Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kafka on the Shore” as Want to Read:
Kafka on the Shore
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kafka on the Shore

by
4.14  ·  Rating details ·  278,014 ratings  ·  19,290 reviews
Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for ...more
Paperback, 467 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Vintage International (first published 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kafka on the Shore, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Christopher Weil I think you need to back up a bit in your reasoning. Why do you need to gain per-se at all? Kafka on the shore can't be fully understood because the…moreI think you need to back up a bit in your reasoning. Why do you need to gain per-se at all? Kafka on the shore can't be fully understood because the author draws from many metaphysical sources. That plane of thinking is never clearly defined. But, to get a better understanding of Kafka on The Shore you have to read two of his other books, Hard Boiled Wonderland, and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Furthermore, I don't believe Murakami is popular for writing books that are "telling" and that's the beauty of his writing. Just like Virgina Woolf wrote stories that have absolutely no plot, which was unheard before her doing so. Much of the literature we read has something telling or something directly communicable. Murakami creates, instead, a feeling that is tied to the environments of his characters. You don't always understand what is occurring in a "this is coming together kind of way" to point to a realization about the character or about life. But there is a sense that you get with each event that he constructs beautifully. And the last thing I have to say, and what I am going to say goes well for most of people's contemporary attitudes about most of the material we consume, and that is, we look and value stories by their content. If you want to know why Murakami has gained acclaim just looking at the bizarre events striking his novels, it is not enough. Murakami has gain acclaim also for his writing style, which is clever, crisp--he simply paints well with words. And just as Marcus Bird has commented many of the plot elements that make-up his novels are difficult to pull off while not losing control of his story. Writers probably understand this better. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  278,014 ratings  ·  19,290 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Kafka on the Shore
Vanessa
Jul 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Masochists
Few books have infected me with boredom-induced ADD, the desire to gnaw my own foot off at the ankle, and the state of mind you might experience if forced to sit upon a nest of hornets while watching your home being burglarized, but this was one of them. It took me until page 70 to stop wanting to hop up and rearrange the spice cupboard or my sock drawer every few sentences, but then the feeling returned at page 243. Only 224 pages to go! From then on, my hatred and resentment of this book ...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
second read thoughts: I thought I'd get a better understanding for this story the second time around, but I'm still lost in a world full of questions. I know that's partly the author's intent though! I feel like I'm going to drive myself crazy if I keep trying to make sense of what this book is trying to achieve. I think that's kind of the point though. This book isn't trying to achieve anything, it's one of those books where the reader is left to decide what the book ultimately does. Which ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-japanese
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 isnt 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
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kafka on the Shore is a metaphor. It follows no rules, it doesnt adhere to reason, and applicability is not an issue. It fills you up, it tears you down. A fugue of emotions are present, you cant seem to figure out which of the many different realizations flooding you is most important. Waves roll up again and again on the beach of your consciousness and at first you resist, but after a while you understand that your struggle is pointless, so you give in. You read, you feel, you try to ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, japan
I feel compelled to say something about this right now, simply for the fact that I have seen a lot of Murakami bickering on goodreads over the years, and it has done nothing but increase in frequency in the moments leading up to, during, and beyond the release of his mammoth novel 1Q84, meaning the last couple o' months. I guess I just feel a need to state my case for the man, since he seems severely divisive in this striking way. Sure, I could certainly compose a lengthy list of love-or-hate ...more
Kenny
What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow.
Haruki Murakami -- Kafka on the Shore


1

There are few writers ~~ very few writers, whose worlds I love to inhabit. Woolf is one of them; so too is Joyce, Chekhov another, as are Dickens, Twain, Proust and Tolstoy. I can now add to that list, Haruki Murakami.

As I've stated before, I was late to the the Murakami banquet, but once I arrived I was treated to a maganificent feast, and
...more
Garima

There are two reasons as to why I chose Kafka on the shore as my first Murakamis novel:

1.The name Kafka in the title (unconventional and erudite)
2.There are cats in this book and they talk and I love Cats (unconventional criteria)

Hence my journey began into Harukiss surreal world of inebriating storytelling that has surely made me addictive. I was completely clueless as to what to expect from this novel and I am glad that I was, since contrariwise the subsequent experience I had wouldnt have
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J and Ranee (who loves Murakami)
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-core
Definitely a page-turner! Once you start, you just keep on reading. Well, why do we stop reading a book? I think we can group the reasons into three: (1) Natural - work, eat, toilet, eyes are tired, other distractions, etc; (2) Boredom - the book or its part is boring; and (3) Need to Digest - sometimes I read a phrase or an idea and it is either hard to understand so I read several times or too beautiful that I want it to sink in and I want to remember it forever.

For my first Haruki Murakami
...more
unknown
When I awoke, I realized I had slept through the night. But had it been a dream or not? It was impossible to tell. I got up, took a shower, brushed my teeth and shaved, paying special attention to my neck. When my face was again smooth and slightly pink from the razor, I went into the kitchen for breakfast.

I washed down an English muffin and jelly with two cups of strong black coffee, no sugar added, and walked out onto the balcony. The sun was still creeping higher in the sky, struggling to
...more
Em Lost In Books
Surreal. Poignant. Magical. Weird. And a classic Murakami from beginning to end.

This was my third book by Mr. Murakami. 1Q84, I enjoyed but I dont think I will be recommending it to anyone. Then came Norwegian Woods which I loved and have recommended to many friends. But Kafka on the Shore held a special place in the hearts of my friends who have read Murakami. This seems to be their favourite. So I went into this with high expectations, and Mr. Murakami did not disappoint.

Story starts with the
...more
Kelly Wondracek
No wonder Kafka on the Shore was on the New York Times "10 Best Books of 2005" list. It's one of the most engaging and magical pieces of literature I've read. Reality is unclear. The book presses the boundaries of what exists around the characters versus what exists in their minds. Powerful forces guide the characters--some known, some unknown. Odd things happen within the context of everyday Japan. Mackarel rains from the sky. A metaphysical overseer appears under the guise of Colonel Sanders; ...more
Fabian
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
The simplistic writing in "Kafka on the Shore" contrasts pretty sharply with the book's complicated themes. Perplexing & ultimately mind-bending, Murakami helps his reader out by using prose that's as unpretentious as possible. He gives us clues as to how to get out of the labyrinth he's constructed in one piece by utilizing images & motifs, allegory and metaphor, constructing an entire world that seems to fit like a transparency over our own. There are different levels of the mind, and ...more
Sid
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This was my first ever Murakami read. The name in the start attracted my attention and later when I asked a few friends about giving me an opinion on this book, I was told to just have a go at it the first chance that I get. I read the summary of this book on good reads and I wasn't able to make it out if I should go with it or not. Meanwhile, I had a chance to visit NYC. And libraries and bookshops are always my must go places whenever or wherever I get a chance. Well, I bought this book on my ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Is Your Figure Less Than Greek?

Early in "Kafka on the Shore, the 15 year old narrator, Kafka Tamura, warns us that his story is not a fairy tale. The book's title is also the name of a painting and of a song mentioned in the novel, and it describes the one photo Kafka's father has kept in his drawer. But what Kafka neglects to tell us is that his story is a myth of epic, ancient Greek proportions.

Murakami has concocted a contemporary blend of Oedipus and Orpheus, East and West, Freud and Jung,
...more
Lyn
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami leaves the reader with more questions unanswered than are easily and superficially wound up in a mainstream fiction.

Using subtle fantasy, magic realism, repetition, interweaving symbols and metaphors, the author has created a post-modern heir to Sophocles; and Murakami ties it all together as good as Jeff Lebowskis rug. This is more finely tuned than Kafkas absurdist comedy, and more well rounded.

He references and alludes to Greek tragedy, Shakespeare,
...more
Jeff
Aug 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: The noble Samurai warrior, or that indie guy who works at the used CD shop
Really?
What just happened? Who? What? Im sorry, what?

This is how it starts:
Youre going to love this book. Someone says to someone else. I loved this book, and I know youre going to love this book.

Someone said this to my friend, and she read the book, and she thought, eh.

But there were more people out there. They love this book! This book is the book that will change everything! If they were to build a time machine and travel back in time with several copies of this book, and if they were to
...more
Dana Ilie
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Murakami has become a firm favourite of mine for his wonderful blend of the metaphysical and magical realism with ordinary life and people.Truly remarkable. Haruki Murakami is a rare author.
Kay
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kay by: a cat and a crow walk into a bar...
This is my first Murakami, and I already know that it won't be my last.

This is one of the strangest books I've read. It stretches the boundaries of belief, and when it breaks through into the realm of pure magic, we discover the journey has only begun.

The story is told from two different perspectives. In the first, Kafka Tamura is a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape a terrifying prophecy that he will kill his father and sleep with both his mother and sister. Eventually, he
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This - along with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart and The Rat tetralogy - was one of my favourite Murakami books. Absurd, funny, and still a bit nostalgic and morose, it is a unique and powerful read including raining fish. For those discovering Murakami, I would read it after The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and either Norwegian Wood or Sputnik Sweetheart.
Lovely writing!
Andrew Smith
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Youll need to suspend belief when you read this novel. Itll also help if you dont look too closely at the plot nuances surrounding some of the wackier characters youll meet along the way. But do this and Id hope, like me, that youll be swept along on an extraordinary journey. First and foremost its an enthralling story with compelling lead players (Nakata being my personal favourite) but it also reveals some interesting ideas and insights and asks the reader some challenging questions. Its ...more
Kara Babcock
So, yeah, I don't really understand this book.

It is not often that I admit a book has defeated me intellectually; upon the rare occasion that it happens, however, I will admit it. This review is, like any review, a meditation on the unique experience I had reading the book, but it is also ruminations about why I feel that Kafka on the Shore is a mountain whose summit I never reached.

I'm starting to suspect that I have a penchant for magic realism. On one hand, the term smacks of genre-snobbery,
...more
Edward
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One could complain that the prose is often clichéd and inelegant, or that the dialogue is awkward and unrealistic, or that the frequent, non sequitur references to sex are unnecessary and cringe-inducing (please, lets avoid the repeated use of the phrase, my rock-hard cock), yet somehow all of these things lend a certain innocent charm to Murakamis writing. Kafka on the Shore is a bizarre, constantly unpredictable novel about searching for identity and for connection, about losing and finding ...more
Megha
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews

Not a complete dis-appointment, but probably not worth the time I spent reading it either. Especially when it took me 200+ pages to get into it and some of the chapters were a chore to get through.
Most of the things which I love about Murakami's writing are missing in Kafka on the shore. I missed the endearing humor which I had so enjoyed in Hard-boiled.. and A Wild Sheep Chase. I missed the music of the words which brought to life the prose of Norwegian Wood. I missed the splendid descriptions
...more
ALet
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
★★ /5
At first it was interesting, but the more I read, the more boring it became. So I struggled a lot to finish this book. The plot itself wasnt bad, but it didn't hook me. A lot of the time I just felt frustrated. It took me ages to read and it wasn't kind of worth it. I even do not have a lot to say, it wasnt for me.
...more
Mutasim Billah
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, japan

Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. Thats part of what it means to be alive.



A runaway fifteen-year-old.
A mysterious phenomenon in the woods.
An old man who can talk to cats.
A search for a lost mother and sister.
An Oedipal curse.

Kafka on the Shore is comprised of two interrelated plots.

Kafka Tamura is a fifteen-year-old who runs away from his father. After a series of adventures, he finds shelter in a
...more
Daniel Clausen
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2017
A runaway boy who names himself Kafka; an incident from WW2 involving a group of children in the mountains suddenly losing consciousness; and a man who can talk to cats. The book takes these tangled threads and weaves a story of intrigue. 

Murakami uses dialogue, interesting characters, and bizarre story twists to keep the story moving. And boy does the story move. It's as well-paced as any novel I've read. The twists turn and the turns twist in such a way that makes you want to keep going from
...more
Jareed
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People looking for themselves, people who love cats, runaways, coming of age individuals
Crazy.

Legit crazy.

But compelling riveting crazy.

I guess it is only with Murakami that the reader will experience a philosophically charge Hegel quoting prostitute, a spectral discount-giving pimp, pragmatic talking cats, a retelling of the oedipal Greek tragedy through a schizophrenic reincarnated personality, an unfathomable leech-filled-rain commanding simpleton, all bizarrely intended to constitute an introspective metaphorically peppered coming of age story, keeping you at a sublime reverie
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What can you say about Haruki Murakamis Kafka on the Shore? Of course, this novel is a crazy ride! Thats something any fan of Murakamis work (myself included) has come to expect. Fifteen-year-old Kafka Tamura and an older man named Nakata drive the plot. Kafka is a runaway who is trying to escape an Oedipus prophecy. Strangely enough, he also seems to be running toward that curse as he seeks out a mother who abandoned him as well as a long lost sister. The other principal character, Nakata, was ...more
Karl
New artwork by Jacob McMurray.
Limited to 200 signed and numbered copies.
Two volumes, fully cloth bound.
Capped, two-part slipcase.

This is copy numbered 40 of 200 produced and is signed by:

Haruki Murakami
Jacob McMurray

The books are bound in printed cloth and printed in two colors throughout. There are also ten double-page full-color illustrations. The books are oversize, with ribbon markers and patterned endpapers. Printing was accomplished by master printers in Verona, Italy. All book cloth and
...more
Richard Derus
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Real Rating: 2.5* of five

Well. Now then. The legions of Harukistas are gonna hate me for this. I don't like this book too awful terrible much because I found the magical/psychic bits random (why now? why not? doesn't work for me) and underdeveloped (especially the talking cats...how, when, why never addressed to my satisfaction) and the life of Kafka himself peculiarly un-teenaged too often for me to suspend disbelief.

I don't know how all the folks who don't read Japanese come to judge the
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The Stranger
  • The Trial
  • Never Let Me Go
  • No Longer Human
  • Kitchen
  • The Master and Margarita
  • Animal Farm
  • 1984
  • Lolita
  • The Forty Rules of Love
  • Siddhartha
  • Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Blindness
  • The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
  • The Catcher in the Rye
See similar books…
75,956 followers
Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by
...more

Articles featuring this book

Clear some space on your bookshelves, readers. Another packed season of irresistible books is just around the corner! To help you find your ...
144 likes · 107 comments
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” 15322 likes
“If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.” 6248 likes
More quotes…