Judith's Reviews > Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Jun 12, 11

bookshelves: literary, mystery, surrealism, magic-realism
Read from April 26 to June 13, 2011 — I own a copy

Maybe I'm just getting tired of Haruki Murakami, but Kafka on the Shore took me a long time to finish because I couldn't quite enjoy it.

The prose is as beautiful as Murakami's prose tends to be, but there's something about the story and the main character (Kafka Tamura) that I simply didn't like. The supporting characters were great. I loved old and "I'm kind of stupid" Nakata, Hoshino, and Oshima (although there was this weird point when Oshima went up against a pair of feminist activists and he was just really ANNOYING). The weird business with Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders I can get over because -- well -- they're not the strangest things to show up in a Murakami novel. But Kafka just annoyed me.

Also, after having read so many Murakami novels, I'm starting to see that the author's weakness is that his voice is too strong for him to actually write in the voice of his character. Kafka doesn't sound 15. Kafka sounds like a lot of other Murakami protagonists. Murakami protagonists are all so self-absorbed.

That said, I really do think the prose is pretty (if a bit slow and boring). My copy has so many Post-it flags on it for all the quotable things it has. But it's not my favorite Murakami novel -- quite the opposite, in fact. I was completely unable to connect with the main character and I found him irritating, which usually ruins books for me (see Bartimaeus Trilogy, Lioness Quartet).

ETA: The occasional jumps to second person were incredibly obnoxious. They were so jarring. And much of the book was gratuitously weird, wordy, and borderline trashy.

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Reading Progress

05/03/2011 page 108
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