Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami

Murakami novels have been in the blog before, but for those who've not read one, it's helpful to understand what underlies many of the stories.  Mr. Murakami approaches the question that most, if not all, religions try to answer about the existence of other dimensions for a soul (Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla,  etc.) to reside and possible interactions between that place and our daily lives.

In Kafka On The Shore, a fifteen year old boy runs away from home, changes his surname to Kafka, and ends up in a distant town.  At the same time, an old man, who was greatly changed by a bizarre occurrence when he was a child, lives a simple life in the same town from which Kafka fled.  He is compelled by a spirit to murder, then make his way to the same town where Kafka fled.  They both encounter helpful people, other spirits, and Kafka gains a glimpse into another plane of existence.  As the story moves along, there are philosophical discussions about life, books, and music.  Oh, and since Kafka was cursed with a Oedipal prophecy, there's sex.

This book has been evaluated as being a good Murakami tale, but not his best.  Perhaps I've reached critical mass from reading his novels, but I think I got closer to understanding what the author is working through from his many visits to these multi-dimensional tales than from any of his other stories.  It's the kind of book where I'm kicking myself for not taking notes as I was reading.

If you like Murakami or similar authors who intertwine multiple lives, time frames and spiritual dimensions, then this one is worth your time.

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