21st Century Literature discussion

Kafka on the Shore
This topic is about Kafka on the Shore
58 views
2014 Book Discussions > Kafka on the Shore - Discussion Up to and Including Chapter 38 (Spoilers Allowed) (November 2014)

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Edgarf | 44 comments This is for discussion up to approximately the last 100 pages. Please no spoilers past that point.

I am particularly interested with the theme of substance or lack of substance in KOTS.


message 2: by Whitney (last edited Nov 09, 2014 09:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Whitney | 2104 comments Mod
Haven't abandoned this discussion, I just think it will be easier for me to join in when we get to discussion of the complete book. Meanwhile,though - Edgarf, can you expand a little on what you mean by substance?


message 3: by Edgarf (last edited Nov 10, 2014 02:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edgarf | 44 comments Whitney wrote: "Haven't abandoned this discussion, I just think it will be easier for me to join in when we get to discussion of the complete book. Meanwhile,though - Edgarf, can you expand a little on what you me..."

Shame on you Whitney. You are making me think today. Thinking is like lifting a heavy stone in my mind.

Substance? At one point in KOTS Hoshino finds himself with a Hegel quoting prostitute. At one point she says
"Hegel believed that a person is not merely conscious of self and object as separate entities, but through the projection of the self via the mediation of the object is the volitionary able to gain a deeper understanding of the self. All of which constitutes self-consciousness"
Later Hoshino jokes he "Got off three times Volitionally speaking".
Not much Hoshino's joke but the Hegel quoting, actually paraphrasing, prostitute who is never named by name to me gives a clue to what I see see as a recurring theme. That theme is the subject of substance.
After the prostitute incident Colonel Sanders states that he lacks substance and needs someone with substance to help out. Hoshino realizes that that needed substance is himself. Nakata at one point wonders what he is. He decides that he is not dumb but empty. He goes on later to explain what it is like to be empty. He says Johnnie Walker was able to get inside him because he, Nakata, did not have anything inside.
Hoshima replies with a question, "Which is why you want to go back to being a normal Nakata. One with substance?"
Hoshima later wonders that if Nakata is empty then "what does that make me?"
I realize my question about substance still might not make sense. I once read in a book that stated nobody ever reads the same novel and that is one reason we have book discussion groups. My favorite novel since I was in grammar school has been Moby Dick I read it one about every five years and it is never the same book on any reading. It may have been hubris in me to think That I could just say substance and everyone would know what I mean. But, I have never been accused of being a good writer. I have completed reading KOTS and now I do wish I had saved my question for the final discussion since there are some things I can not mention at this point. But I hope I have made my question clearer and ask again about the theme of substance or lack of substance.

PS. Really, Whitney, thanks for asking me to expand on my question it did force me to think.


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Edgarf, it might be time to open a thread for discussion of the whole book. Your question about "substance" is easier to discuss once people have finished the book.


Edgarf | 44 comments Casceil wrote: "Edgarf, it might be time to open a thread for discussion of the whole book. Your question about "substance" is easier to discuss once people have finished the book."
I think you may be right, Casceil. I will do that now and open it for general discussion of the novel as a whole.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I am curious, had anyone here guessed that Johnnie walker was Kafka ' s father?
It took me completely by surprise. I actually thought Johnnie walker was a product of nakata ' s imagination or rather the other half of him, the one capable of cruelty ( his Mr hyde)


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Giorgia wrote: "I am curious, had anyone here guessed that Johnnie walker was Kafka ' s father?
It took me completely by surprise. I actually thought Johnnie walker was a product of nakata ' s imagination or rath..."


I don't think it was that literal (though with Murakami, who can tell). I think Johnnie Walker was a "concept," like Colonel Sanders, that got Nakata to the right place to kill Kafka's father, and provided the motivation to kill him. But I don't think the sculptor was actually torturing cats.


Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Casceil wrote: "...But I don't think the sculptor was actually torturing cats...."

I haven't gotten to the evidence for that statement, but now that you prod my memory, I kind of remember it does appear. So, I'll wait, rather than ask you for the textual support, Casceil.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I had my doubts over the actual killing of cats. the newspaper would have mentioned it, had the police found beheaded cats. I thought that maybe nakata had confused the sculptures for cat heads, but it's just an hypothesis.


Edgarf | 44 comments Giorgia wrote: "I had my doubts over the actual killing of cats. the newspaper would have mentioned it, had the police found beheaded cats. I thought that maybe nakata had confused the sculptures for cat heads, b..."

You have point there. That is something that had not crossed my mind.


Whitney | 2104 comments Mod
Casceil wrote: "I don't think it was that literal (though with Murakami, who can tell). I think Johnnie Walker was a "concept," like Colonel Sanders, that got Nakata to the right place to kill Kafka's father, and provided the motivation to kill him. But I don't think the sculptor was actually torturing cats.
..."


I think he was more than a concept, I think he was a spirit connected to Kafka's father the same way Crow is connected to Kafka. And I think that the cat killing did take place, just not in the "everyday" world. I'm going to continue this in the entire book thread, as I think I'm going to touch on things that happen late in the book.


message 12: by Zulfiya (last edited Nov 22, 2014 11:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 397 comments Whitney wrote: " And I think that the cat killing did take place, just not in the "everyday" world. I'm going to continue this in the entire book thread, as I think I'm going to touch on things that happen late in the book.

I am with Whitney here. I think everything that happens in Murakami's novels does take place, but not necessarily in the world we live in. The worlds he creates, and this novel is definitely not an exception, are very similar to the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
They seem to be real and realistic, but then with one small detail, it is turned into a realm of mystery and enigma, where mythology and personal myths are more realistic than the objects we touch.


message 13: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Zulfiya wrote: "...where mythology personal myths are realistic that the surface of objects we feel. ..."

?


message 14: by Zulfiya (last edited Nov 22, 2014 10:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 397 comments Oops!

I was going to say, '... where mythology and personal myths are more realistic than the objects we touch'

I edited my post, so hopefully it makes more sense now.


message 15: by Lily (last edited Nov 22, 2014 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Zulfiya wrote: "Oops! "

Thx! I was just doing a lousy job of deciphering your meaning! I needed that "small detail." :-)


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 397 comments It is my fault. I was on the verge of leaving the house and talking to my husband. Obviously, multitasking is not my strength :-)


Maureen | 124 comments Zulfiya wrote: "Whitney wrote: " And I think that the cat killing did take place, just not in the "everyday" world. I'm going to continue this in the entire book thread, as I think I'm going to touch on things tha..."

This novel did remind me of Marquez's masterpiece!


back to top