Teresa's Reviews > Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
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Sep 16, 10

Read in September, 2010

If you like Murakami (and I do), you will like this book. It has it all: precocious teenagers, sex, violence (not much but one graphic scene that is not gratuitous), dreams, a blending of time periods, laughs (okay, more like chuckles, and those came with the interaction between Hoshino and Nakata), nature versus the urban world, war, very dark places, the nature of consciousness, cats (I think the only thing missing from the 'usual' Murakami is a character cooking spaghetti!) and memorable characters who don't always talk like 'real' people but Murakami can make that work.

The writing is, as usual, 'simple' but beautiful and it can hit you hard, as it did for me at the end of Chapter 31, as it switched, so effectively, to the 2nd person. The feeling I get from that kind of writing is why I read.

While I think I like his The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle better, this book, with many of the same themes, is perhaps even more fully realized.

And don't believe the inner flap that says all the riddles are eventually answered -- they're not (it wouldn't be Murakami if they were) and that is a good thing.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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K.D. Absolutely Were you do one who said that Kazuo Ishiguro does not re-write himself?

Murakami does. Did you notice the similarities between Wind-Up and Kafka? For example, the cats? I have read Sputnik and After Dark and the tone and story-telling style are I would say, quite similar.

But yes I agree with you that Wind-Up is his best although it is the thickest.


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia "(I think the only thing missing from the 'usual' Murakami is a character cooking spaghetti!)"

lol lol This reminds me I need to go back and finish his 'blind woman'. M has such a unique voice. And for the record KD there can never be too many cats in life or in fiction. hehehehehehehe


Teresa K.D. wrote: "Were you do one who said that Kazuo Ishiguro does not re-write himself?

Murakami does. Did you notice the similarities between Wind-Up and Kafka? For example, the cats? I have read Sputnik and Af..."


Yes, I was the one who said that about Ishiguro.

Yes, Murakami does. Same themes, but different enough stories that I don't mind. I did notice the similarities with "Kafka" and "Wind-Up" though it's been a long time since I read "Wind-Up," so probably forgot some. I haven't read either "Sputnik" or "After Dark."

Out of the 7 Murakami novels I've read (wow, I can't believe I've read so many), Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the best.


Teresa Cynthia wrote: ""(I think the only thing missing from the 'usual' Murakami is a character cooking spaghetti!)"

lol lol This reminds me I need to go back and finish his 'blind woman'. M has such a unique voice..."


Let me know how you like "Blind ... Woman," C, when you get back to it. That's one I haven't read. I have read his After the Quake, which is also a collection of short stories.


message 5: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia In my edition of blind woman he talks about how difficult it is to change his mind frame from writing books to short stories. Also, the American edition of blind woman was edited for the west. I wonder what that's all about. To me his writing still reads as very different from English or American writing which is one of my fascinations for him.


message 6: by Teresa (last edited Sep 17, 2010 10:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teresa Cynthia wrote: "... the American edition of blind woman was edited for the west. I w..."

I don't think I like that!


message 7: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I know. It feels like it was dumbed down or something. Or left out cultural references we might not cathc?


Teresa Cynthia wrote: "I know. It feels like it was dumbed down or something. Or left out cultural references we might not cathc?"

I would have to ask the publisher, why do that? Besides the fact that I don't like the author's words to be changed (though I realize they have to be translated, of course!), for no other reason then we have the internet to google unfamiliar things if we want to.


message 9: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I'm not positive but I think M. was the one to do the editing. It also seemed like his idea but I bet the publisher had a hand in it.


message 10: by Teresa (last edited Sep 17, 2010 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teresa Cynthia wrote: "I'm not positive but I think M. was the one to do the editing. It also seemed like his idea but I bet the publisher had a hand in it."

I did some googling. :) Seems they were revised by him because they were early stories and he was making them 'better' -- that I don't find unusual. I saw that Munro did that with her latest collection with the stories that were originally in TNY.

From http://www.salon.com/books/review/200... :

'... "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" is miscellaneous, a roundup of early and late works. Some of them have been substantially revised since their first publication, a reflection on the provisional nature of Japanese publishing; Murakami's novels are also often significantly revised or cut -- by the author himself, I might add -- in later editions and translations. Chances are the versions of the tales you'll find in "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" are better than those you may have read elsewhere.'


message 11: by Maria (last edited Sep 19, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

Maria Teresa, this is a compelling & stupendous review on all levels. I think I'll have to read this author, if only for the spaghetti-cooking.


Teresa Maria wrote: "Teresa, this is a compelling & stupendous review on all levels. I think I'll have to read this author, if only for the spaghetti-cooking."

Thanks, Maria. He's a good writer.


Margitte You have read this book so long ago, Teresa, that you might not remember all the detail so well as I who have just finished reading it. You summarize the book splendidly here. It was my first encounter with this author and the story left me confused. But it was still a good read.


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