Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

4.13 (206,045 ratings by Goodreads)
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Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world's great storytellers at the peak of his powers. Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, acclaimed author Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 467 pages
  • 137 x 204 x 27mm | 354g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1400079276
  • 9781400079278
  • 69,316

Flap copy

With "Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come.
This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it 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 reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle-yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
Extravagant in its accomplishment, "Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world's truly great storytellers at the height of his powers.

"From the Hardcover edition.
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Review quote

"As powerful as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. . . . Reading Murakami . . . is a striking experience in consciousness expansion." -The Chicago Tribune "An insistently metaphysical mind-bender."
-The New Yorker "If he has not achieved that status already, Haruki Murakami is on course to becoming the most widely read Japanese writer outside Japan, past or present."
-New York Times
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About Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and the most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe.
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Rating details

206,045 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 40% (83,439)
4 39% (79,559)
3 16% (32,331)
2 4% (7,972)
1 1% (2,744)

Our customer reviews

Reading Haruki Murakami is like watching your reflection crawl out of the mirror while it recites T.S. Elliot in your mother's voice. It is unsettling and leads you to ask certain questions. And he isn't going to answer them for you. You will feel dizzy, and you'll either enjoy that feeling, or you won't. It's difficult to pinpoint what sort of person will enjoy this book. It depends heavily on how separate you keep your inner and outer worlds. I really enjoyed this book. The ending felt a little rushed, but at the same time the momentum had been building throughout the book so it made sense to do it that way. One surprise is a character who only appears in the last quarter of the book actually ends up being one of the warmest, well-developed people in the story. The second-most interesting character is Mister Oshida, who I would happily have spent more time reading about.show more
by Wendy
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