Jason's Reviews > Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Dec 17, 2012

bookshelves: read-2008
Read in August, 2008

What makes this book work, while it blends together simple, everyday conversations and observations with fish raining from the sky with dreams of murder and rape that exist in reality, not to mention the characters Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders, is the matter of fact tone that Murakami employs. Everything is a dream here, mostly because there is not a blinking of the eye. The plot thickens, but Murakami keeps with his simple recounting of events. He does not speed up the tone, he does not encourage urgency, he continues to tell us about the world growing increasingly weirder, increasingly more complex with the same gentle tone of voice.

This is why we believe in Murakami's works, as absurd as they are. He has the calming tone of a newspaper reporter, and we trust in his staid explanations. He recounts everything without blinking, whether it be vile or rapturous; and he does it with an elegance in metaphor and analogy that hides itself. This is not a text of two thousand word sentences or fifty cent words, and so we are taken off guard by the surprisingly complex explorations of our very real world through Murakami's very surreal one.

Wound throughout this, however, is something of metaphysics. Told through books read and stories heard and facts recounted, the strangeness of the world and its correlation to our own add up to something more than initial impressions. Anyone can right a book about dreams, can weave in metaphysics and analogy, but only Murakami can make us believe that we, ourselves, could have dreamed it. (apologies if I've cribbed this thought from somewhere else--it feels like I have)
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