MizzSandie's Reviews > Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
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This book started out a 5 star for me, then took some turns I didn't like, went down to 4, and in the end got so spaced out that it ended a 3. And as I'm writing this review, many things i didn't like come to mind, and it might end on a 2 star.
The book turned out to be nothing like I expected it to be, and not to it's advantage, as I moved along in the story it just turned me more and more off.
I'm torn because I really like the way Murakami writes, most of the time anyway, but I really didn't like the story all that much, some parts of it were very beautiful and others boring, pointless or disgusting.
Long books can be a curse or a blessing, depending on what the writer fills the pages with. If you are loving it the more pages the better. Unfortunately, in this case, Murakami sometimes writes boring passages where pointless things are described in detail. The reader is strong along, wasting time, and the book and the story does not gain from it. If it's there to set the scene or convey charachter descriptions there are MUCH better ways to do that. For example he goes on for pages about Kafka going to the gym, working out, washing himself off afterwards, in every detail... nothing happens, no major thoughts are thought that couldnt have been thought elsewhere without all the mindless background noise. another example is when the old man, Nakata, is asleep for days and we follow his companion around, eating breakfast, checking if he's woken up, eating dinner.... we get it. he's asleep for a long time and it's really really boring. You don't have to lull us to sleep too!

I don't mind things being abstract or metaphoric or open endings. If it works, that is. But this book is beyond that. Parts of it are just too WEIRD and surreal(for my taste) and it ends off with too many loose ends, too many things left without a hint of an explanation, leaving me more confused and 'WTF'? It left me with the feeling that Murakami himself just wrote things down without even making up his OWN mind about what he think happend and didn't bother to actually have grounds to build his elusive story on. (view spoiler)
It's like Murakami is just asking us to believe in this nonsical world, without even bothering to EXPLAIN it better, and so, to me, a lot of it just remains nonsense. If you are writing about a world where normal rules dont apply, so the reader does not have a reference point it's your job, as a writer, to write that reference point, to make them see this world, believe in it. at least for the moment. and here Murakami failed in my opinion.
It's possible that I'm just 'not very bright', like Nakata, and therefore didn't get an overall picture to form my own ideas about what happened in this book. If you have it all figured out, be my guest to enlighten me. Part of me just want to edit this book, go back to Murakami and say 'i'm sure you can do better. if you take out this and this and find a way to explain or at least hint more of an explanation towards this and this, then we actually have a story that sorta hangs together'.

And then... all the gore, splatter and violence that pops up in this book ocassionally... well, it's just not for me. Especially not when it's performed by men from whiskey bottles.

The writing and the storylines that i actually cared for, (but was let down on), is what earns it points. The deduction is for all the unexplained spaceyness, the much-too-many loose ends and the gore.
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Quotes MizzSandie Liked

Haruki Murakami
“Listen up - there's no war that will end all wars.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“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.

An 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.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages - a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers. Breathing it in, I glance through a few pages before returning each book to its shelf.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
“If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


Reading Progress

12/14/2011 "FINALLY a good book! Only a few chapters in and i'm already in love with it. The writing, the story, the characters:) a coffee refill and i'm back to reading ;)"
12/15/2011 page 247
40.16% "This book is nothing like I expected it to be. I realise now that I stepped on a very strange ride, along with the characters of this book, and like them, sorta dazed and confused as I move along. But I am also curious and interested and the writing is flawless. Wondering how many more weird things there are to come... :)"
12/16/2011 page 390
63.0% "I must admit... at times this book moves too slow, with too many uinteresting details and I find myself a bit bored..."
12/16/2011 page 486
79.0% "Okay. I get it. The stone doesn't talk. Even if this surreal universe. It's been mentioned a million times now, and it's really not funny, even if that is apparently the aim."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve I've only read one Murakami (Wind-up Bird), but can see your point about how his weirdness could become off-putting when taken to the extreme. A well-justified downgrade, MizzSandie, and a well-written review.


MizzSandie Thanks Steve! :)


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