in the middle, very modern and touched upon important topics/issues. The book alternated characters. Kafka's chapters were first person and Nakatas/Hoshino's were in third person, which I found weird. The style is very simple with embellishments. There was imagery, simile, and metaphors. There were talking cats and weird precipitation. It had a very gentle touch of magical realism. I thought I was going to be hit with so much more, but I'm underwhelmed. It reminded me of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki with it's 2 interrelated plots. The plot eventually interlock and start weaving together, but I started glazing over the words at that point. I just wanted to finish this book for the sake of finishing. It's a great book and I'll read it again when I'm older and more appreciative of literary fiction.

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