As soon as I finished finals in May, I set out to create a big list of summer reading. I have always loved to read, but sadly, my favorite hobby was put on the back burner during second semester due to the large quantities of schoolwork filling up my plate. Since May, I have read quite a few novels, but none of them made any lasting impression on me until I read Kafka on the Shore. This gripping novel, a blend of reality and fantasy, takes you on a wild ride not soon to be forgotten or put down! Written in 2002 by Haruki Murakami and translated to English in 2005, Kafka on the Shore quickly became a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 and for good reason.
I have to confess, I was a little apprehensive about opening the book. The back summary speaks of talking cats and fish raining from the sky. I am usually a realistic fiction fan, hardly ever choosing fantasy, so this tidbit of info was a little off-putting for me. Luckily, Kafka on the Shore delivers just the right amount of reality and fantasy to appeal to both camps of readers. The book itself contains two plots that interweave with each other in each chapter. These two distinct but connected stories move the book along creating much interest and suspense. I started the book on a Thursday night and was finished by Monday afternoon. Saturday night, I stayed up until 4 am reading! As ironic as it is, my favorite parts ended up being the more fantastical scenes. Taking a break from reality ended up being quite fun; nothing like a good exercise for the imagination, right?
The language of this well crafted novel is beautiful. Certain sentences were so lovely I read them more than once. The two main stories draw you in and the intense characterization keeps you hooked. The cover calls Kafka on the Shore a “metaphysical mind-bender” and that, it truly is. At times the coincidence and mystery get a little overwhelming, but stick with it because it ends well. Author Murakami said of his novel, “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction, the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes and its interpretation will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write.” The result is a deeply personal reading experience with much room for discussion. I highly recommend Kafka on the Shore to anyone looking for a fast read with a little more meaning than the average beach book.
Get your copy over at Amazon.com and start reading now!