Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > Kafka on the Shore

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message 1: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:10PM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments Hated. Loathed. Despised. This. Book. I can’t for the life of me understand why so many critics loved it. It was like someone took the pages out of their diary and from their therapist’s notebook, cut out paragraphs here and there from books on philosophy, pulled a few reviews of classical music out of a newspaper, ripped a couple of advertisements out of magazines, and jotted some notes on what they were seeing during and acid trip, tossed them together in a salad bowl, then sent the result to the binder. My full review ( describes more completely why I hated this book.


One thing that I didn’t add to the review due to the lack of space, is how irritated I was by Kafka’s constant yammering on about “I’ve got to be the toughest 15-year-old on the planet.” I don’t see how he ever has to be tough – he never has to sleep on the streets or starve, instead doing quite well for himself by mooching off some girl he meets on the bus (with handjob thrown in to help him sleep) and then conveniently gets room and board (and some sex) in a library in exchange for making coffee and sharpening pencils. Then, when he needs to lie low, gets put up by the librarian in a nifty little cabin in the mountains, food supplied. Gee Kafka, you’ve got it so tough – how can you possibly stand it?

message 2: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments I've heard that "Wind-Up bird Chronicle" is supposed to be better than "Kafka", but I've heard conflicting things about "Norwegian Wood". While there is a cat torture scene I can't say that he lingered on violence in "Kafka" beyond that - my hatredof it stemmed from the fact that it was a thought salad that caused me extreme irritation while it bored me to death.

message 3: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Ann M | 39 comments I read the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, had to skim the last third -- it was nearly putting me to sleep, so slow-moving. I couldn't even get thirty pages into Kafka on the Shore. I have a few Murakamis lying around that friends have lent me, but I should just give them back. His style is too self-indulgently slow for me. I did like "Hard Boiled Universe and the End of the World," tho, so who knows. Maybe there is another one in his oeuvre for me.

message 4: by black lamb (new)

black lamb (nympholepsy) | 11 comments i haven't read kafka yet; my first exposure to murakami has been 1q84 and honestly i am really struggling to get through this book. i like some of the characters (aomame, fuka-eri) but for the most part i find it so goddamn boring. and it's not that i hate or don't "get" magical realism, i love magical realism and surrealism, there's just a dryness here that's putting me off which is frankly bizarre since leo tolstoy is one of my favourite writers.

any murakami fans here? did i pick the wrong book to get started with?

message 5: by RJ (new)

RJ (bountifulflummox) | 7 comments I'm a fan but haven't read lq. mixed up wonderland was my fave as well and I didn't hate Kafka or Norwegian wood but they both dragged a bit. It's just very particular stuff, he has his own odd pet obsessions... a friend who studies Japanese literature told me his work is considered pretty light and fluffy in Japan, it's popular stuff, not super serious. so that's odd, especially when one considers the critical acclaim the translations get, and that reputation as serious literary work... obviously that's at least partly about cultural difference as we can only imagine him attempting to produce serious stuff based on our (mis?)-readings of it.

message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris Ward (chriswardfictionwriter) | 23 comments I think Murakami is a brilliant writer but I get kind of annoyed when he goes into the dream-like phase and stops explaining stuff. I would have loved Kafka if he had actually explained stuff like what happened to the schoolkids on the hillside. He leaves it up to the reader to decide, but you get the impression that HE doesn't know, and if the writer doesn't know it comes across as a plot hole. Just finished Sputnik Sweetheart and it was the same - brilliantly written and really good until all the weird stuff started happening. I absolutely loved Norwegian Wood because it was a straight up story without all the strange stuff. Still, he is what he is, and he's clearly pretty popular ...

I actually live in Japan and he's pretty much considered a literary god here. Foreigners always end up reading his books because its almost considered "cool" to like him. I'm pretty half and half.

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