* 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.
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.