Book Reviews

Kafka on the Shore * Haruki Murakami


It took me close to two weeks to finish this colossal book. Not because it was a drag to read but because every sentence was filled with meaning and every turn in the book drove me deeper into a labyrinth that transcended death. Having only read before “Norwegian Wood”, I found this book having some parallels – the naked lady coming into the room to seduce the hero, the older lady getting in on with the younger man and also chance encounters on a train that lead to people staying together.


If someone asked me to summarize this story in a few short words, I would say it’s the story of a man with half a shadow killing Johnny Walker because he was making flutes out of the souls of cats who goes running into the wild to find a stone that, when turned, will set the world right. The other story within is of a 15-year old runnaway who finds a new home and friends in a Library and who calls himself Kafka. Both stories are interwoven and interconnected and everything happens for a reason even if the reason is not immediately obvious. And talk about Oedipus’ complex!! This 15year-old has sex with his mother and sister. SHOCKING! But you kinda saw it coming when connecting the dots.

Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting


OK, It is a literary masterpiece. It is a nightmare to describe in a few words but I think I can explain it in a few more.  It’s a hero’s journey from start to finish and with speckles of supernatural and loads of sex and nudity. And murder. It’s like Game of Thrones with an inwards journey. It’s like a fairytale for adults where you don’t know what’s going to happen next and whether the evil will be finally defeated. It has wisdom and it has teachings and I feel better from the experience of having read it.

It’s not easy to make choices of your own

But make this one – read this gorgeous book and let me know what you think.

Pretty resources: The timeline of the novel

Ninagawa Company, Kafka on the Shore, Naohito Fujiki, Nino Furuhata and Rie Miyazawa photocredit Takahiro Watanabe  handout ...
Ninagawa Company, Kafka on the Shore, Naohito Fujiki, Nino Furuhata and Rie Miyazawa photocredit Takahiro Watanabe
handout …


8 replies on “Kafka on the Shore * Haruki Murakami”

[…] This is my first experience with Kafka. I’ve explored Czech cultural heritage more through film and drama than I have through “the classics” of literature. Whether or not my having omitted him from my reading makes me a bad reader, I am glad that this novel is my premier attempt at embracing the Kafkaesque, for it left much to be desired and spurned me to find more inspiring material. My book club democratically selected this work for our reading list; however, even before anyone could have finished the novel, I received a text from a good friend lamenting the book’s tedium. Indeed, The Castle is very boring. Kafka on the Shore * Haruki Murakami was way better […]

[…] The little book is a trivial story of a Japanese student returning to his hometown for a few weeks in the summer of 1970. Bars, drugs, lots of beer, occasional sex, pseudo-intellectual dialogues with cranky locals. So the plot dives and at the end of the semester it dies. I wouldn’t use this book to judge the author. I’ve read some beautiful works of art from Murakami and one of my favourites is from him (Kafka on the Shore) […]

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