Friday, January 1, 2016

Book Review : Kafka On The Shore (Haruki Murakami)

Murukami is a master story teller and in an exclusive league of his own. He manages to weave a tantalizing tale, draws a reader into its web and then forces him/her to the limits of one's imagination . Divorce any thoughts of a comfort zone and be ready to adapt to a style of writing / cultural shift which one seldom encounters. Infact the last time I experienced anything like this was when I picked up 'Dead souls' by Nikolay Gogol. And I am no conservative reader by any stretch of imagination.

The story begins with a teenager leaving the comforts of his home to escape a damning prophecy made by his own father. He sets off on a journey that takes him to a library where he befriends a young man. There he meets a mysterious women and discovers a strange connection with her. But even more strange is the mentally impaired old man who has an ability to communicate with cats. A series of unrelated events take place that seem irrelevant to the plot at first. But after a while, one realizes that they do propel the narration in a direction that can best be described as winding for a considerable duration before that sudden burst of clarity dawns upon the reader.

Such is the story telling prowess of the author that one is unable to read this book at one's own pace. Murukami sets the pace and often forces one to stop and mull over the happenings instead of ploughing through the pages. Kafka or the lead character is forced to encounter a world that is as vast and mysterious as the sea. The titles of this book evokes the analogy of a man standing on the shore while trying to comprehend the vastness of what lies in front. Everything seems so surreal that one still feels the chills ( or aftereffects if you may please ) for days after finishing this masterpiece.

Twisted is how I would put it. While I did try to make a few theories of my own and draw some conclusions to understand this book, there are endless ways in which it can be interpreted. And I somehow get the feeling that I will come up with new theories/analogies when I read it again ( which will be pretty soon ). Even if the climax is something of a let down, it is a case of the journey being more exciting than the destination.

This is one plot that unravels in layers, often transcending the dimension of time and space. Be prepared to cast aside your prejudices and inhibitions before taking up this wonderful read that will forever change the way you look at fiction. One has not experienced the apex of fiction writing unless one has explored Murukami's works.

This is a 'MUST' read unless you want something exclusively light hearted !!


  1. Good review Sweta. I am yet to read any Murakami.

    1. Thank you..even I havnt read all his of now I can only recommend Kafka on the shore / Norwegian wood / Sputnik Sweetheart. Maybe you can start with Sputnik Sweetheart as Kafka is the most twisted of the three