Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers

This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands.

The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remote town. The second strand begins with mysterious celestial phenomena in the Shikoku mountains, possibly involving a UFO and a group of kids losing consciousness. It all seems very random and unconnected but I’ll stop you right there…it’s all woven together with the most sublime genius by the master of storytelling, Murakami.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Japan by Orbojunglist

You can find here all of the markers of a great Murakami novel. He seems to have a penchant for the same kinds of settings, themes and characters which repeat themselves in his books. David Lynch inspired creepy forests, lots of underage teen sex, throw-backs to World War II and over-the-top violence, UFO conspiracies. All of his characters also seem to know inordinately more about jazz, whisky and chamber music than the average person. There’s a perilous venture into the verdant and threatening underworld of the subconscious. There’s cats, lots of them, and music, glorious music. So have your YouTube (or whatever you use) open while reading.  It’s never for one second portrayed in a way that’s tiresome or repetitive though. So strap yourself in for a wild ride.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
I bought this book in Tokyo last month and they wrapped it with great care as thought it was thing of great beauty- and it was.

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

7 thoughts on “Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

    1. You should! I hope you will see it in a new way. It’s so rich with symbolism and so you may plug new depths in it. As you said ages ago…I can’t wait until I forget it so I can read it again. My thoughts exactly!


      1. That’s so true too! There’s just a handful of books like that. The Wind-up bird…is another. Hey have you Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel?? That’s another. What a book!


      2. No I haven’t read that one, but I saw it was made into a TV series too but I haven’t seen it I am now going to have a look around for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I’m currently reading Killing Commendatore, it’s very awesome hehe


  1. Good review. I loved this magical world too. Of the main characters, I prefer Nakata. Kafka Tamura reminds me of Tintin-what he encounters is exciting, but he’s kind of uninteresting without the adventures. Tamura is like a blank slate that needs filling up.


    1. I loved Nakata too, he really seemed like a more real flesh and blood person, even the way he talked with the cats and all of that, I could almost hear his voice in my head as I read it. I agree about Tamura, a bit more of a one-dimensional character who it was difficult to care about. I also really liked Miss Saeki as a character, she reminded me of the elegant Japanese version of Tilda Swinton. 🙂 I could read this one over and over


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