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Kafka on the Shore

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  404,257 ratings  ·  31,199 reviews
Alternate cover edition here.

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 i
Paperback, 505 pages
Published October 6th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2002)
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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 a…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)
Croatoan616 Right! That's what I felt, almost right away, MY world and I just want to read. Not even anticipating what's going to happen next, just let me read.…moreRight! That's what I felt, almost right away, MY world and I just want to read. Not even anticipating what's going to happen next, just let me read.(less)

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Jr Bacdayan
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kafka on the Shore is a metaphor. It follows no rules, it doesn’t adhere to reason, and applicability is not an issue. It fills you up, it tears you down. A fugue of emotions are present, you can’t 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 underst ...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.


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
Jul 15, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 progr ...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 make ...more
“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


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
Ahmad Sharabiani
海辺のカフカ = Umibe no kafuka = Kafka On The Shore, Haruki Murakami

Kafka On The Shore is a 2002 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Its 2005 English translation was among "The 10 Best Books of 2005" from The New York Times and received the World Fantasy Award for 2006.

Comprising two distinct but interrelated plots, the narrative runs back and forth between both plots, taking up each plot-line in alternating chapters.

The odd-numbered chapters tell the 15-year-old Kafka's story as he runs away fr

There are two reasons as to why I chose Kafka on the shore as my first Murakami’s 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 Harukis’s 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 wouldn’t have
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bo
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 bre
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 don’t 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 th
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,
Kelly W
May 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 after re ...more
Jim Fonseca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buckle up to experience extremely confusing, mind numbing, vivid, compelling, controversial, wild ride!

Don’t let simple, plain writing style fool you! Get ready for the bombardment of whirlwind journey between different genres including fantasy, magical realism, fiction and get drown in the sea of allegories, metaphors, vibes of
Shakespearean plays, Greek tragedies, amazing mash up of Eastern spiritualism meets Western philosophy!

The book needs to be read more than twice! If you deeply get con
"Beyond the edge of the world there's a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop."

Alternating chapters tell the stories of two, apparently unconnected, characters: Kafka (not THE Kafka) and Nakata. Its most fundamental theme is the paradoxical nature of edges and boundaries (literal, spiritual, ethical): that they can both separate and connect.
There is a kind of warp at work in the world.”
"That's how stories happen - with a turni
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Lebowski’s rug. This is more finely tuned than Kafka’s absurdist comedy, and more well rounded.

He references and alludes to Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, T
Aug 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What just happened? Who? What? I’m sorry, what?

This is how it starts:
“You’re going to love this book.” Someone says to someone else. “I loved this book, and I know you’re 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 we
Reading_ Tamishly
"As I gaze at the vacant, birdless scene outside, I suddenly want to read a book - any book. As long as it's shaped like a book and has printing, it's fine by me. I just want to hold a book in my hands, turn the pages, scan the words with my eyes."
This is exactly when you should pick up this book. But realistically speaking, pick up a Murakami book when you feel like everything else is so mundane and monotonous.
Because you will read the same in his books but you will find the stories a bit t
Aug 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, paranormal
I kept hoping it gets better. It took me so long to read and made me watch tv shows instead of reading.. call me shallow or whatever you want but this book is trying to be philosophical and deep too hard. Too much details, too many things were mentioned and didn’t affect the plot (uhm wait what plot) in any way. We still didn’t get any explanation on some bizarre events/characters. A few events were just too disturbing and not in a good way. I honestly wanted to give it 2 stars but then realized ...more
Andrew Smith
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You’ll need to suspend belief when you read this novel. It’ll also help if you don’t look too closely at the plot nuances surrounding some of the wackier characters you’ll meet along the way. But do this and I’d hope, like me, that you’ll be swept along on an extraordinary journey. First and foremost it’s 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. It ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This - along with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart and The Rat tetralogy (A Wild Sheep Chase, etc) - was one of my favorite 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 fourth after the three I already mentioned.
Lovely writing!

Fino's Murakami Reviews - Novels
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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,
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
Dana Ilie
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
J.L.   Sutton
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me.”

Kafka on the Shore | Kafka on the shore, Haruki murakami, Murakami

Wow! Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore took me on an incredible journey! Again! Kafka Tamura, the 15-year old runaway, looking for his place in the world, is a great character. So many great characters and interesting, bizarre situations. I also really liked how Hoshino, the truck driver who helps Nakata on his quest, evolve. Bumping this one up!

Original review:
What can you s
Sean Barrs
Murakami is a master of conjuring up chance encounters; he is a master of making the mundane seem magical, mystical and alluring.

And that is his greatest strength as a writer; he uses it to lure you in and to tell you an extraordinary story that makes life seem just that little bit more interesting. He creates possibility out of the most basic human connections and conversations. He shows us the randomness of life that give it colour, flavour and excitement. There’s possibility everywhere.

I am
Jenna is buying a house and mostly too busy for GR ❤ ❀  ❤
How does he do this?? Haruki Murakami. He writes these crazy freaking weird-ass stories that are so bizarre and out there and yet they are so, so, sooooo good.

It's insane. Where does he get his ideas from and how does he make the outlandish seem not just possible, but normal?

That's the weirdest thing -- as weird as they are, the stories sound legit. 100% realistic.  As my friend Hanneke said, "You just let the story wash over you and not wonder whether the 'possibilities'... are magical or not. 
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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:

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

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