Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Little known fact: In Costa Rica, blogger.com is in spanish. I am exhausted from travel, nervous about studying abroad, and very confused by this book, but I will try to write a review as best I can.

This book was confusing, to say the least. It involved a 15-year old runaway escaping from an ominous prophecy straight from Oedipus imposed on him by his own father, an old man who can talk to cats, souls leaving bodies, souls entering dreams, bodies entering dreams, souls... dreaming.. bodies? I couldn't shake the feeling that this entire book was a metaphor, but for what, I have no idea. Perhaps some of the more tricky bits would make more sense if I had a background in Japanese cultural history; I get the feeling that a lot of the strange characters and elements of Murakami's story would mean more to a reader from his own country.

Murakami is an excellent writer, and completely lets his reader get inside the head of the main character, the incredibly intelligent, 15-year old Kafka Tamura (an assumed name). I really got a sense of Kafka's wandering consciousness, and some of the things that he speculated about the state of his own subconscious nearly made my head spin. Kafka on the Shore is written in a style similar to Jonathon Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated, where alternating chapters tell different story lines, the secondary story line beginning in the past and eventually converging with the present.

I really enjoyed this book, it was an incredibly well told story, but one that is so densely packed with metaphor and symbolism, that it would take much more effort than I can offer to extract any greater meaning from it.

1 comment:

El Ornitorrinco said...

I came here looking for reviews to know what the people said about "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle". I decided to read all of your Murakami reviews. Isn't it shi**y having to deal with a Spanish blogger? LOL I invite you to my Costa Rican literature oriented blog, of course, it's in Spanish. =)